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Hotel may be part of housing-retail project

Basin Street Properties’ revised ‘Riverfront’ proposal also includes 350 townhomes and apartments with almost 400,000 square feet of retail space

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at 7:08 p.m.

Developer Basin Street Properties has gone back to the drawing board on its proposal for a vacant 40-acre chunk of land along the Petaluma River.

Preliminary plans filed with City Hall show a 108-room “boutique hotel” and 395,000 total square feet of retail spaces — along with 200 apartments and 150 townhomes — on the site at the southeast end of Hopper Street.

The plans, dated Aug. 16, replace a 424-home project Basin Street announced in 2005. A riverside park and “southern crossing” of the river to Petaluma Boulevard South are still shown.

The project, called “Riverfront,” would be accessed by an extension of Caulfield Lane across the railroad tracks and Hopper Street. There would be parking for 2,090 cars, according to the project description, mostly in three parking garages throughout the site.

No formal project application has been filed. A “preliminary review” of the project is expected at the Sept. 27 meeting of the Site Plan and Architectural Review Committee, but the final agenda isn’t set.

The project drawings don’t identify any potential tenants for the hotel or retail spaces. Two stand-alone retail “anchor tenants” of 50,000 and 30,000 square feet each are shown, with the bulk of the remaining retail space on the first floor of multi-story apartment buildings and parking garages.

“The commercial space is comprised of ground-floor, street-oriented space as well as two anchor pads that are to be two-story commercial space,” the project description states.

Outside the hotel, an oval-shaped pedestrian plaza is surrounded by a one-way traffic loop, plans show. The hotel would be a four-story building with three floors above retail space.

The riverbank would be transformed into park space with trails, and a buffer of open space would be created between the site and the former Pomeroy concrete plant to the west, according to the drawings.

A Basin Street representative did not return a call for comment.

Mayor Pamela Torliatt said she hadn’t seen the proposal, but said any development along the lower river will need to help pay for the infrastructure to support it.

“Any proposal that is in that area needs to make sure the infrastructure is in place, and that includes the southern crossing if the city decides to go in that direction,” she said. “And we need to make sure that East D Street isn’t overwhelmed with traffic.”

Basin Street’s previous proposal for the site had a rocky journey at City Hall, with planners and the company disagreeing whether the project application was complete. It had been reviewed by SPARC several times but never got to the City Council.

The company also had to await the outcome of a California Public Utilities Commission decision on whether the city would be allowed to “swap” the current Hopper Street crossing of the railroad tracks at Lakeville Street for the new Caulfield crossing.

With freight train service expected to start as soon as 2008, the state said the city could not build another track crossing without closing the existing one at Hopper.

Officials agreed to that plan, so businesses and city operations located on Hopper Street will use Caulfield for access once that road is extended.

(Contact Corey Young at corey.young@arguscourier.com)

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