From Daily Republic // April 5, 2006
By Ian Thompson
SUISUN CITY - Buoyed with promises that construction could start as early as this summer, the Suisun City Council sold 8.4 acres of Old Town land Tuesday to a local developer to turn into businesses and residences.
Main Street West is paying the Redevelopment Agency $3.7 million for the 13 agency-owned parcels that cover 8.4 acres and are scattered around Old Town.
"This will have a lot of positive benefits to the city," interim Redevelopment Director Al daSilva told the council.
The plan gives Main Street West up to two years to put in retail and commercial development along Main Street while building homes and possibly a hotel on vacant land near Civic Center Boulevard.
The agency had spent $14.2 million during the last decade to buy, clean up and improve the sites that range from small narrow lots on Main Street to the large fields southeast of One Harbor Center.
Main Street West was picked from more than a dozen developers and has spent the last year in exclusive negotiations with the Redevelopment Agency over the agreement.
Suisun City hopes that Main Street West will bring in the commercial and retail businesses it badly needs to boost its sales tax revenues that, in turn, will bolster the city's coffers to pay for police, street repairs and the like.
Main Street West had initially promised to bring in a major anchor tenant - likely a movie theater - but got the council to release them from that requirement last fall.
The developer now proposes to build a two-story, mixed-use development on the vacant lots at Main and Solano streets that will have stores and businesses on the first floor while residences are put on the second floor.
Jason Garben, the city's Project Manager, said this would turn that area into "the major intersection for Old Town."
Similar uses are expected to go into the other small lots along Main Street while houses are planned for the large parcels on Civic Center Boulevard and Lotz Way.
The city is already undertaking a study to look at what businesses would be interested in moving to Old Town and how to get them there. It will also undertake a study of how the developments will affect parking.
"We expect this to be a good value in the marketplace," said Mike Rice of Main Street West.
If a change in the economy keeps Rice from bringing in businesses, he said he will return to the city council to work out a revised schedule.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.