Monday, August 08, 2005

City of Suisun readies annex proposal for possible Wal-Mart site

Article Last Updated: Saturday, Aug 06, 2005 - 09:37:12 pm PDT

Suisun readies annex proposal for possible Wal-Mart site

By Christine Cubé

- Developers and Suisun City officials are preparing their application to the Local Agency Formation Commission to annex property adjacent to Suisun City that could eventually become the home of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The project has been the subject of debate by many local residents and members of the business community who question Wal-Mart's bid to build two supercenters in the Fairfield-Suisun area. A supercenter at Mission Village in Fairfield is under consideration.

Suisun City officials maintain developing a portion of the Gentry property would be a great asset for the community, allowing Suisun City residents to shop and spend their money at home. Currently, Suisun City ranks lowest in Solano County in terms of per capita sales tax generation. About 73 percent of the city's disposable income is spent outside the city, supporting Fairfield and other jurisdictions, officials said.

"It's an equity issue," said Gerry Raycraft, interim community development director for Suisun City. "The Gentry project is important in terms of sales tax generation. It levels the playing field in terms of providing opportunities for Suisun City residents."

The development has the potential to generate anywhere from $600,000 to $800,000 in sales tax for Suisun City, Raycraft said. Higher, more optimistic estimates put the sales tax generation figure at $2 million, he said.

The overall mixed-use project involves 675,000 square feet of gross retail space and about 359 single-family attached and/or detached homes to be developed by Silverwing Development.

The proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter would serve as the anchor of the retail development, taking up roughly 220,000 square feet. Other big box retailers have not yet been named, although project developers have identified likely tenants including a home improvement warehouse and apparel company.

Highland Development of San Mateo is working through the entitlement process, said Mitch Bolen, director of construction for the business. The Suisun City development would be Highland's first in the Fairfield-Suisun area.

An environmental study is underway while the LAFCO process continues, Suisun City Mayor Jim Spering said. City and building officials want LAFCO to approve the underlying land use and annexation of the Gentry property to the city. The property is unincorporated land that is within Suisun City's sphere of influence, Spering said.

The environmental report is expected mid-November.

"It's not a cookie-cutter project," Raycraft said, mentioning the primary focus of the report involves evaluating traffic flow and biology with regard to wetlands, air quality and noise. "It's complex."

Reach Christine Cubé at 427-6934 or

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