Monday, July 18, 2005

Business space stays strong despite vacancy increases

With the economic slowdown since 2000, vacancy rates in retail, industrial, commercial and "flexible" light office/manufacturing/distribution space have risen in the central Bay Area.

Despite this, the Fairfield market continues to be strong for this space. The Planning Department has been hit with a slew of new applications over the last few weeks, and we thought our readers might be interested in some of the things coming down the freeway.

Green Valley Ranch Plaza: A master plan for this large shopping center was approved for the intersection of Link and Pittman roads in 2000. The project will have a "western" theme. Unlike many shopping centers, this project is not being built at one time by one developer. Instead, each component will be developed separately, with Planning Department review ensuring each piece fits the overall theme approved for the center.

The proposed center includes sites for retail and restaurant tenants. The city is reviewing applications for four buildings on three parcels, including two buildings about 6,000 square feet and two larger (12,000 square feet and 15,000 square feet) buildings.

Fox Commercial: A proposed 20,000-square-foot speculative commercial/industrial building on Grobric Court.

Ashley Furniture: A 46,000-square-foot furniture store/warehouse facility on Auto Plaza Court. This would be the company's first store in Solano County.

Calbee Foods: Fairfield continues to attract interest from food products manufacturers. This 46,000-square-foot factory could produce snack foods for the Japanese and American markets.

Oakmont Plaza, Phase II: This proposed project would provide 46,000 square feet of retail space next to the existing FoodMaxx store on North Texas Street. Instead of a larger major user, the new plan shows 10 smaller storefronts.

Lincoln Fairfield Center: A 119,000-square-foot spec building for distribution/light manufacturing on Chadbourne Road at Maxwell Way. Tulloch Construction continues to bring new product into the Fairfield market.

Saint Gobain Packaging: By far the biggest project currently in the review pipeline, the Saint Gobain Packaging facility will involve more than 1 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space under one roof at the corner of Peabody Road and Huntington Drive. The company plans to distribute glass bottles for the wine industry from this facility. The facility will employ about 80 people.

Comcast Technical Operations Center: Approved in June, this 27,000-square-foot building on Watt Court will be the "workshop" for Comcast cable operations in the Fairfield area.

Fairfield continues to be a focal point for industrial uses. With relatively inexpensive land, "relatively" affordable housing, and access to regional transportation links and regional markets (Napa Valley, Sacramento, San Francisco), facilities serving the wine and food industries "make sense."

The city also continues to see new retail development in the Cordelia area, with the remaining sites visible from the freeway being rapidly developed. During the next two years, the city also anticipates new development near the proposed Fairfield-Vacaville Train Station (Peabody Road/Vanden Road), in the "Villages at Fairfield" project in northeast Fairfield, and downtown Fairfield.

Economic Notes: An update from Fairfield City Hall is written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at 428-7461 or e-mail at or

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