Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Open for Business

Open for Business
Green Valley Centerpiece Debuts
By Amanda Janis/Business Editor

The exterior of the new luxury offices in Green Valley built by developers Wiseman Co. is shown. In addition to offices, the building will feature Sticky Rice, a Chinese restaurant that overlooks the pond. (Ryan Chalk/The Reporter)

More than 12 months and $12 million later, Green Valley Executive Center is open for business. The 50,000-square-foot luxury office building - the ground floor will be anchored by an upscale Chinese bistro overlooking a large pond - is the brainchild of Fairfield-based developer The Wiseman Company, in conjunction with the city of Fairfield.

"It's really intended to be a signature building at the entrance of the office park, and it fits in nicely with the (adjacent) library," said Curt Johnston, Fairfield's assistant community development director.

Johnston explained that the city - its redevelopment agency owns Green Valley Corporate Park - had long-envisioned a restaurant at the corner of Business Center Drive and Green Valley Road. When The Wiseman Co. proposed an upscale office building which would also house a restaurant, it was determined that the site wouldn't allow for enough parking.

To make the deal work, Johnston said, the original 1.4-acre parcel was expanded by approximately an acre, and the site's retention pond was shrunk and reconstructed.

"The city spent about $800,000 taking all the old liner out of the pond, putting in the fountain, a recirculating system, and the pathway," said Doyle Wiseman, president of The Wiseman Co. The city is also in the process of landscaping the pathway that circles the pond and which will be dotted by benches.

"They wanted it to be an amenity for the community," he said. "The pond becomes the amenity for the restaurant, as well."

Scheduled to open in August, Sticky Rice Chinese Bistro and Bar's dining rooms and terrace will afford guests an outstanding view of the pond that is populated by turtles and frogs.

"This was actually the first and only place we looked," said Molly Tou, who is opening the restaurant along with her restaurateur uncle, James Jang. "We like the location so much, especially with the outdoor dining overlooking the pond. It's perfect for us."

The bistro - which will incorporate a 22-foot long bar and lounge area, as well as a private banquet room - will be decidedly upscale and contemporary, with modern decor, she said.

"With this great location, we really saw the opportunity to set a restaurant in here that will set us apart from all the other Chinese restaurants in Solano County," Tou said. "It's going to be a totally different atmosphere, and a totally different dining experience."

Though Tou was hesitant to call it fusion cuisine because it will stay true to Chinese flavors, she said the menu will incorporate a variety of dishes, with a focus on organic meats and vegetables. "It's a more healthy approach," she said.

In addition to Sticky Rice, Green Valley Executive Center's three floors will be populated by about 15 businesses, including The Wiseman Co., Express Personal Services and Waterview Dental Care.

About half of the building has been leased thus far, Wiseman said. And he expects to lease the remainder of the space during the next year.

"The big thing about this building is the location," he said. "This Green Valley area is one-of-a-kind, unique."

That, combined with its proximity to the intersection of Interstate 80 and I-680, he said, make it an ideal location for businesses.

Amanda Janis can be reached at business@thereporter.com.

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