The Problem

Built in 1975 on the site of a former fruit ranch, Shadelands was Walnut Creek’s first business park. It was originally designed as a traditional office and research & development center. The business park offers a unique sense of history in the forward-driving Bay Area, with the nearby Shadelands Ranch Museum. With a strong tenant base, including such staples as Del Monte Foods and tech titans like the Joint Genome Institute, the business park has a lot to offer potential tenants.

The Bay Area, however, has no shortage of business parks, and Walnut Creek is no exception. Competition for tenants is fierce, and property owners need every advantage they can muster.

The Solution

In 2014, property owners in the Shadelands business park decided it was time to set themselves apart from the other fish in the sea. They set about finding a way to pool shared resources and make the park an even better, well-know office destination. With the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce at the helm, and property owners navigating, the Shadelands Property and Business Improvement District was conceived.

After a few months of discussions, a Management District Plan was created for the new PBID. Charging 6 cents per building square foot and 2 cents per parcel square foot, the PBID raises $385,000 per year. Per the MDP, those funds are used for a BART shuttle, asset protection, advocacy, and wayfinding improvements.

In the summer of 2014, the plan and proposed PBID were approved by the property owners, with 74% of the returned ballots in favor of the district. The Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce created a new committee to guide the PBID programs, and work got underway.

The Results

In April 2015, just as PBID funds started flowing, the committee released a strategic plan. The strategic plan serves as the navigational chart for implementing the MDP, with familiar strategic priorities including advocacy, asset improvement, asset protection, BART shuttle, and wayfinding.

In just two years, the PBID has made great progress. A redesigned website, www.shadelands.org, showcases the park’s history and offerings. A new logo and branding efforts have been deployed, creating a stronger sense of place and name recognition for the park. New partnerships have been developed with public agencies, particularly the City and Contra Costa Transit Authority. After discussions with the City, a new police substation was opened in the area, and the police department regularly participates in PBID meetings. The transit authority, meanwhile, is contracted to provide a free shuttle service between the nearest BART station and the PBID, bringing in tenants and customers and alleviating traffic and parking congestion. With new wifi service on busses servicing the district, ridership grew from 74,000 to 80,000 from 2015 to 2016.

The Shadelands PBID has been a resounding success in its first two years. With more to come, the PBID is sure to have a lasting impact.