Monday, July 25, 2005

Major retailers ready to ink local deals

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

More major retailers are setting their sights on Solano County, which could add 2 million square feet of new shopping along Interstate 80 in the next few years and bolster efforts to resurrect the Nut Tree property in Vacaville.

A local real estate expert said Thursday that deals soon could be announced to bring Borders, PetSmart, Sport Chalet and HomeGoods to the Nut Tree Village.

Overall, the net gain for Solano County would include two new Best Buy electronics stores and a couple of new Wal-Mart stores along the I-80 corridor, as well as the Nut Tree additions.

Jim Randolph, the director of the retail division for Bay Area real estate firm Cornish & Carey, took more than 120 local business leaders on a verbal tour from Vallejo to Dixon, charting a course for growth in shopping centers. He spoke at the Solano Economic Development Corporation's Real Estate Round-up Thursday morning in Fairfield.

Representatives from Westrust, the firm developing the Nut Tree Village, could not be reached to confirm the list of top tenants being wooed to Vacaville.

Randolph said a spin-off of Best Buy and five restaurants are also in the works for the 31-acre project that borders the redevelopment of the legendary Nut Tree property.

Larkspur-based Snell & Co. is developing a master-planned project that will include facets of the old Nut Tree and possibly two hotels and a convention center, as well as some residential units and a retail component.

Randolph said some projections show that the redeveloped Nut Tree could bring up to 3.3 million visitors a year to the city.

He also pointed at a neighboring project - the Vacaville Pavillion - being developed by Phoenix-based Kornwasser Shopping Center Properties. The Kornwasser project has been described as a "lifestyle center," combining upscale restaurants with home furnishing stores and specialty retail.

That project is in early stages on 72 acres just north of I-80 and just east of I-505.

Randolph also outlined various projects in Fairfield, including a Long's Drugs store scheduled to feature a drive-through window. He added that a development north of Air Base Parkway near Clay Bank Road that hopes to bring 2,400 homes to the area, along with a neighborhood shopping center anchored by a major national supermarket.

Randolph touched on several proposed Wal-Mart stores in the area, as well, including one scheduled for the massive Main Street West development in Suisun City, one along North Texas Street in Fairfield and the contentious construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in American Canyon.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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