Monday, August 27, 2007

Waterfront Plans Contrary To Suisun City Style

Waterfront Plans Contrary To Suisun City Style
Italian Theme Developers' Dream

Weeds grow on one of the last vacant lots on Suisun City’s waterfront, located just south of the Suisun City Marina. Local developers plan to give the property an Italian touch to attract more people. Photo by Brad Zweerink

By Ian Thompson

SUISUN CITY - Three Suisun City developers want to bring a little bit of Italy to the waterfront.

Shane Ballman, James Jensen and Jim Pitcher are proposing to use that style for their mixed-use development to entice more people to the stores and restaurant they want to build.

The three are now negotiating with Suisun City's Redevelopment Agency to build on one of the city's last vacant waterfront sites, which is located next to the former Adams Marine building on Kellogg Street.

"To make this a destination point, this has to stand out," Pitcher said. "We want this to look like a little Italy."

Until to now, Suisun City's redevelopment plans stressed keeping to a relatively uniform Victorian theme for downtown residential and commercial development.

On Thursday, the developers fleshed out initial plans they announced four months ago, saying they want to build small shops, an Italian-style restaurant and condominiums on the site.

Earlier this month, the developers submitted a site plan and architectural concepts to the city. In early September, the city expects them to show proof they have the financial capability to build the project.

The developers are now talking with potential retail tenants that include a winery, a local restaurant owner, a farmers market outlet and a hair salon/day spa owner.

"We would also like to see a nautical-themed sports bar," Ballman said.

The Suisun City Council approved entering exclusive negotiations in early April in a 3-2 vote despite a request by councilmembers Mike Segala and Sam Derting to put out a call for inquiries from any interested developers.

This followed a city study of the area that supported building commercial development, adding more boat slips, relocating the fuel dock and creating a new fishing pier.

Three years ago, the developers had talked with the city's redevelopment agency about building eight live-work homes on the land.

They got shot down after the council decided to instead negotiate with Adams Marine owner Bill Adams about expanding his business, a proposal that later fell through.

Jensen is confident that the development will get the financing needed to start building and is sure the development will bring more foot traffic that the city desires.

"The key is getting the right combination of businesses," Jensen said. "We are trying to create a good bookend to that side of the waterfront."

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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