Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fairfield's overall economic activity apears to be strong

Economic Notes: Local economy is strong

By Karl Dumas and Brian Miller | | November 03, 2007 11:10

As Fairfield struggles with the effects of the residential mortgage industry 'correction,' our review of overall economic activity appears to point to a much stronger local economy.

The city's business attraction programs have continued to spur the interest of diverse commercial developers, office users and manufacturers. This week, we share with you some of the news percolating through the industrial and office sectors.

We've previously discussed Fairfield's success in attracting food and beverage industries, exemplified by such companies as Anheuser-Busch, Jelly Belly, and Guittard Chocolate. The recent opening of Calbee in Solano Business Park shows that food-related industries continue to be attracted to Fairfield's relatively affordable industrial space, trainable workforce and excellent water supply.

Wine-related companies are one of our newest niches, with the recent announcement that a major Australian wine importing and custom production facility will be locating in a 60,000-square-foot space in Solano Business Park. We are also working closely with a major beverage industry leader that is looking at Fairfield for a substantial industrial production facility.

Stay tuned to this column for updates.

As important as the food and beverage industry is for Fairfield, it is by no means the only focus of our economic development outreach. One big announcement is the purchase by Trans Bay Steel of the 140,000-square-foot building at 2400 Cordelia Road previously occupied by Pilgrim Fireplace. Trans Bay fabricates steel girders and pieces used in large public and private projects such as the Bay Bridge.

Trans Bay is relocating 75-100 jobs and its headquarters from Napa.

Fairfield also has another advantage in attracting new companies: a stock of available industrial buildings ready for new occupants, including 110,000 square feet remaining in a building constructed last year located at 801 Chadbourne Road. The city's Web site,, can assist businesses in identifying major industrial areas and available buildings.

Given our strengths in the industrial market segment, it is no surprise that industrial developers are very interested in the Fairfield market. Tulloch Construction is finalizing plans for a new 177,000-square-foot speculative industrial-office building at 2901 Cordelia Road. This flexible space will be suitable for a variety of small manufacturers and office tenants.

Sierra Pacific Development Company (with the assistance of Tulloch Construction) is under way with a 140,000-square-foot speculative industrial building on Lopes Road near Rodriguez High School.

The office market is also hot. We can only mention that several companies are in discussions right now with the city and local real estate development interests for office space. Look for new office and mixed-use development near Copart in Green Valley and for the final three-story building to be completed at Highlands Business Center on Martin Road.

Finally, in addition to good water and eager developers able to deliver affordable industrial and office space, Fairfield can also assist manufacturers with obtaining other assistance from state and federal economic development funding. Some of these programs include Community Development Block Grant revolving loans, California Industrial Development Bonds (IDBs) and Pollution Control Bonds underwritten by the state.

These programs can help reduce the financing costs for investment in new facilities, equipment and workforce training. Interest rates are usually 2 to 3 percent below conventional rates. Anheuser-Busch used a pollution control bond to help finance a major investment in environmental technology. The city is currently working on approvals for two other IDBs for manufacturing companies.

Even with the slowdown in the economy triggered by the home mortgage crisis, Fairfield's underlying economy remains strong. As always, look here for the latest tidbits of economic news.

Economic notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Karl Dumas and Brian Miller of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at 428-7461l or e-mail at or

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