Thursday, December 01, 2005

Suisun City's Growing Business

Suisun City's Growing Business
By Nathan Halverson

SUISUN CITY - Residents are increasingly finding they can shop and eat in their own back yards, rather than drive to the more numerous retail centers in Fairfield.

In fact, a section of the city along Highway 12 is becoming the new drive-thru alley with a wide range of fast food stores opened or opening.

The city's business growth is a combination of concerted efforts by city officials and of natural growth as developers and business owners recognize the potential of under-served neighborhoods.

Currently 73 percent of Suisun City residents' taxable spending is made outside their city, according to city project manager Jason Garben. City officials want more of that taxable spending to stay local.

Primarily the money is going to Fairfield, which hosts the region's major retail spots like Westfield Solano mall.

Suisun City officials know they need more retail and commercial space to increase their tax revenues.

There are about 144 undeveloped acres available in the city, said Garben. Roughly 65 of those acres are good for commercial development, he added.

New developments

Several new retail areas are in various stages of development.

Wal-Mart has proposed building a new store on Highway 12 on a piece of land not yet incorporated into the city. The release of an environmental impact report for the proposed store and retail center there has been delayed from late November to February as issues of wetland protection and increased traffic need further review, said Alvaro da Silva, interim economic development director for Suisun City.

The city continues to redevelop and assist in adding commercial and retail space on Main Street, which has undergone a major overhaul since its more industrious days came to an end in the late 1980s.

Another new retail area is at the southeast corner of Highway 12 and Grizzly Island Road known as the Lawler Center. This site has grown with little city assistance.

"It's actually happening by itself," said da Silva.

A cluster of fast food restaurants opened there during the last few months, including a Quizno's Sub, Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits, Jack in the Box and Burger King. A Panda Express is under construction.

Construction drawings were recently submitted to the city for a seafood and grocery store with a bakery and deli. The store will be at 303 Lawler Center Drive.

The Lawler Center still has about 10 parcels on which to build.

More room to grow

Tim McCabe owns and operates a franchised It's a Grind Coffee House, which opened at Lawler Center in July. He said about 75 percent of his customers are Suisun City residents.

"It's mostly locals that know about us," he said.

He gets a lot of teachers from Crescent Elementary School, which was recently built, he said.

Just south of the center off Highway 12 is a mixed-use project named McCoy Creek.

The proposed development, for which construction drawings have yet to be submitted, will include 19 single family homes and five apartments above retail spaces, totaling about 6,000 square feet.

The site will also host an office building with four units. It is being developed by former city manager Camron Najoomi.

Kevin English of Fairfield-based Premier Commercial Real Estate Services is representing the site, which is zoned general commercial.

Reach Nathan Halverson at 425-4646 ext. 267 or

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