Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Suisun Hopes to Start on Hotel Before Summer

Suisun Hopes to Start on Hotel Before Summer
By Ian Thompson

SUISUN CITY - A proposal to put a 102-room hotel next to the waterfront got a warm reception Tuesday from the Suisun City Council, which liked seeing a 10-year-old goal finally move closer to reality.

"We need to move quickly forward and bring this to fruition," Mayor Jim Spering said of the proposal put forward by Basin Street Properties of Petaluma.

The biggest hurdle was finding a way to settle concerns from Doyle Wiseman without endangering the project. Wiseman owns One Harbor Center, next door to the site.

Wiseman voiced concerns about hotel guests parking in his parking lot, which is just across from the hotel's entrance. He also didn't want to see recreation vehicles parked near his building, according to Spering.

Spering voiced hope that such concerns will be ironed out by the time Basin Street submits its formal application to build early next year.

Basin Street is a 30-year-old commercial property owner and developer with projects located throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada.

The proposal calls for building a limited-service hotel next to Driftwood Drive. It would target business travelers and executive teams that are looking for a place to hold small meetings.

Getting a hotel here was a critical part of the city's agreement with Main Street West Partners, its master developer for Old Town. The agreement stated that before Main Street West could develop one of the other parcels for high-end housing, it needed to get a hotel.

If built, the hotel is expected to generate $320,000 a year in transient occupancy taxes and $10,000 in property taxes, according to Redevelopment Agency Director Al da Silva.

The hotel would also create 25 full-time jobs and generate more customers for the downtown area's restaurants, since it won't have a restaurant of its own.

"This is a critical opportunity to help diversify our revenue base," planner Jason Garben said, calling the hotel "a piece of the puzzle that will help us achieve that goal."

Mayor-elect Pete Sanchez asked why Basin Street wanted to see approvals for the project move as quickly as possible in order to be able to break ground this summer.

Garben replied waiting any longer could increase the financial risk for Basin Street.

"Another 9-11 could happen and the hotel market could drop off the face of the earth," Garben said.

Councilmember Mike Segala voiced support for the proposal, adding he wanted to see the architecture reflect water-related style as much as possible because of Suisun City's harbor nearby.

"It is critical that we put in a water element," Segala said.

This is the second hotel proposal for that area that has landed in front of the City Council.

In 2000, a group called Suisun Hotel Partners Ltd. proposed building a $7 million, three-story, 100-room Quality Inn & Suites hotel on the vacant lot off Driftwood Drive and Civic Center Boulevard.

An increase in construction costs and troubles with construction unions doomed that project, which finally fell apart in 2002.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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