Sunday, November 25, 2007

Office building, tower likely at Alamo Plaza

Office building, tower likely at Alamo Plaza

By Jennifer Gentile/Staff Writer

Article Launched: 11/05/2007 06:04:39 AM PST

A new office building and tower are part of a plan to spruce up a Vacaville shopping center, and the proposal comes to a Planning Commission vote on Tuesday night.

The center in question is Alamo Plaza, located at the northwest corner of Alamo Drive and Merchant Street. The center was built in the 1970s and has a reported vacancy rate of 50 percent.

"The center has experienced a significant decline in occupied tenant spaces over the years and it currently does not have an anchor store," according to a staff report, prepared by city planner Ward Stewart. "The largest current tenant is Big Lots, and there are a mixture of small tenants ranging from restaurants, retail stores and offices."

If the three-phase project goes forward as proposed, a 24,000-square-foot office/retail building would be added in the parking lot area, while a 78-foot tower would be built in a central location. All the existing buildings would receive new exterior features.

"Decorative brick and metal columns will be included with aluminum storefronts and metal roofs," according to Stewart's report. "The new 78-foot tower feature will have the cement plaster facing with an aluminum storefront."

The plan also involves removing a driveway along Alamo Drive and restriping the parking lot and drive aisles. Based on the Land Use and Development Code, the project will be about 100 parking spaces short, so applicant F.H. One, Inc., has asked for an exception.

"The applicant has provided parking and traffic studies to support the request for these exceptions to code requirements," according to Stewart.

Staff does not support a variance for the tower, however, which is needed for the tower to exceed 70 feet. Its recommendation is to limit the tower to that maximum height.

Economic Development Manager Mike Palombo said the center has been struggling and that a an overhaul may help it recover.

"Alamo Plaza has been one of the centers we've had concerns about over the years," he said, "and we're glad to see steps taken to improve its condition."

Some tenants in the plaza agreed that the renovation is a good idea.

"I think it'll be great for the plaza; it needs to be upgraded anyway," said Tammy Beck, owner of Renegade's Salon. Giving the center a facelift, she said, will hopefully "bring business to this side of town."

Paul Herriott, owner of Digger's Deli, also said the improvements are "a long time coming."

The Planning Commission's decision will serve as a recommendation to the city council. The panel meets at 7 p.m. in the City Council chamber, located at 650 Merchant St.

Jennifer Gentile can be reached at

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