Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Vallejo Chamber of Commerce endorses Vallejo development projects

August 3, 2005

Chamber of Commerce endorses Vallejo development projects

By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN, Times-Herald staff writer

The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce board of directors Tuesday officially announced its support for two downtown revitalization projects.

The chamber endorsed the revised draft environmental impact reports for projects by two major developers. These include Triad Communities' Downtown Specific Plan and Virginia Street Development projects, and Callahan/DeSilva, LLC's Vallejo Station and Waterfront projects, said chamber head Rick Wells.

City Council will review the reports and likely vote on the projects at the end of October following public input, city spokesman Mark Mazzaferro said. The chamber endorsement is part of the public input, he said.

Jim Mitchell of Vallejo Main Street and the Central Core Restoration Corporation, said he's not surprised by the chamber's decision to back the projects.

"With what these projects will do for business downtown, it's no surprise," Mitchell said. "Triad's coming in will bring in a bunch of new businesses, and that's what the chamber is all about. When you bring people in, businesses follow."

Mitchell cites Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown's efforts on behalf of that city as an example of how things will likely work in Vallejo.

"He had high-density housing built in pockets in Oakland, and businesses poured in," Mitchell said. "I've seen it happen in other cities."

Mitchell said the transformation won't happen overnight, and some property owners downtown are concerned about the projects creating a parking crisis.

"The property owners and Triad are meeting (today) to hammer that out," Mitchell said. "But any downtown that's thriving has parking issues. There's no getting around that."
Mitchell said Triad and the property owners are exploring several parking options and he's confident an acceptable compromise will be found.

"If you go to a real happening place, you don't expect to park right in front of the place you're going, like you can here now," Mitchell said.

The chamber endorsement cites a March 2004 Economic Impact Study by Lee Kosmont Advisory Services, which predicated these projects will produce a combined total of nearly $5 million in annual revenues for the city and its redevelopment agency. Over a 20-year period, the projected revenues will total about $87 million, the study showed.

Chamber board chairman Michael Wilson said the chamber would not have officially endorsed the projects if it didn't believe they'd be a boon to the city. The developers asked the chamber to review the reports and endorse them if they could, Wilson said. Official endorsements of these types of projects are common for the chamber, he said.

"We've been following these projects for years, but we wanted to review the newly published EIRs," Wilson said. "Doing that, we decided these projects will strengthen the economic engine of Vallejo and be good for the whole city."

- E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at RachelZ@thnewsnet. com or call 553-6824.

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

Blog Archive