HERCULES -- Town Centrale, the half-finished, four-story, residential-over-retail project that ran out of money and is set to be taken over by a developer, will be up for approval by the Hercules City Council on Tuesday after passing muster with the Planning Commission earlier this month with some minor adjustments.
Previously known as Sycamore North, Town Centrale is on Sycamore Avenue, west of San Pablo Avenue, and once was intended to contain mostly low-income units to satisfy the affordable housing requirement of the adjacent Bayside subdivision under then-prevailing state redevelopment rules.
Construction began in 2009, but after the city spent about $35 million, the council declared Sycamore North a "failed project" and earlier this year agreed to hand it to UC-BNB Partners LLC, led by Mark Conroe, for a nominal amount of money and a promise to deliver a finished complex. In the latest version of the plan, Conroe wants to build 147 high-end rental apartments with 12,777 square feet of retail and two two-story live-work units.
On Oct. 8, the Planning Commission recommended as a condition of approval that four of the ground-floor residential units be available for live-work. Another condition is keeping Sycamore Avenue, South Front Street and Tsushima Street open to two-way traffic during construction except for temporary closures.
Critics say the project has too little parking and will adversely affect parking and other conditions at Bayside; that it is too big; does not provide enough retail space; and is out of kilter with the New Urbanist principles that underlie the Central Hercules Plan.
Tuesday's public hearing will discuss an addendum to prior environmental impact reports; General Plan and zoning amendments; a final Planned Development Plan; a vesting tentative map; and a draft ordinance approving a development agreement with UC-BNB.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner
What: Hercules City Council
Where: City Council chamber, 111 Civic Drive
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday