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Walnut Creek Magazine

Rapid Urbanization


Walnut Creek is changing right before our eyes

Once rural Walnut Creek changed into a vibrant suburban center decades ago. Now another transformation is taking place as the city turns into an ever-evolving suburban-urban blend taking on characteristics of a big city—mass transit, restaurants, retail, apartments—while trying to maintain a sense of place. Here are some of the latest projects continuing to put Walnut Creek on the map as a metropolitan hub.



Cypress and California 

On the property that was once served McDonald’s cheeseburgers, construction is underway on a six-story, 150,000-square-foot “Apartment/Hotel” that includes 10,000-square-feet of ground-floor retail, 77 apartments, 20 ‘hotel’ rooms (short-term stay furnished studio rentals) and underground parking. The developer, Align Real Estate, plans to connect the mixed-use building to Locust Street with a paseo or walkway.



Between Main and Locust

In late January we learned the same developer digging at 1380 N. California, Align Real Estate, presented preliminary plans to the Design Review Commission to build a four-story “downtown trophy project” on the former WC Automotive site adjacent to 1500 Mt. Diablo. Envisioned as indoor/outdoor California living, the proposed project includes 30 condominiums, 9000-square-feet of ground floor commercial space, and a rooftop restaurant, public lounge and speakeasy bar. Subterranean parking proposed as valet. The developer also wants to activate Commercial Lane, a central downtown delivery hub, into a pedestrian-friendly pathway like Maiden Lane in San Francisco.



1860 Trinity Avenue

Construction on Resources for Community Development’s (RCD) 45-unit low income apartment complex and community center is taking shape. The mixed-use development is a collaboration between St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, affordable housing leaders, Contra Costa County, and the City of Walnut Creek. When complete, the project will provide a crucial affordable housing resource for retail, restaurant, and service industry workers. A key partner is the Trinity Center, a non-residential program serving the homeless and the working poor which will operate a center on the ground floor. The project is on target to open in October.


1716 LOFTS

Main & Civic

Described as a “pet-friendly boutique apartment building” with 42 units and 2900-square-feet of ground floor commercial space, when finished the project will include onsite parking for 100 cars, a rooftop barbecue deck, and private courtyards. 


Ygnacio & California & Pringle

Frank Arthur, a founding member of WC Transit Lifestyle Associates, began work on the Walnut Creek Transit Village in 1999 and continues as a principal with Brad Blake of Blake Griggs Properties. Built in phases, once complete the Village will include close to 600 residential units. Phase One on Pringle Avenue breaks ground this summer on construction of 358 apartments and 15,000-square-feet of retail space. Amenities include a community lounge and co-working space, pool and spa, rooftop deck, dining room, children’s playroom, bike repair lounge, fitness center and underground parking.

Phase Two on the corner of California and Ygnacio will contain 238 residential units and 12,000-square- feet of retail space. It’s anticipated to break ground in 2020. Besides apartments, the Transit Village will feature shops and restaurants with public plazas and 775 stalls for resident parking.



Ygnacio Valley Road @ 680 off ramp

Another Blake-Griggs apartment complex opens this summer directly across the street from the future WC Transit Village. The 178-unit building features a pool, rooftop deck with outdoor kitchen, community garden, yoga space, fireplaces and ample private parking. Access is on Lacassie Road.



Main Street (across the street from Target)

Currently home to Fuddruckers, construction is expected to begin this summer on a six-story, 135-unit apartment building, with 7,000-square-feet of street level commercial space. Eleven of the 135 apartments are reserved for very low-income households allowing the developer to take advantage of state density bonus laws and exceed density and height limits on the site. 


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