From Daily Republic // Aug. 16, 2005
By Christine Cubé
SUISUN CITY - As the fight for waterfront property in Suisun City continues, two developers are vying for the chance to build distinctly different construction projects.
Suisun City officials are quick to point out they're not playing favorites, but only one project is truly proceeding down the development pipeline.
So far, Suisun economic development officials met several times with representatives of existing boat shop Adams Marine, which is overseen by owner Bill Adams. Adams and his business partners look to expand the boat shop as well as build a new restaurant, kayak rental store and office space.
The next meeting takes place Wednesday, when city officials and Adams representatives will go over the finances and finalize business projections for the development.
Shane Ballman, an investor with Suisun City-based Ballman Jensen Pitcher, said he hopes the city will do the "right thing" and open up the project land for bid. Ballman's development consortium proposes to build eight live-work executive homes with designated work space on the lower floor. It's a concept that's already in place in the Promenade subdivision of Suisun City.
"All we want is an equal opportunity," Ballman said. "That they'll issue a (request for proposals) and look at our project."
Suisun City Mayor Jim Spering maintains Adams Marine has not been given the exclusive right to build their development plans.
"We had several people interested in the parcel," Spering said, mentioning the city tends to side with existing businesses that generate tax dollars. "That's the first priority. We will entertain any proposal, but we won't do it at the expense of marginalizing an existing business that's made a commitment to Suisun City."
What remains in question is the "policy" with which Suisun City is operating by giving Adams Marine a green light on its expansion.
"Directions and policies are set in many different ways by public agencies," said Al da Silva, interim economic development director for Suisun City. "We have given enough written documentation to (Ballman Jensen Pitcher) to demonstrate this was not a policy that was arrived at last month."
Jim Randall, interim city manager, said staffers in September will recommend to the Suisun City Redevelopment Agency board, which is comprised of the same officials of the City Council, "articulating the (development) process and making it more of a policy than a practice."
Should the Adams Marine expansion materialize, da Silva said the city will have one developable parcel left for construction, but it likely will not be able to hold eight units of executive homes.
Still, Ballman Jensen Pitcher may have a shot, Randall said.
"They may get a shot at the whole thing or they may get a shot at a parcel, depending on what happens with Adams Marine," Randall said.
A final recommendation by city staff will go to the Suisun City Redevelopment Agency board in September.
Reach Christine Cubé at 427-6934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.