Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Supporting Our Economic Partners

Moving redevelopment projects forward during a time of economic turmoil is one of the most challenging aspects of any long-term effort.

Since 1989, Suisun City has rebuilt the Waterfront District into a terrific regional destination. We've seen many successes:
  • Established restaurants with solid regional reputations,
  • A new hotel expected to open this summer,
  • Harbor Square, with 40,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and office space, is nearly complete, and
  • Totally unique Class A office space overlooking a scenic marina yet just a short walk from the nation's third busiest commuter rail line.
But there is more to be done.

Since 2005, the Suisun City Redevelopment Agency has worked with Main Street West Partners to convert 13 long-vacant parcels into active restaurant, retail, office, residential and live-work uses. We are looking at more than 60,000 square feet of new restaurant and retail space, plus more than 32,000 square feet of office space. This is a true public/private partnership in which each party builds on the strengths and resources of the other to create a strong economic engine for the entire community.

On Tuesday, the Redevelopment Agency Board took steps to better position our Waterfront District to take advantage of the future recovery from the current nationwide economic challenge. We will spend $722,000 to buy back parcels previously sold to Main Street West Partners, and provide a $500,000 line of credit against future proceeds of housing units to be built within the Waterfront District. (The original agreement required Main Street West Partners to provide this money to assist new businesses as the new homes were sold.)

This will have three major benefits:
  • All the parcels originally owned by the Redevelopment Agency will remain within its control.
  • It will allow Main Street West partners to work with private investors and banks to secure financing to proceed with planning other parts of the project.
  • Main Street West Partners will have access to cash to help lease existing space within Harbor Square.
Main Street West Partners has secured approvals to build a second retail, restaurant and office building on Main Street across from Harbor Square, a two-story restaurant on Solano Street and the Promenade, and a 16 home subdivision on Lotz Way east of Civic Center Blvd. When the economy rebounds, those parcels will be sold back to Main Street West and the projects are ready to go.

During this slack time in the housing market, Main Street West Partners can work on the process of entitling the former Crystal Middle School site on Cordelia Road and vacant land along Civic Center Boulevard for future housing. When demand for new housing returns, those projects would be ready to build.

We've worked our way through several recessions in the past. We are confident we will successfully navigate this one, too. When the recovery comes, we're determined to be ready to pounce.

No comments: