Mehran Jr. kept his cards close | Tim speaks | Tim Hunt

Alex Mehran Jr. demonstrated how to play his cards close to his chest on Tuesday night.
Speaking to San Francisco Business Times editor Mary Huss during a panel with Chris Neighbor, president of Summerhill Homes, he avoided any discussion of Chevron’s 92-acre headquarters at Bishop Ranch Business Park. He is CEO/President of Sunset Development Co., which developed and owns most of Bishop Ranch. The panel was part of the Tri-Valley Trending program, an annual look at the Tri-Valley by the publication and Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group.
Less than 24 hours later, Sunset announced that it had bought out the Chevron parcel for an undisclosed price. The original sale from 40 years ago included the provision that Sunset maintained control over any use other than the Chevron Park offices. Chevron’s workforce is largely directed to Houston, although approximately 2,000 corporate employees will remain in San Ramon. Chevron has also leased space for its corporate headquarters at 2600 Camino Ramon, where Sunset is headquartered. Notably, the two biggest package sales that Sunset has now repurchased. PacBell built 2,600 Camino Ramon with approximately 1 million square feet and Sunset, with an investment partner, bought it out in 2013.
Buying Sunset probably makes life easier in the town of San Ramon. When Chevron announced its intentions earlier this year, the widespread belief was that it would not remain an office park. City leaders have already developed the specific plan for the 4,500-unit CityWalk at Bishop Ranch, which will continue this process. Mehran discussed the evolution of Bishop Ranch Tuesday night from buildings designed for corporate back offices with lower rents than in San Francisco. Over time, the economy dictated that these operations would be better out of state, they evolved into more knowledge workers such as the rest of the AT&T workforce, GE Digital and Sybase.
Now, with the future of office spaces uncertain as employees have grown accustomed to working from home, what those spaces will look like is an open question. Mehran said the C-suite managers he met were looking for employees in the office. They encountered a lot of pushback and a hybrid of a few days at the office seems to be what’s going on. Although some companies, Veeva, Airbnb and Twitter, for example, have all committed to working remotely.
Mehran pointed out that the first phase of the company’s CityWalk project will begin early next year.
The Summerhill neighbor, who has had an office in San Ramon for 20 years while doing most of his work on the Peninsula and South Bay, has put a construction fence around his San Ramon project which sits on the exterior of the CityWalk. It’s 404 units divided into three products ranging from 1,700 to 2,800 square feet. Six months ago they hung a sign on the fence to draw up a list of interests – it now has 1,200 people, more than any other project Summerhill has done. He pointed out how many houses had been built in east Dublin and the Dougherty Valley over the past 20 years – easily over 20,000, but there’s little more on the horizon as most land is built.
This leaves the redevelopment of outdated office buildings as well as outdated shopping malls for residential sites. Bishop Ranch 6 has been demolished to make way for the first CityWalk project, while San Ramon is processing the application for an apartment complex in the Nob Hill Mall at the corner of Bollinger Canyon Road and Alcosta Boulevard.
The other aspect that Neighbor and Mehran agreed on is to expect the most density now and in the future. East Dublin and the Dougherty Valley had significant multi-family developments for sale and for rent. This foreshadows what is to come given the large number of units the state has mandated for Tri-Valley communities.
In particular, the last part of the program was devoted to Innovation Tri-Valley’s Vision 2040. Organizers handed out green and red note cards for quick polls. One asked if housing was the main issue – the vast majority agreed, but there were red cards. I’m interested, as is CEO Lynn Naylor, in what these people thought was a higher priority.

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