Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Triad completes deal for Lagoon Valley land

Article Launched: 08/09/2005 06:58:03 AM

Triad completes deal for Lagoon Valley land

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Triad Development has completed purchase of 223 acres in Lower Lagoon Valley for $6.6 million, officials confirmed Monday.

Despite ongoing litigation, Triad is moving ahead to execute options on land it has held since 2002, said Curt Johansen, Triad's executive vice president. The latest deal represents only a portion, but the largest piece, of the total acreage to be developed by Triad.

Friends of Lagoon Valley, a local group opposed to the development, has sued the city of Vacaville and Triad, citing environmental reasons among others. A status conference is scheduled to be held on at 9 a.m. on Aug. 25 in Fairfield before visiting Judge Donald Fretz.

Johansen said the land was purchased outright with no contingency clauses in case the development is stopped.

"We're very confident that our project will continue to move ahead," he said. "We fully expect to break ground in 2006, as we planned. We certainly think this should be taken care of by then."

Triad bought the land from River City Bank, which acquired it after Sacramento-based developer and previous landowner Peter McCuen failed in his bid for a large-scale commercial development in Lagoon Valley a decade ago.

McCuen's proposal included a business park to house back-office operations for Bank of America and for a Kaiser Permanente hospital among 3 million square feet of commercial property and several hundred homes just south of Interstate 80.

Bank of America filled its space needs elsewhere. Kaiser instead built its medical offices in VacaValley Business Park near Genentech. It is now constructing a hospital there.

Construction costs also rose, stalling the momentum of the Lagoon Valley development. McCuen eventually lost the land when River City Bank foreclosed.

Triad moved in several years later, and recently had a tentative plan approved that calls for 1,025 homes, a 240-acre golf course and a 54-acre business park in the Lower Lagoon Valley.

Vacaville City Council approved those plans in February, despite nearly a year of protest, two proposed ballot measures that would've let the voters decide Lagoon Valley's fate and a lawsuit from Bay Area-based Greenbelt Alliance.

The ballot measures were removed from consideration on the March 2005 ballot after the council rescinded approvals for a larger Lagoon Valley development and approved a smaller one.

Greenbelt Alliance settled out of court, agreeing to support the project if the city asks voters to approve an urban limit line that would restrict future development in some rural parts of the city's sphere of influence.

Should voters deny the urban limit line, Triad would be forced to purchase a set amount of undeveloped land and place an agricultural easement on it, thus disallowing any commercial, industrial or residential building on that property.

Brent Schoradt of the Greenbelt Alliance said the ballot measure instituting a Vacaville growth line is on hold until the current lawsuit is resolved.

Tom Hall can be reached at vacaville@thereporter.com.

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