Ohlone College may pick a developer to build out frontage property - Article, Office of College Advancement

Thursday, April 6, 2017—Reprinted from East Bay Times.

By Joseph Geha.

Ohlone College leaders are poised to pick a developer to build out the Fremont school’s 15-acre frontage property, a decades-long goal that is expected to create a needed revenue stream.

The college received two proposals for the three parcels along Mission Boulevard between Witherly Lane and Pine Street, according to Susan Yeager, Ohlone’s vice president of administrative services.

At its meeting Wednesday, the college’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider selecting a developer, Yeager said, adding that a group of college representatives who have reviewed the proposals may recommend one.

If no recommendation is made, she said the board will hear an update on the review process.

Frontage property aerial view with sections A, B1, and B2 marked with overlay.This aerial rendering shows the three parcels along Mission Boulevard at the front of Ohlone College’s Fremont campus that the college hopes to lease to a developer.. —Photo courtesy Ohlone College.

Last July, Ohlone obtained the California Community Colleges Board of Governors’ permission to negotiate directly with a developer it chooses to lease the property to. Officials say this will ensure any development there meets the school’s preferences.

According to documents the college distributed, the board prefers that the site be “converted into a vibrant, active mixed-use ‘village center’ ” that might include retail and services, as well as “urban housing.”

The Fremont City Council would have to rezone the land for any development to proceed. Under the city’s zoning laws, “mixed-use” could mean a combination of residential and commercial or all commercial and retail; the only restriction is that it cannot be completely residential.

Some attempts to develop the property have been made over the past 25 years or so, although none panned out.

Most recently, in 2014, San Francisco-based developer Carmel Partners was selected to build a mixed-use project with 314 housing units, but by early 2015 the company pulled out of the deal.

The college’s president, Gari Browning, has said leasing the property would bring a steady flow of cash that can be spent to expand educational efforts, including to hire more faculty in lean state budget years.

Some Ohlone neighbors have objected to development of the property, saying roads and schools in the Mission San Jose area are already too clogged.

Wednesday’s college board meeting begins 4 p.m., in room 7101 of Ohlone’s Fremont campus, at 43600 Mission Blvd.

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