Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Council OKs Plan on Office Project

Council OKs Plan on Office Project
By Jennifer Gentile/Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/13/2008

The City Council agreed Tuesday night to exclusive negotiations with a local businessman, who wants to build a two-story office building on the edge of downtown Vacaville.

The council unanimously approved the agreement with resident Greg Banks, who owns Banks Integration Group downtown and wants to develop 1.7 acres in the northeast corner of Wilson and Mason Streets. Banks has said that he approached the city with his idea more than a year ago.

Staff has been in talks with Banks at the same time that it has been working with EDAW - the firm charged with drafting a master plan for the city's Opportunity Hill area.

The city's goal is to revitalize that area, which encompasses several acres on the eastern outskirts of downtown, with mixed-use development.

Banks' intended site is within the scope of the project, and according to staff, the master plan has identified it as "a potential area for office development."

The compact that the City Council approved Tuesday gives Banks and the city one year to negotiate a disposition and development agreement, and also to have land-use and construction entitlements in place.

It also calls for a $20,000 deposit from the developer, which will be applied toward the purchase price if negotiations are successful.

Offering his support, Councilman Curtis Hunt said, "I think it's an exciting project, and it's a ... jumpstart for a project that's important to all of us."

Following the council's decision, Banks said, "Obviously, I'm very pleased. I've been looking forward to this for a long time."

Banks said his proposed building will be environmentally friendly and include "as many green initiatives" as possible."

Several other downtown business owners are interested in the project, he said, and he already has arranged to fill about 60 percent of the proposed building.

One of those potential owner/occupants is Anne Campbell, who has law offices downtown and said she's been friends with Banks for years.

"It's a win-win," she said, explaining that the city is interested in starting the Opportunity Hill project and keeping businesses and people downtown. "It's going to be a really gorgeous building, too."

Although the agreement calls for a yearlong negotiation period, Banks said, "We hope to move a little quicker than that."

His goal is to break ground in the fall and to occupy the building in 2009.

Jennifer Gentile can be reached at

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