Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Major destination retail project along I-80

Article Launched: 10/02/2005 08:01:36 AM

Other projects challenge plan

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Lost in the excitement of the Nut Tree's redevelopment and the nail-biting of Dixon Downs is the one thing that connects the project: Interstate 80.

Nut Tree is expected to bring in millions of visitors a year, while Dixon Downs could pack in tens of thousands on race days. Both projects include major retail components - the Nut Tree is being built along with the family park and market pavilion, while Dixon Down's commercial village will wait until Phase 2 comes around.

The core projects themselves are rather divergent: A miniature railroad chugging around a track vs. a pack of thoroughbred horses galloping for gold. But can the projects, with their girth and their draw, with their upscale shopping and their entertainment pull, co-exist on the corridor?

Marshall Drack, the city of Dixon's retiring economic development director, isn't sure yet.

"There's competition, and there's the idea of making it a destination," Drack said.

Drack said because of the lack of entertainment options in northern Solano County, especially in Dixon, there isn't an oversaturation of the market.

He also said that projects could get their crowds from different places.

"Dixon draws a lot from Davis and Sacramento," Drack said. "Vacaville might draw more from Fairfield and Suisun City. I-80 is the road that connects all those people, but folks still don't stray too far from home."

Mike Palombo, Vacaville's economic development director, said cities rarely meddle in neighbors' affairs.

"All of us are aware of the others' projects," Palombo said. "But our goal is to bring the projects we like into our community. If we're not an option, then we'll send the developer to a neighbor."

Palombo said coordination between cities is more likely when bringing in industry. Palombo said, by rule of thumb, Vacaville residents will get 40 percent of the work generated by a job center in Fairfield and 60 percent of the work generated by a job center in Vacaville.

So it helps to work together on industry. But in commercial endeavors, the city has little pull.

"The people who decide where to build are the developers," Palombo said. "Sure, we all make our best pitch. But the developer makes their decision."

Palombo isn't sure how Dixon Downs and the Nut Tree, as well as future projects in the pipeline, will co-exist.

"They seem to be aimed at different groups," Palombo said. "But at this point, it'd be premature to guess."

He said developers tend to do their own homework about local markets and upcoming projects in the area surrounding prospective sites, anyway.

"If a retail developer wants to build in Vacaville, they will," he said.

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

Solano's Got It!

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

Blog Archive