Monday, July 25, 2005

Fairground complex plans move ahead

By Christine Cubé

FAIRFIELD - A proposed $200 million retail and entertainment complex at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo is swiftly moving along in the development pipeline.

Project developers for the Fair of Solano have until Sept. 15 to submit a master plan for a 1-million-square-foot facility complete with a 300-room hotel and conference center, destination retail and specialty retail. The plan also calls for entertainment venues and fairground facilities, including a Solano County welcome center and RV park.

The plan, to be submitted to the Solano County Fair Association and Board of Supervisors, will include a habitat survey and a detailed traffic and infrastructure analysis.

The firm is currently reaching out to the community, said Brian Clark, development director with Arlington, Va.-based Mills Corp., which plans to develop the Fair of Solano.


"We have a booth at the (Solano County) fair, and we've met with a couple thousand people who have come (here)," Clark said on his cell phone at the fairgrounds.

Mills Corp. is the entity behind many massive shopping centers across the country. In California, their developments include Ontario Mills, Great Mall in Milpitas and Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance.

The proposed development has the potential to be a big, mixed-use center, said Jim Randolph, senior vice president and director of retail services with Cornish & Carey Commercial.

"There's a lot of negotiation going on," Randolph said Thursday during the annual Solano EDC Real Estate Round-Up member-investor breakfast at the Clubhouse at Paradise Valley.

The Fair of Solano is one of several projects local real estate experts touched on during the meeting.

Industrial vacancy in Fairfield is about 2.6 percent, which is approaching "land scarcity," said Brooks Pedder, managing partner with Colliers International.

"That's about as healthy a vacancy rate as you're going to possibly get," Pedder told the group.

Other figures: Vacaville holds a 12 percent vacancy rate and the overall vacancy rate for the region is 6.9 percent. He compared the figures to the industrial hub of Hayward, which has an 11 percent vacancy.

The flipside to Fairfield's low vacancy is that there are few places for new businesses or expanding business to go. Dixon and Vacaville are positioned to capture that business, Pedder said.

Reach Christine Cubé at

427-6934 or

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