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Starchitect Targets San Ramon

The New York Times Building. The LACMA expansion. And now, City Center? The world-famous Renzo Piano Building Workshop just added City Center San Ramon at Bishop Ranch to its stellar international portfolio, a major coup for the city and RPBW's only other Bay Area project (it finished the Cal Academy of Sciences in 2008). Sunset Development Co, the developer, owner and manager of Bishop Ranch, locked down the architect to design the plaza district portion of the 26-acre City Center. Above, Sunset CEO Alexander Mehran Jr presents the most recent plans with RPBW's Antonio Belvedere and City Center's head of retail Jeff Dodd at a San Ramon City Council meeting last week.

The first phase will have 350k SF of retail, including a movie theatre, with 70 tenants upon its late 2016 opening. The project is conceived around a generous piazza, or "social hub," surrounded by six pavilions of varying sizes, says Renzo Piano. Expect an open-air theatre, many trees, a water mirror, and greenscape equipped with a playground. During the winter season it'll get an ice skating rink. Sunset's Bishop Ranch roots go deep, dating back to 1978. The 585-acre mixed-use business community has 10M SF of buildings. S.F.'s BCV Architects is also collaborating on City Center.