Plenty of interesting stories in past year
As always, we like to use one of our December columns to look back on the previous year and 2013 was certainly an eventful year in the economic development field.
While development remains below the mid-2000s peak, Fairfield home building continued at a steady pace. And planning for major new development is certainly underway, with initial discussions with landowners in the Train Station Specific Plan Area. Anecdotally, the Community Development Department has received inquiries from developers and investors looking for land and developable lots, both in new and expired residential subdivisions. 2014 should be an interesting year.
Certainly, 2013 also had a variety of interesting stories, including:
- Elimination of Redevelopment continued to unwind during 2013, with the city’s “Successor Agency” planning for the sale of surplus properties.
- Continued strength at the Fairfield Auto Mall. New ownership, strong sales and the arrival of CarMax helped solidify the Fairfield Auto Mall as a strong performer in the local economy. Car sales remained strong and dealerships like Mercedes Benz, Ford of Fairfield and Momentum appear to be finding the sweet spot in the local automobile marketplace.
- Development at the northern end of North Texas Street continued, with a new gas station, a planned McDonald’s and shop space.
- The medical industry was an important story in 2013, with a new pharmacy (Walgreens) and a medical clinic developed on North Texas Street. Other stories in the news included the opening of a trauma care training center in Fairfield Corporate Commons, a NorthBay office building in Green Valley Corporate Park and the move of Solano Eye Specialists to a larger space in Fairfield Gateway.
- Downtown Fairfield welcomed several new restaurants, including Koon Jyung Korean Restaurant, Luigi’s Deli and Choco-Latte Mexican Cafe. In the Solano Town Center mall/Fairfield Gateway, Fuddruckers’ purchased the Blue Frog location (Blue Frog beer is still being made!).
- Fairfield could not avoid national and regional corporate fallout, with the implosion of Fresh Choice, Orchard Supply Hardware and Kmart. These buildings remain vacant. Nonetheless, the property owners are motivated and we expect “news” during 2014 for both locations. Plans are underway to sell the Fresh Choice building to a new development team. Conceptual designs for the reconfiguration of the Kmart space are already under review. We also saw the announced closure of Cost Plus World Markets, one of the original tenants in the Fairfield Gateway. The next year should see some new tenants announced for spaces in the Gateway.
- Several new retailers arrived in Fairfield, with the biggest story being H&M at Solano Town Center mall. Other new local businesses included Bay Area Airstream (travel trailers) on Cordelia Road and Fountain Square Statuary (garden furnishings and art) on Martin Road.
- New industrial development included the opening and leasing of Solano Logistics Center on Cordelia Road. Fairfield industrial space continued to attract food, beverage and packaging companies, with wine bottle and distribution companies taking advantage of affordable space and good freeway access. Staff anticipates that Solano Logistics Center will expand further in the near future on Cordelia Road.
- As for residential development, Fairfield continues to see steady construction of new homes, primarily in northeastern Fairfield’s Goldridge and Paradise Crest subdivisions as well as Cordelia’s Garibaldi Ranch. As of Dec. 23, Fairfield had issued 217 residential building permits citywide.
- Public Works projects were another important story in 2013. Savvy viewers can see utility work associated with the planned I-80/I-680/Highway 12 interchange and the Train Station Specific Plan. Both projects will improve regional mobility, important for economic development.
We at Economic Notes would like to wish our readers a Happy New Year and we look forward to bringing you interesting and informative stories.
Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. Reach them at 428-7461 or email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Miller and Karl Dumas