In an email to Castro Valley Matters, Greensfelder confirmed his plan to develop the long-abandoned, county-owned building into a “Lost Worlds Adventures,” which currently has one location in Livermore. According to its Facebook page, Lost Worlds includes “next gen laser tag, black light mini golf, super play structure, arcade, parties.” This video from the Lost Worlds Livermore location shows an indoor playground with slides, a ball pit, and climbing structures.The Alameda County Economic and Civic Development Department has been coordinating the redevelopment of the site since the former redevelopment agency was compelled to sell it because of “redevelopment dissolution.” The State of California dissolved redevelopment districts and forced the sale of their property portfolios to help balance state and local government budgets that saw a collapse in revenue during the Great Recession.
The former Alameda County Redevelopment Agency purchased the building for $2.78 million in 2011. In June 2014, Alameda County entered into a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) with Greensfelder to agree to sell him the former department store building for $860,000.
A June 2013 appraisal valued the site at $950,000; however, the sale price of the building was further reduced to $860,000 partially because of costs associated with “contaminated and treated water being discharged into the local storm drain” that is authorized under a permit from the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board. The May 1, 2012 real estate update to the Alameda County Successor Agency Oversight Board (the successor to the Alameda County Redevelopment Agency) estimated the cost of demolishing the building and filling in the basement at $365,000. It concluded that “the cost to continue basement dewatering and water quality monitoring, versus building demolition and removal of the reporting requirement, is nearly equivalent over time.”
The County took direct possession of the building in February 2016 and is its current owner. Per the DDA and according to a November 17, 2016 letter from Eileen Dalton from the Economic and Civic Development Department to the MAC, the sale to Greensfelder may go forward once he has fulfilled the following contingencies:
- Provide “preliminary conceptual drawings”
- Demonstrate pre-leasing commitments of “no less than 10,000 square feet of retail space”
- Obtain land use approvals.
This “due diligence,” must take place by December 2, 2016, per an extension to the DDA.
The sale price was also reduced to reflect restrictions that Alameda County included for the property. The DDA requires a “high quality” renovation of the building and gives Alameda County authority for an 11-year period over governs what type of commercial development may and may not be take place.
Greensfelder has confirmed that Lost Worlds is the only tenant currently contemplated for the redevelopment. Additionally, he confirmed that an indoor playground it is not one of the uses restricted by the DDA. He also believes that the project is in line with the Castro Valley Specifc Plan.
According to the minutes from an April 2015 project update to the MAC, Dalton said that in an email from Greensfelder, he had communicated that there had “great interest in the property from a variety of tenants,” including “one large retailer,” and “2 possible restaurants.”
Prior to the incorporation of Castro Valley Matters into a community non-profit, it advocated that the Daughtrey’ building be torn down and replaced by a town square with parking. At the March 17, 2014 meeting where the town square proposal was discussed, many public speakers spoke in favor of demolishing the building and replacing it with a public space.
Supervisor Nate Miley noted at the June 24, 2104 Board of Supervisors meeting, where the DDA with Greensfelder was approved, that through years of public process there was consensus to develop the location commercially. Miley said that a renovated Daughtrey’s building would serve as an “engine of growth” for Downtown Castro Valley along with the shared parking project behind the Daughtrey’s and Knudsen’s Ice Creamery buildings.
The MAC meets Monday, November 28 at 6:00 pm at the Castro Valley Library on 3600 Norbridge Avenue. The MAC will be considering two additional items: the subdivision of a parcel on Center Street into lots for seven single family homes and the construction of 27 townhomes on Jamison Way. Here is a link to the meeting agenda.