North Bay commercial real estate developments reshaping the local world of work

E-commerce is changing how warehouses are built and the marketability of North Bay commercial real estate. And among the dozen and a half projects in this report is a big proposed job-focused transit-oriented development on the SMART train line.|

As the following compilation of commercial real estate projects around the North Bay suggests, industrial buildings are a hot item among developers, particularly for distribution and fulfillment related to e-commerce.

But this year's compilation of commercial developments also has a newcomer to the North Bay: sizable transit-oriented development along the expanding Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit line.

Napa Logistics Park

Middleton Way, American

Size: 2.9 million square feet at buildout on 218 acres

Developers: DivcoWest and Orchard Partners


Leasing: Brooks Pedder, Jeff Starkovich and Benjamin Conwell of Cushman & Wakefield

The North Bay's biggest single warehouse project is poised to send more buildings vertical. Site work began recently for over 1 million square feet in two more structures.

When the 362,000- and 702,000-square-foot concrete tilt-up cross-loading buildings are completed, tentatively set for late next year, they will have clear heights of 40 feet.

Taller racking for inventory and faster throughput is calling for upgrades in equipment and layout, such as forklifts with higher reach and sometimes mezzanine decking, according to leasing agent Brooks Pedder in Cushman & Wakefield's Walnut Creek office.

The first building in the project, with 644,000 square feet at 1 Middleton Way, was leased last year to Europe-based home décor retailer Ikea as part of its new focus on e-commerce. An investment group recently purchased the building.

Interstate 80 Logistics Center

2200 Courage Drive,

Size: 380,000 square feet on 19.6 acres

Developers: Ridgeline Property Group and USAA Real Estate


Leasing: Glen Dowling, Chris Neeb and Matt Bracco of Jones Lang LaSalle

Site work started earlier this month at the project site fronting on Highway 12 in Solano Business Park a mile from Interstate 80. Completion is scheduled for summer 2019.

The building is designed with 36-foot clear height (vertical space for racks), 7-inch-thick reinforced concrete slab, cross-dock capability, 69 truck dock-high doors, four drive-in doors, 31 dedicated trailer parking spaces and 192 spaces for automobiles. Column spacing in the class A warehouse is set to be 56 feet by 60 feet, and the “speed bay” for staging loads on trucks is 60 feet deep.

In addition to the higher clear distance that's becoming more common with new warehouses, particularly those marketed to more automated operations, is 4,000 amps of power to be staged at the facility, said Steve Arthur, a Ridgeline principal.

Ridgeline currently has over 8 million square feet of development projects underway nationwide, including new projects in Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Atlanta. USAA Real Estate has been involved in other big Solano properties, including the sale of a 1.02 million-square-foot warehouse in Fairfield in 2016 and the $33 million purchase of 607,000-square-foot Fairfield warehouse in 2011.

Victory Station

22801 Eighth St. E.,

Site: 250,000 square feet on 19.2 acres

Developers: VSP LLC and Washington Capital Management


Leasing: Steven Leonard and Brian Foster of Cushman & Wakefield

En route for more than a decade, the commercial project at the corner of the Eighth Street East wine logistics corridor and Highway 121 pulling up to its destination. Called Victory Station, the 250,000-square-foot concrete-tilt-up warehouse project is set for completion in early November, according to principal Jose McNeill III, a veteran of large North Bay industrial projects. Warehouse clear height is 26 feet.

“As always with a big building, you have to look at how many full-building users you're talking to and how many small tenants, then decide if you are going to stay with a big tenant or break it up,” McNeill said. “We're talking to distribution and wine groups.”

Recent projects by McNeill Real Estate Services include Greenwood Business Park in south Napa and Cader Corporate Center in Petaluma, done with New York Life Real Estate and a Northern California construction trade union fund.

McNeill also assembled investors to purchase a 65,000-square-foot former Next Level Communications office and industrial building in Rohnert Park in September, and the building has become 90 percent full.

Currently, McNeill is negotiating to buy land near Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport that would accommodate several hundred thousand square feet of industrial buildings.

Billa Landing

North Laughlin Road and Copperhill Parkway, Santa Rosa

Size: 380,000 square feet

Developer: Billa Management

Leasing: Dave Peterson and Danny Jones of Keegan & Coppin Co. Inc./Oncor International

Part of the master-planned Westwind Business Park at the entrance to Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport north of Santa Rosa, the Billa Landing project has its first two of five planned buildings coming to completion this fall.

One of those 48,100-square-foot newly finished warehouses is leased to All American Containers of the Pacific Coast. Negotiations are proceeding with several projects for the twin building, according to Dave Peterson.

Napa Commerce Center

Southwest corner of the intersection of highways 29 and 12,

Size: 388,000 square feet on 33.85 acres

Developers: The Pigman Companies and Kraemer Land Company


Leasing: Chris Neeb, Glen Dowling and Matt Bracco of Jones Lang LaSalle

Under construction is the first of six planned industrial and flex buildings, ranging in size from 8,942 to 152,704 square feet.

Sacramento-based developer Kris Pigman secured entitlements for the Greenwood Commerce Center, a 300,000-square-foot Napa project later built by a group assembled by Jose McNeill, and Napa Commerce Center. Pigman later revived the Napa Commerce Center project after the Great Recession.

Station Avenue

6400 State Farm Drive, Rohnert

Developer: Laulima Development

Size: 140,000 square feet of retail space, 130,000 square feet of class A office space, 460 rental homes and 156-room hotel on 32 acres


Leasing: Retail: Paul Ugenti of Laulima Development. Office: Steven Leonard, Niels vonDoepp and Heather Trimble of Cushman & Wakefield.

Rohnert Park city leaders have been dreaming of a downtown district for years, and that vision is poised to become reality with a transit-oriented development (TOD) proposed by San Francisco-based Laulima. The idea is to replace the existing 320,000-square-foot former State Farm Insurance building, vacant since 2011, with striking doorway to the Rohnert Park SMART station.

Generated during construction would be $536 million in economic activity and 3,390 temporary jobs for construction companies and local businesses, according to an economic-impact study by Robert Eyler, Ph.D., of Economic Forensics & Analytics for Laulima.

Once finished, the Station Avenue development is estimated to generate $169.5 million in annual economic activity in and around the property, 1,982 jobs with $75.8 million in a year in wages, and $11.1 million in taxes and fees, with nearly $875,000 of that going to the city, the study said.

Well-done TOD doesn't just build housing at or near transit stations but creates “employment clusters” there, so residents don't have to travel far to get to work, according to David Bouquillo of Laulima.

“The link between employment and transit has not been as much part of the discussion in the North Bay,” he said. “Station Avenue has prioritized employment uses in the development.”

The number of proposed housing units is up from 415 proposed in early summer, when 150 for-sale dwellings were in the mix. Now, the units would be all rentals would increase the city's stock of multifamily housing by 10 percent, according to Eyler study.

Laulima purchased the property last December for $13.5 million and formerly called the project Rohnert Station.

The proposal went before the city Planning Commission on Oct. 25 and is set to be considered by the City Council on Nov. 13. If approved, Laulima plans to start demolition later this year ahead of construction to start in early 2019 and the first occupancies by fall 2020.

Napa Pipe

1025 Kaiser Road,

Size: 154 acres

Developer: Napa Redevelopment Partners


After a dozen years of preparation, the redevelopment of the Napa Pipe Company site began in fall 2017 with site work for a Costco Wholesale store that will anchor the mixed-use project. The Costco is set to open next year.

Up to 945 homes will be built on the property over 10 to 15 years, Also to be built will be a school, parks and commercial space.

E&P Properties

2200 S. Watney Way, Fairfield

Size: 198,000 square feet of warehouse

E&P Properties is led by Dennis Pauley, owner of Benicia-based Metropolitan Van & Storage. E&P has been building warehouses, some to lease to the mover, in Napa and Solano counties for several years.


SOMO Village

Valley House Drive, Rohnert

Developer: SOMO Living (Codding)

Size: 600,000 existing square feet of industrial and office space and 1,450 planned homes plus commercial space on 200 acres


The first phase of home construction is set to begin next year on the former HP and Agilent Technologies campus on the eastern edge of Rohnert Park. The existing buildings already house a few dozen businesses employing roughly 1,500.

Petaluma Riverfront

Developer: Basin Street Properties

NorthBay Logistics Center

Project: 35 acres along the Petaluma River; 120-room hotel, 47,000 square feet of office space and up to 273 housing units (including 134 single-family homes, 39 townhomes and mixed-use apartments)

700 Crocker Drive,

Solano Logistics Center

Devleoper: LDK Ventures

Project: 600,000 planned warehouse to be built next to an existing 840,000-square-foot distribution center


Cordelia Road, Fairfield

Buzz Oates Group of Companies

Developer: Buzz Oates Group of Companies

Size: 38,000-square-foot warehouse under construction

Projects: 120,000-square-foot warehouse completed on Jim Oswald Way, Napa. 300,000-square-foot warehouse planned on Eubanks Drive, Vacaville.

ICC/Stravinski Development

Project: 330,000-square-foot warehouse planned

Airport Business Center

Project: Up to 150,000 square feet of buildings planned

Technology Way, Napa

Developer: Channel Properties

Gateway Road East, Napa

Project: 104,000-square-foot warehouse on Technology Way in Napa Valley Gateway Business Park

Developer: Innova

Airport Business Park

Project: 72,000-square-foot warehouse fronting Highway 29

Developer: Scannell

Project: 90,000-square-foot speculative warehouse planned on Gateway Road East in Napa Valley Gateway Business Park


Interactive Editor Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate.

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