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Proposed Petaluma waterfront project to create 2,500 jobs

By LORI A. CARTER

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A proposed housing, retail and hotel development along the Petaluma River brings with it the promise of nearly 2,500

People walk along the Warehouse District boardwalk along the Petaluma River in Petaluma, California on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011.

People walk along the Warehouse District boardwalk along the Petaluma River in Petaluma  on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011.

temporary and permanent jobs.

Monday night, Petaluma City Council members and labor leaders sought to pin down the Riverfront developer that those hires would be locals, particularly in construction, one of the hardest hit industries during the recession.

“Seek guarantees that those jobs stay here and are at area-standard wages,” urged Carl Sanchez of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 104.

Several council members said they hoped developer Basin Street Properties would commit to hiring local. “I hear what’s been said here tonight,” said company chairman Bill White. “We have always prided ourselves on using a lot of local labor, and intend to continue doing that.”

The job data came as part of a city-mandated fiscal and economic impact analysis, or FEIA, which analyzes impacts the 39-acre project will have on the local economy and workforce. The city began requiring such reports several years ago to help guide leaders in approving large projects that had the potential to cannibalize existing businesses.

The city has no requirements on hiring practices for private developments.

Riverfront includes 273 residential units, 90,000 square feet of commercial space, a 120-room hotel and seven acres of open space on vacant land on Hopper Street between the river and Highway 101.

When built out, the project’s restaurants, offices, retail stores, hotel, homes and apartments will add about 520 full-time-equivalent permanent jobs, the report forecasts. Construction would create about 1,950 temporary full-time jobs.

The city sought a “good faith” assurance from Regency Centers, developers of East Washington Place, under construction now, that it would hire local workers.

The results were “not stellar,” said planner Geoff Bradley.

Several council members said they would hold White to his pledge to hire local labor.

Councilwoman Teresa Barrett said she was also pleased to see a hotel in the plans, which will be the most profitable aspect of the project for the city. It could bring in several hundred thousand dollars a year to the city’s general fund from the nightly bed tax.

The FEIA estimates the project will generate more than $600,000 annually in net financial benefits to the city once it’s fully built. A third of that would go to the city’s general fund, which is the primary fund used to pay for city services and employees’ wages.

No specific restaurant or retail tenants are identified, but the report said likely tenants could include service businesses like nail and hair salons, dry cleaners and cafes.

It also includes 100 apartments and 39 townhouses near the front of the property and 134 single-family dwellings situated toward the river at the rear of the parcel. Office space, the hotel and retail uses are near the front, surrounding an oval “central green” in the middle of the property, next to a park with a soccer field.

The report noted that the most impacted existing business would be the Sheraton hotel, which is owned by Basin Street. The Sheraton could see a one-year, 3 percent drop in business during Riverfront’s first year, the report estimated.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com.





6 Responses to “Proposed Petaluma waterfront project to create 2,500 jobs”

  1. JOe says:

    One commenter said it best:

    “Quit feeding us this rhetoric and deception. The only thing that Petaluma needs built is affordable homes. Petaluma’s number one economic need is to get all of its vacant office buildings filled with companies that provide stable and well-paying jobs.”

    REPLACE EVERYONE IN PET CITY GOVT NEXT ELECTION.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  2. JOe says:

    ANOTHER fluff piece by the PD to promote this project… The fact that these are TEMP JOBS is not mentioned, or that most of the labor will come from OTHER than Petaluma or Sonoma County.

    The city sought a “good faith” assurance from Regency Centers, developers of East Washington Place, under construction now, that it would hire local workers.

    SO WHAT DID THE CITY DO?
    LOWER DEVELOPER FEES? WTF?

    This developer “Basin St” left Petaluma when the economy went south… why are they back? They have the city council in their pocket.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  3. BigDogatPlay says:

    $600K to city coffers annually. $200K to the general fund. Both estimates assume full occupancy of the residential component and sales / use tax revenues at full performance. Hoooray!!!!

    But that $200K translates into exactly one police officer and one firefighter. It does not include the equipment that brings them to the scene.

    Great bargain.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  4. bradpipal says:

    Twelve years in “The Great Recession” with a silted river, harbor, channel, and global warming with an intent to build along a flood plain?…Build a HotPlant first and open the river to commerce….And see if people will sail or power back up to Petaluma with its natural waterway….

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  5. Steveguy says:

    134 single family along the river ? I would rather live in the proposed subdivision west of town.

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  6. Elephant says:

    Complete hogwash.

    Petaluma already has two new shopping centers being built. The forecast is that they will cannibalize 80% of their income from existing businesses for 2-3 years and/or until the economy gets a ton better. Nobody knows what the effect they will have to Petaluma. After all, the proponents of both of those projects have downsized the overall sales tax gains from $5 mil per year to less than $2 mil. And remember that the city only gets 10% of that.

    So now we have two new projects that will add 2,500 new jobs blah blah blah. 95% of those jobs are temporary construction jobs period. Most of the rest will be part-time or minimum wage. Sorry, but I’ll pass on all of that.

    Quit feeding us this rhetoric and deception. The only thing that Petaluma needs built is affordable homes. Petaluma’s number one economic need is to get all of its vacant office buildings filled with companies that provide stable and well-paying jobs.

    and feel free to give me a thumbs down if the truth hurts.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 18

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