Monday, October 03, 2005

Benicia Business Park expansion progressing

Article Last Updated: Wednesday, Sep 28, 2005 - 11:26:42 pm PDT

Benicia Business Park expansion progressing

By Christine Cubé

- The largest undeveloped piece of land in Benicia is under review to become a massive extension to an existing business park.

The city's Economic Development Board received a progress report Wednesday regarding 500 acres at the Benicia Business Park. The undeveloped land is owned by a local family and is proposed to eventually house commercial and limited industrial business.

Benicia City Manager Jim Erickson said there have been no snags with the project. He expects an environmental impact report to be ready for public review early next year.

The proposal for the added space to the business park involves roughly 40 acres bordering Interstate 680 planned for commercial use such as retail. The rest of the land is planned for limited industrial use.

In a previous planning session for the business park, Erickson said there were many interesting comments about the proposed commercial portion of the project.

"Precisely what it will be will be determined as we go through the process," he said. "(This is) a key piece of the city's economy."

The existing Benicia Business Park covers more than 3,000 acres, boasting 6 million square feet of built space. It's the largest port-oriented industrial park in Northern California, employing more than 7,000 workers at 600 business firms there, according to the city's Web site.

Several years ago, the Seeno family began processing the same application to transform its 500 acres in Benicia for industrial use, Erickson said. But the project came to a halt in early 2000.

The city has been working for about a year with the Seeno family and developer Discovery Builders on a new application. It was submitted to the city in May.

A representative of Discovery Builders didn't return calls seeking comment.

Sandy Person, vice president of the Solano EDC, said Benicia's business park extension is a big deal for the community.

"It is Benicia's future as far as new development potential and growth opportunities," she said.

Reach Christine Cubé at 427-6934 or

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