LIVERMORE -- After fierce objections from neighbors, the Sunset Development Co. is rethinking housing plans for Sunset Office Plaza, scrapping any designs that incorporate townhouses or apartments.
In a heated meeting with more than 75 locals Thursday, Chris Truebridge, a senior vice president with the company, presented three options for residential development of the Sunset Office Plaza and the Livermore Financial Center in South Livermore. Plans included combinations of single-family detached homes and multifamily buildings.
"The message came through loud and clear," Truebridge said Friday. "I was hopeful to have a plan that everybody would like, but I was surprised by the hostility toward any type of multifamily ... I literally need to go back to the drawing board."
Sunset Development is seeking a zoning change from the city for the two parks, which have been used by medical professionals, insurance companies and other businesses for more than four decades.
The 13-acre Sunset Office Plaza contains 75,000 square feet of space in 10 buildings. The Livermore Financial Center has four office buildings on two acres. The two properties are surrounded by residential neighborhoods, with a Lucky shopping center between them.
Truebridge said a proposal to develop 32 two-story townhomes at the Livermore Financial Center site will move forward, and added that the company has no intention of keeping office suites at Sunset Plaza. The company will look to replace the plaza with single-family homes, he said, likely a mix of one-and two-story houses with a buffer from the adjacent neighborhood. He will return in several weeks for another meeting with residents.
"Any plan that's going to inflame the neighborhood is just a bad decision," Truebridge said. "(The office park) is going to change ... I'd like to keep working with the neighbors and get something closer to what they'd support."
During the meeting at Sunset Elementary School, residents of Paris Way and Cairo Street next to the Sunset park objected to any type of multistory residences out of privacy concerns. Neighbors and tenants also angrily opposed the potentially increased traffic and noise, and the loss of small businesses.
Roslyn Bell, an employee at Diversified Medical Center, said her clinic's longtime patients are upset about the proposal and worry where they'll get care in the future. Her clinic -- and others in the plaza -- will lose clients if they're forced to move, she added.
"It will kill all of the businesses that are in here," Bell said. "Where are they going to go? To the freeway? A lot of people will just pack up and leave town or won't be able to open back up again."
Bell said the clinic is considering starting a petition drive to stop the development. Other neighbors have vowed to take the issue to the City Council.
Truebridge has said no businesses would be forced out of either office park in 2013, and would get 90-day notices before they need to relocate.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.