Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Suisun picks developers for Main Street project

By Ian Thompson
Fairfield Daily Republic

SUISUN CITY - Suisun City developer Miller-Sorg and Basin Street Properties of Petaluma will be the team Suisun City leaders will negotiate with to make the master developer for the city's Main Street West project.

"It is a very good partnership for Suisun," Mayor Jim Spering said of the development team which he hopes will restart efforts to economically revive downtown Suisun City.

The joint proposal by Miller-Sorg and Basin Street beat out three other proposals from firms that included The Wiseman Company, San Francisco developer Roger Snell and Signature properties.

If negotiations with Miller-Sorg/Basin Street fall through for some reason, Spering stated a proposal made by residential developer Signature will be the next option.

Suisun City leaders met with the candidates for the last month to see who best fit their vision for redeveloping several large and small parcels on both sides of Main Street.

The city put forward the Main Street project late last year to jump-start economic development efforts that had faltered due to a lack of private business interest.

The details of the Miller-Sorg/Basin Street proposal will be hammered out over the next few months.

The city committee that made the choice was looking for a project that was both fiscally feasible for the Old Town area and that could be economically sustainable. Spering stated the city was impressed by the idea of creating an anchor project that would attract smaller business developments to feed off the anchor project's success.

Basin Street has already collected kudos for a similar project on the south side of Petaluma's downtown that saw $10 million invested to build a theater complex and a host of retail shops and restaurants.

This in turn spurred development of more housing, retail businesses and offices in the blocks around it.

Miller-Sorg chief Mike Rice was particularly lauded by Spering and Councilwoman Jane Day as "a hometown boy" who both understands Suisun City's needs and has contributed a lot to the community.

Rice stated he went after the partnership with Basin Street because of the firm's successful track record with commercial development "that brings in something unique."

In other business, the city council finally agreed to sell its property on Twin Sisters that overlooks Suisun Valley to Jelly Belly owner Herman Rowland for $2,392,000.

Suisun City tried to sell the property for several months since it decided to use proceeds from the sale to help replenish the city's deficit-laden general fund.

Resident George Guynn asked by the amount was so small since the city had initially stated it expected to get about $5 million.

Spering replied that the sales price was very close to the assessed value and that the market was not there to get a higher price for the land.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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