SAN LORENZO -- Changes are coming to San Lorenzo, compliments of the last of county redevelopment funds and a descendant of the area's original developer.
Close to $33 million in county redevelopment projects are moving forward in the heart of San Lorenzo at the same time the David D. Bohannon Organization, which owns 19 acres in the unincorporated community, is making changes to several properties.
Named for the man who built San Lorenzo from the ground up, the San Mateo-based David D. Bohannon Organization began a several-hundred-thousand-dollar remodel of the San Lorenzo Village Shopping Center in November. Upgrades to the storefronts, signage and roofs should be complete by the end of the month, said Scott Bohannon, David's grandson and senior vice president of the company. One tenant, Lucky's supermarket, has yet to agree to the remodel partially paid by tenants, he said.
In the coming months, the plaza will welcome new tenants to spaces that have been vacant for years. Frazee Paint comes in February and a post office is expected to relocate to the plaza by June from its adjacent location, Bohannon said. Other tenants, Black Angus, H&R Block, Loard's Ice Cream and Hesperian Cleaners, will stay open during the remodel.
Across the street at the San Lorenzo Village Square, demolition is scheduled by June of several structures built by Bohannon's grandfather in the 1940s, including the former home of Romley's Market at the corner
"The property will be left vacant until such time we identify new opportunities," Bohannon said, adding that Kavanagh Liquors will remain untouched.
Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who represents the San Lorenzo community, said four projects will be completed with redevelopment funds preserved in a budget vote by the county supervisors last summer. Projects, some with collaboration from Bohannon, include a library expansion, improvements to Hesperian Boulevard, an affordable senior housing development and community plaza.
The priciest of the redevelopment projects, at $14.5 million, is the affordable senior housing development to be located in the space currently occupied by post office behind the gas station on Hesperian Boulevard. Bohannon's company is in the process of selling the land to nonprofit Mercy Housing California.
Mercy representatives said the development will likely include 70 to 75 studio and one-bedroom units across 70,000 square feet in a multistory building for low-income seniors.
Also on deck is a long-awaited San Lorenzo Library expansion, a $9.4 million project that will double its size. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2014 and the new library will open sometime in 2015.
About $4.7 million will be spent to improve more than a mile-long stretch of Hesperian Boulevard from Interstate 880 to Hayward. Changes could include putting electrical wiring underground, Chan said. Construction is slated to begin in August and end in fall 2015.
Near the library and the yet-to-be-built Mercy Housing development will be a $4 million community plaza.
"We are seeing a change," Chan said. "I think things are going to get a lot better over the next few years. One is because the community is maturing and coming more together. Two is because we have saved this pot of money. Three is because the economy is getting better."
Bohannon said his earlier experience with the county's defunct redevelopment agency was not a positive one. "But we are hopeful that (San Lorenzo) is now at the precipice of some good things."
Ashly McGlone covers San Leandro, San Lorenzo and the Washington Township Health Care District. Contact her at 510-293-2463. Follow her at Twitter.com/AshlyReports.