Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Businessman's Idea Appeals to Vaca Council

Businessman's Idea Appeals to Vaca Council
By Ian Thompson | DAILY REPUBLIC | February 12,2008

VACAVILLE - The City Council on Tuesday night agreed to enter talks with a Vacaville businessman who wants to construct the first building in the city's Opportunity Hill redevelopment project.

Downtown businessman Greg Banks was praised by the council for his proposal to build a two-story building on a 1.7-acre site on Wilson Street between Catherine and Mason streets.

'He wants to come to us because he wants to stay in Vacaville,' Redevelopment Agency Director Cyndi Johnston said.

Vacaville's Redevelopment Agency wants to turn the area into a pedestrian-friendly mix of offices, retail and housing.

Bank's proposed building is the first specific project to come forward. He will have a year to finalize negotiations with the city.

'It is an exciting project and it's great that its a local person who is doing it,' said City Councilman Curtis Hunt, whose response was indicative of the council's sentiment.

Banks owns an engineering firm already located in downtown Vacaville and does business with biotech firms in the area.

His proposed building will house his business and several other tenants.

'I am really excited,' Banks said. 'This is a chance for small business people to develop their own spaces.'

The Redevelopment Agency has been slowly buying the four-block area of old single-family homes and small businesses around Catherine Street since 1999 with plans to turn it into a mixed-use extension of downtown.

The office building's location includes the current Opportunity House homeless shelter.

There are plans in the works to move the Opportunity House to a new location in the Brown Street area where Solano County also plans to build a new social services center.

In other business, the council also agreed to enter exclusive negotiations with Solano Napa Habitat for Humanity to build a second affordable housing project in the city.

Habitat for Humanity has talked about building 11 housing units on a site on the east side of Rocky Hill Road, according to Johnston. Habitat for Humanity previously had plans to build five homes on the site, but its agreement with the city had expired.

The specific form of the project will depend on an agreement between the two sides.

Napa Solano Habitat for Humanity is part of the international nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, which has built more than 155,000 homes around the world.

So far, Solano Napa Habitat for Humanity has built eight homes and renovated one in Solano County.

The last house it built in Vacaville was finished in late June 2006 at 575 Rocky Hill Road.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

Blog Archive