A Little History of a Big Valley – Pleasanton California

History Pleasanton CA

Few towns or cities have been blessed with such a great name like the one in the Amador-Livermore Valley has. Pleasanton was sighted for the first time in 1772 by a Spanish foot patrol soldier and half a century later the land was settle on as Alisal. This beautiful place later changed its name to Pleasanton – an adaption of the name of a Civil War general, Alfred Pleasonton – and Spanish settlers were the first people to make their homesteads here. The town soon became popular among those stopping over on route to the gold fields of the Californian valley.

The railroad soon arrived in Pleasanton and this increased the population from a small 500 to a populace into the thousands. By 1870, the town was attracting many ranchers and breeders of thoroughbred horses. They loved the climate, the abundance of rain, fertile soil and agricultural-friendly land. Such an area also meant it attracted dairy farmers, hop-growers, wine growers and the economy of the town simply boomed because of it. Brewers across America heard of the fine hops that grew here and wanted them for its beers. So sought after were they that even brewers in the big markets of Europe began to import hops from Pleasanton.

It quickly became a place with a bit of international fame and by the start of the 20th century Pleasanton was about to make a bustling and thriving community complete with its own bank, world-renown vineyard at Ruby Hill, internationally famous hop industry and several top graded hotels.


It developed a main central area where business and communities became part of the town’s character. It was well on the way to becoming a thoroughly modern community and started to leave its agricultural roots behind.

However, raw industries like sand and gravel mining started to take place in the 1930s just on the town’s outskirts. It was the gravel industry that gave Pleasanton another 20th century economic boost. The ballast much demanded by America’s ever-growing road building industry. And so the profits for the town boomed and the community here began to grow strong.

Around the 1960s the population began to grow rapidly, and by the 1980s most of the town supported opulent homes, schools and international businesses. The Hacienda Business Park was completed in 1982 and this thriving, bustling network of industries created jobs for thousands. Today, the city is a legacy to what was once an agricultural backwater to today’s bustling community and city status.

It’s location is only a short drive from either San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Palo Alto. If you get a chance, a visit to Pleasanton is a must do.

Contact Armario Venema Homes for more information on Pleasanton California.

Val Vista Park in Pleasanton CA – A kid friendly park in the Tri Valley

Val Vista Park Pleasanton CAThere are so many exceptional parks and recreation areas in the Tri Valley but the Val Vista Park in the town of Pleasanton California is an oasis for parents wanting to spend the day with the kids. A place to play sports, enjoy the snack bar and nature trails to take in the fresh air and unwind. It is the ultimate activity day where Pleasanton and East Bay children can play for hours to their hearts content.

There are two play areas within the park. There is also a large picnic area where families can gather and have lunch on any afternoon during the week. There are soccer fields here, a giant skateboard park, roller hockey rink and a climbing wall for the more adventurous.

Val Vista Park also has a nature trail walk and don’t forget to bring your swimwear to experience either one of its two water sports areas. There are three play structures to keep kids occupied all day and those coming from all around East Bay will be pleasantly surprised to learn there is plenty of parking around the park.

Val Vista Park East Bay

The approach to the park is down Stoneridge Drive where you will notice the roller hockey rink, several soccer fields and a skateboard park. These are just a taster of things to do within the park. Once you have parked, you will notice the two huge play structures, a big area for families enjoying a picnic and a water feature to take your selfies at.

The play structures are for kids of all ages. There are tiny tot swings, four slides for larger children and a small water feature boat. There is also one huge play structure for kids and juniors up to the age of 12, a main playing structure that has so many different ways of climbing up that children will be spending most of their day on this, and six different slides to accommodate all the kids. There is also a safe high bridge and plenty of wheels to spin on or just hang onto.

The play areas are a haven for the kids and there are areas specifically designed for smaller children (aged two to five). This wonderful park has a snack bar area and bathroom facilities and a lovely little stream running through the nature trail walking area.

If you are ever at a loss of what to do with your family one afternoon in the Tri Valley, you should bring them here to the Val Vista Park. It is what childhood memories are made of and makes for a complete day out.


Our lifeline to SF – the future of BART

Ambitious Expansion Plans Mulled for BART’s Future


Dylan Pilaar | Curbed SF |  October 2, 2013 | link

bartmetrovidsvision.pngBART is considering over 100 different investment options that could nearly double the system’s capacity over the next few decades. As summarized by the folks over at SPUR, the “Bart Metro” concept would increase capacity in the current system by adding stations at 30th Street and Market & Van Ness, as well as a turnback at Glen Park. Far more ambitious portions of the vision include a line down Geary out to Ocean Beach and a spur down 19th Avenue that would connect to Daly City Bart. More familiar proposals in plan include a second Transbay tube that would relieve capacity constraints on the current tunnel. The proposals on the map seem almost too good to be true, and will certainly require unprecedented funding commitments from all levels of government. Nevertheless, with or without the build out of the “Bart Metro” concept, Bay Area residents will soon reap the benefits of shiny new trains.

Read more…

Congrats, SF!

San Francisco Named Top City in 2013 Real Estate Forecast

Elizabeth Razzi | Urban Land | October 17, 2012 | link

  • San Francisco displaces Washington, D.C., as top-ranked city.
  • Apartment sector remains investors’ favored property type.
  • Secondary markets to gain favor as investors search for yield beyond high-priced core markets.
  • Office sector has started to come back; retail “not as bad as feared;” hotels are “surprisingly good.”
  • U.S. is still seen as a safe harbor for global investment.

RazziET2013_351“This is our recovery,” Jonathan D. Miller, principal author of the report, said when the Emerging Trends in Real Estate forecast was presented at ULI’s Fall Meeting in Denver. “It’s a recovery, but anchored in considerable uncertainty,” Miller said. He cited Europe’s economic troubles, a slowdown in China, and the “fiscal cliff” looming in the United States. But the forecast says modest gains in leasing, rents, and pricing will extend across U.S. markets from coast-to-coast and improve prospects for all property sectors.

According to survey participants, despite a slower-than-normal real estate recovery track, U.S. property sectors and markets will register noticeably better prospects as compared with last year. Recent job creation should be enough to increase absorption and push down vacancy rates in the office, industrial, and retail sectors, helped by the limited new supply in commercial markets. Robust demand for apartments should hold up, survey respondents indicate, even as new construction ramps up – and even the housing sector makes progress in most regions. Additionally, improving fundamentals should help with rents and net operating incomes, building confidence about sustained growth and strengthening recent appreciation.

Apartments have gotten “rather pricey,” Miller noted, but he said there doesn’t appear to be overbuilding in top, 24-hour international gateways. If there is overbuilding, it’s likely to be in secondary and tertiary markets where there are not not high barriers to entry. “It will not be in top, site-constrained markets,” Miller said.

“With the outlook for commercial real estate continuing to improve in 2013, investors are expected to allocate substantial sums of capital to the real estate asset class, according to our survey respondents” said Mitch Roschelle, partner, U.S. real estate advisory practice leader, PwC. “As yield on bonds and other financial instruments tighten in a still volatile market, commercial real estate’s income producing and total return attributes offer investors potentially attractive risk-adjusted returns.”

Stephen Blank, ULI’s senior resident fellow for real estate finance, noted that investors must keep in mind recent progress made in the industry as they prepare for a slow but steady recovery. “What these findings suggest is that, in general, the industry is moving forward bit by bit. Nothing indicates a quick turnaround for commercial real estate, but it is improving. Those who are patient and willing to rethink their expectations and adapt to market realities are the most likely to come out ahead next year.”

Capital Chases Yields

Despite macro-economic concerns, the 2013 Emerging Trends forecasts that investors will return to greater risk-taking in their portfolios in an attempt to gain more yield. Even as riskier secondary markets show up on investors’ radars, many believe the move cannot be made without concentration on leasing to high-quality tenants within growth industries that are sustainable. However, as property prices meet or exceed pre-recession levels in the cities of San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago, the focus of property investors has shifted more to the lessee’s value, various market demographics, a city’s economic production, diversification, job growth, and where people want to live.

According to the report, investment capital’s interest in commercial real estate is expected to increase as other asset classes continue to offer minimal returns or too much volatility. In fact, Emerging Trends found that only six of the 51 markets covered exhibited a decline in investment prospects.

Transaction volume is expected to tick up with more action in 2013, according to Emerging Trends. Pricing is predicted to strengthen, but increases will be muted until credit markets return to more normal states. Commercial mortgage–backed securities (CMBS) may return to the financing spotlight once transaction activity increases. Interviewees expect that CMBS issuance can return to a $75 billion to $90 billion level over the next several years.

Respondents to Emerging Trends cite a number of best investor bets for 2013, which include:

  • Concentrate acquisitions on budding infill locations: Top urban markets outperform the average, bolstered by move-back-in trends and gen-Y appeal. Top core districts in these cities have become too pricey, so look in districts where “hip” residential neighborhoods meet commercial areas.
  • Construct new-wave office and build to core in primary coastal markets: Major tenants willingly pay high rents in return for more efficient design layouts and lower operating costs in LEED-rated, green projects.
  • Develop select industrial facilities in major hub distribution centers near ports, rail corridors and international airports: In these markets, the industrial sector is driven by tremendous demand by large-scale users looking for specialized space and build-to-suit activity.
  • Use caution investing in secondary and tertiary cities: Focus on income-generating properties and partner with local operators who understand tenant trends and can leverage their relationships. Markets grounded in energy and high-tech industries show the most near-term promise, while places anchored by major education and medical institutions should perform better over time.
  • Begin to back off apartment development in low-barrier-to-entry markets: These places tend to overbuild quickly, softening rent growth potentially and occupancy levels probably by 2014 or 2015.
  • Consider single-family housing funds: Housing markets finally get off bottom and major private capital investors make a move into the sector. Concentrate investments with local players who know their markets and can manage day-to-day property and leasing issues.
  • Repurpose the oversupply of obsolescent properties: Whether abandoned malls, vacant strip centers, past-their-prime office parks, or low-ceilinged warehouses, an overabundance of properties requires a rethink, a teardown, and, in many cases, a new use.

Investors Follow Job-Producing Markets and Echo Boomers

During recessionary times, some investors have sought more economically diverse markets to weather job losses and declines. However, now, in a time of slight economic uptick, Emerging Trends results indicate that investor sentiment is focused on job-producing industries and those markets that contain them, regardless of how diverse the businesses are that are producing those jobs. Read more…

Worst off still doing better than most in our area…

Bay Area real estate market is hot even in hardest-hit areas

Pete Carey | San Jose Mercury | June 23, 2013 | link

With Bay Area home prices at levels not seen in nearly five years, the communities hit hardest by the housing crash are starting to boom again.

From Oakley and Antioch to East Oakland, East Palo Alto and East San Jose, all-cash offers and free rent for a month for sellers are sweetening bids as a swarm of move-in buyers and investors compete for a relatively small number of homes for sale. Read more…

Shakespeare comes to town!

Entertainment: Livermore Shakespeare Festival kicks off June 21 with ‘The Liar’ and ‘The Taming of the Shrew’

Pat Craig| Bay Area News Group | June 6, 2013 | link

Livermore Shakespeare Festival begins its summer season June 21 with productions of “The Liar” by David Ives, and Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” set in immediate postwar Livermore.

“The Liar,” a wild 17th century farce by Pierre Corneille, and adapted by Ives just a few years ago, retains its rhyming verse but changes and sharpens the comic sensibilities for a modern ear.

Kate, the wildly recalcitrant love interest, will be right at home when “Shrew” opens at Concannon Vineyard, because that’s where the young woman and daughter of the owner has been working through the war years.

The piece has a Rosie the Riveter vibe to it, right down to the role of Kate, who has spent the war years working on her father’s vineyard.

And, although pleased the war is over and the soldiers are returning home, Kate is not the least bit happy that she’ll have to give up her job and turn in over to a man. That pretty much underlines what “Shrew” is all about — a wild comedy about the battle of the sexes that director Gary Armagnac decided would work beautifully set in post-World War II America.

“One of the first things that hit me on rereading the play was that all the men and women want to get married,” Armagnac says. “It reminded me of when the men came home from World War II.”

Kate’s vows of obedience to her husband, Petruchio, make a bit more sense in the postwar setting, but the show is much less a social document than a zany romantic comedy, mirroring the movies of the ’40s, along with focusing on the battles between Kate and Petruchio raging as all those around them are falling in love and getting married.

The play’s masks, which will be featured on the opening weekend, are considerably zanier than the Shakespeare piece, thanks, mainly to Ives, who was commissioned to write the adaptation to replace long speeches with silly fun and make the story, basically about the education of a romantic young man coming to the city, play well for a modern audience.

The Corneille device of including some quotations from Shakespeare has been retained, however, said Lisa Tromovich, founder and artistic director of Livermore Shakes.

“The Shakespeare speeches are usually paraphrased, but since this is for a Shakespeare Festival crowd, I put them in,” she said. “In fact, I think this is the reason ‘The Liar’ has been part of the season for many outdoor Shakespeare festivals.”

Tromovich has also moved the time period up to later in the 17th century to take advantage of the more interesting costumes from the Restoration period.

Beyond the comedy, the show uses the notion of masks to discuss the various ways people act in public and private, such as the masks they wear when they conduct business, to function in public or to get a date or maintain a relationship. The idea of masks is so prevalent; sometimes a person doesn’t know what he is like beneath all the masks. And Corneille concludes it is necessary to know this and function without masks when you’ve found the partner you want to spend your life with.

Both shows play in the Concannon Vineyard, 4590 Tesla Road, Livermore. The shows run about 21/2 hours, including intermission. Tickets cost $25 to $46 and can be reserved at 800-838-3006 or www.LivermoreShakes.org.

Preview and Family Night Performance of “The Liar” is on June 20, the opening night performance on June 21, with subsequent “Liar” shows June 22, 30 July 5, 6, 14 and 20. Preview of “The Taming of the Shrew” is on June 27, June 29, July 12, 13, 19 and 21, with a Family Night performance July 7.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 8 p.m. July 28.

FIREHOUSE FIRST FRIDAYS: The first Friday of the month mean special free events throughout the summer at Pleasanton’s Firehouse Theatre.

This Friday will include an improv show by Pleasanton’s teen group Creatures of Impulse. Also on the program is an installation on The Contemporary Landscape in the Harrington Gallery, a demonstration by landscape and still life painter Sally Haig

July 5, local singer-songwriter Ryan Cassata will perform. Also featured are watercolorist Marge Atkins who will show and share her methods, plus programs to be announced later, as will the entire August program, except for the Aug. 2 fiber and mixed media program by Denise Oyama Miller.

Child care and studio projects will be available for children at all the first Fridays.

Local charity never tasted so good…

Livermore Valley Wine auction raises $280,000

The Livermore Valley Wine Auction raised $280,000 for charity at its 19th annual event May 11, its organizers said Thursday.

Livermore Valley Winegrowers Foundation and the Wente Family Foundation for Arts Education are set to present checks June 6 to the beneficiaries, including ValleyCare Foundation, Open Heart Kitchen, Happy Talkers, Bankhead Theater and Livermore Valley Education Foundation.

Other major or “Master Sommelier” sponsors of the fund-raising event included FedEx, Diablo Magazine, Safeway Foundation and the Rose Hotel, said Peter Leary, president of the Livermore winegrowers group.

The wine auction, held at Wente Vineyards Estate Winery in Livermore, was attended by 300 guests who bid on more than 80 items.