Client: City of Brentwood (CA)

The City of Brentwood has gone in a relatively few decades from a primarily agricultural community to a bedroom community with many employed residents commuting to job centers in the Tri-Valley region of Alameda County and to Silicon Valley. In order to enhance the economic opportunities of residents, including the possibility of shorter commutes, improve the fiscal health of the City, enhance the available retail and service opportunities for local residents, and improve the jobs/housing balance, the City requested GG+A prepare a comprehensive Strategic Economic Development Action Plan.

The research for the plan followed along two tracks. One program of research analyzed the present and potential demand and supply for retail and services in the city and the subregional market area that could be served by Brentwood merchants and service providers. The second track conducted research to identify opportunities, constraints, and ways of enhancing Brentwood’s basic or export economy. The results of the research were used to set up policies and programs to proactively market and facilitate retail and job-generating developments. The action items suggested by the plan, which was not laid out as a static document but a flexible process that would be continually monitored, also influenced the updating of the City’s general plan and a request to the county for changes in annexation policies.

Research steps included compiling an analysis of self-administered household questionnaires, conducting lengthier telephone surveys with Brentwood employees, analyzing 164 Brentwood employer questionnaires, and conducting telephone and face to face interviews with officials of businesses located in Brentwood and the communities to which Brentwood workers were commuting. The future demand for retail services in the trade area was forecast and the present and likely future balance of supply and demand for goods and services estimated and described. A series of strategic goals and implementation tactics to respond proactively to consumer shopping patterns and demands were recommended.

The comparative advantages and constraints of Brentwood were identified. GG+A built a model of the land and space needed to support alternative levels of employment-generating activities. The model was used to test the adequacy of the existing inventory of land and buildings, given the long range employment targets of the City. It was also drawn upon to evaluate the effect of alternative general plan options on the potential for jobs/housing balances. The primary disadvantages and advantages of the community as a job site were drawn upon to recommend targets, actions and policies that would enhance the economic base while preserving the City’s desirable qualities.

The City’s economic development task force and staff are continuing to work successfully with GG+A to implement the strategic action plan.