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Sara Roche is one of the lucky ones.
A Dublin resident, the commute to her office in Hacienda is a breezy 10 minutes each way. But making it to work on time was not always that easy. At her former job in Sunnyvale, the 30-mile drive took up to an hour and a half each way.
"When I got home, I would be angry," Roche says. "Who wants to be angry when they are finally home?"
When she got pregnant with her first child, Roche knew she could not continue working in Silicon Valley. After taking a year off to stay home with her daughter, Roche found a new position at Harsch Investment Properties' Hacienda office, where she was recently promoted to assistant property manager.
The quick commute allows her to be more productive at work, spend more time with her two children, and get to them quickly in an emergency.
"Now I am happy, I am not stressed," she says. "It really makes all the difference."
Hacienda is a lively mix of restaurants, retail, housing, and office space in Pleasanton, California. It is ideally situated near BART and major freeways, with direct access to the rest of the Bay Area and local communities. The mix of amenities available at Hacienda creates a rich environment uniquely suited for working and living.
"Many business parks are more industrial, isolating employees from restaurants, retail, and services, but that is not the case with Hacienda," says Julie Remy, senior vice president and East Bay regional manager for Harsch, who works with Sara Roche at the Hacienda office.
Harsch, a private real estate investor that specializes in long-term holdings, has owned up to three projects in Hacienda: Stoneridge Business Center, 151,000 square feet of flex/office space, Hacienda West, 209,000 square feet of Class A office, and Hacienda Lakes, 198,000 square feet of Class B office.
"Everything is here, you don't need to go far," Roche explains. "My kids are right nearby. If they're sick I can take them to the doctors. If they need something I can bring it to school."
The nightmare commute that disconnects people from their lives is over for Hacienda employees. The development offers a prime location in one of the most well educated communities in the country, with a wide variety of housing nearby. It also offers a reverse commute from San Francisco and Silicon Valley, making drive times during peak hours half that of the traditional commute direction.
Many East Bay residents do not have the luxury of working in the county where they live.
Nearly 40 percent of employed residents in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties leave the area each day for work, fighting gridlock for jobs in San Francisco, Santa Clara, and other counties, according to a recent report by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, a public-private partnership dedicated to improving the East Bay economy.
Much of that commute is spent sitting in rush hour traffic.
The Bay Area is the 3 rd worst metropolitan area in the country for traffic, behind Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, according to the annual Urban Mobility Scorecard by INRIX. It also has the highest concentration of mega commuters, people who drive more than 50 miles and 90 minutes to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Hacienda is 'as good as it gets' for markets outside the urban core, and the local market should stay strong for the foreseeable future," Remy says.
"It's got everything going for it," she says.
A Livermore resident, Remy grew up in Pleasanton and watched Hacienda being built.
Working close to home allows employees to do what they really want, which is to achieve work/life balance. Thanks to the wide variety of retail in and around Hacienda, and its proximity to housing, highways, and public transit, that work life balance is possible at Hacienda.
"It is also a boon for recruitment and productivity. When a position opens up locally, people are excited for the opportunity to work close to home, and the quick commute means happy employees," Remy explains.
"Oh, you definitely get much better work product out of them," she says. "Folks are willing to come in early and maybe stay a little late because they know it only takes them 10 minutes to get home."
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Hacienda Lakes, 197,167 square feet of Class B office
Hacienda West, 208,883 square feet of Class A office
Stoneridge Business Center, 151,000 square feet of flex/office space
Tenants range from high-end corporate clients to small service companies
Urban Mobility Scorecard http://inrix.com/scorecard/
Mega Commuters in the U.S. http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/paper_mega_%20commuters_us.pdf