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SMART rail district opening Petaluma headquarters

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District will create a consolidated headquarters in Petaluma, moving workers there from Santa Rosa and San Rafael.

“We have a lot of staff constantly going back and forth. We are wasting a lot of time and talent and mileage,” said SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian.

SMART has eight administrative workers in its San Rafael offices, a dozen workers in the Santa Rosa construction office and is preparing to hire scores more as rail line reconstruction proceeds and the line gets closer to operating.

The commute rail district has leased 25,000 square feet on the second floor of an office building at 5401 Old Redwood Highway in Petaluma at a cost of $510,000 a year.

The office space will be large enough to eventually house 100 SMART employees also to rent space to the consultants it hires.

Mansourian said that over a six-year period, consolidation will save $100,000 in the cost of office space. SMART will move into the building, owned by Cornerstone Properties of San Mateo, within the next few months, he said.

The building is in of what has been called Telecom Valley, an area stretching from Petaluma to Rohnert Park along the Highway 101 corridor, and area once home to a thriving telecommunications industry.

Mansourian said the building has the communications infrastructure needed to house SMART computer servers that will be used as part of the commute line operations. The building is also across Old Redwood Highway from the Northwestern Pacific Railroad tracks that SMART will use for commute service.

A decision has not been made on a location for a north Petaluma station.

The agency has begun rebuilding the rail line, beginning in Railroad Square in Santa Rosa and working south to San Rafael.

Mansourian said SMART will look for a place in Petaluma to hold its monthly board of directors meetings. The board now alternates between San Rafael City Hall and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors chambers.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com.





9 Responses to “SMART rail district opening Petaluma headquarters”

  1. Chuck G says:

    Metropolis here we come!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  2. At 25,000 square feet, and $510,000 per year, with 20 workers that works out to 1,250 square feet per worker, at a leasing cost of $25,500 each.

    And don’t give me the same tired old story about 100 workers. Last December, Fah-raud said there would be 1,000 workers by the end of 2011, so he’s about 980 union workers short of that bloated promise.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 9

  3. joebob says:

    Good move,SMART. The two-office thing does not make a lot of sense with construction underway.

    Sooo great to see things happening out there. Sorry, antis, but life has a way of moving on . . .

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 31

  4. Mke says:

    I thought the marvel of Marin, Mansourian, promised us 900 workers by last December busy as bees laying track and pounding spikes.

    Now he only has 20 workers busy pushing paper in two locations. What happened to the other 880 workers sceduled last December?

    Another incorrect estimate by the brilliant concocting minds planning the little train to nowhere. How do they do it? Nobody is wrong 100% of the time except the unsmart board and their brilliant manager who appear to be striving for this goal.

    Thumb up 31 Thumb down 8

  5. steveguy says:

    They could have bought a building cheaper, and still have value in the investment of taxpayer monies, but NOOOO, they lease a place. Buildings are CHEAP there now ! I even know that as a mere onlooker.

    And offices for ‘consultants’ ? The same ‘consultants’ that financed the campaign ? Those ones ? Free rent and MILLIONS ? What a money pit. I wish I could feed off that trough but I would feel real dirty and have to shower 4 times a day.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 9

  6. Johnathon says:

    What! They’re not going to commute by smart train?

    Thumb up 31 Thumb down 7

  7. Steve Klausner says:

    The building is even closer to a Hwy 101 interchange, should make it an easy commute for their employees.

    Thumb up 30 Thumb down 5

  8. 20/20 vision says:

    More DUMB money going out of the county. With all of the office buildings for sale in Petaluma, they could buy their own building for less.

    Thumb up 31 Thumb down 9

  9. Jim Bennett says:

    Close ‘n conveinient for your protesting pleasure…
    Any good places to eat around there?

    I know all those Smart employees will take the train, it’s not that far of a walk.

    In the rain.

    After a long day.

    I’m a little disappointed, it doesn’t have very good protest frontage.

    Well, look at the bright side…………

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 10

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