Wednesday, April 06, 2005

By May 16, Mills must submit preliminary master plan concepts to change the fairgrounds into a year-round destination-retail development

Article Published: Wednesday, April 06, 2005

County gives developer more time

Preliminary master plan for fairgrounds due May 16

By GREG MOBERLY, Times-Herald staff writer

FAIRFIELD - Citing a project more complex than initially anticipated, development officials secured an extension to draft plans they say will revitalize the county fairgrounds.

Tuesday, the Solano County Board of Supervisors agreed to postpone a key deadline and set a new series of deadlines for Arlington, Va.-based Mills Corp.

County supervisors have tried to change the fairgrounds into a year-round destination-retail development for the past several years. They never claimed the redevelopment plans would progress quickly and even a Mills official conceded Tuesday he wished the project could move faster.

"We're really close on a new revised plan," said Brian Clark, Mills Corp.'s development consultant.

By May 16, Mills must submit preliminary master plan concepts which would include the location of buildings, landscaping and pedestrian trails. After that, Clark said Mills will hold informal workshops to get public input.

A preliminary master plan that could include a revised layout, a financial feasibility analysis, a preliminary development and construction schedule and construction cost estimates is now due Sept. 15 instead of April 15.

In seeking the first deadline postponement last October, Mills officials announced that the public favored more of a city center look with shops and restaurants. The concept change came after an initial series of public meetings.

Supervisor Duane Kromm, District 3, wanted to know if Mills officials were negotiating with Indian tribes to include gaming. According to a media report several months ago, an Indian tribe approached Mills about a possible mall-casino development.

Clark said Indian gaming would not be included.

"Mills has no interest to include Indian gaming in any of its venues," Clark said.

A group of downtown Vallejo businesses, backed by Westfield Corp., owners of the Fairfield mall, continued to express concerns over what the redevelopment may include.

In a letter to supervisors, Janet Sylvain, owner of Pieced on Earth, said the business group doesn't know anything about possible traffic or economic impacts.

Mills and county leaders said plans haven't progressed enough to identify potential impacts.

- E-mail Greg Moberly at or call 553-6833.

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