Article originally published on North Bay Business Journal. To read the full article click here.
Construction has started on the long-awaited Lagoon Valley housing and commercial development at the southwest corner of Vacaville. And while the hot housing market can’t get the 1,015 planned homes fast enough, the approved “business village” in the master plan might be farther off, as the pandemic has changed a number of companies’ plans for their workplaces.
The city of Vacaville has been waiting for the Lagoon Valley project to come to life for quite a while.
“It’s finally happening after about 25 years,” said Vacaville City Manager Aaron Busch.
The city recruited Seattle-based Triad to acquire the project out of bankruptcy 20 years ago. Originally conceived as a large, mostly commercial project, Triad took an approach that at the time wasn’t common for such a sizable project.
“We felt it was important to keep jobs and housing in balance in the valley,” said Curt Johansen, who oversees Triad’s California projects. “We thought we would accomplish that with a 700,000-square-foot business village. With COVID, that has turned upside down how companies operate with conventional office space.”
The project now includes five phases of residential development, building about 200 units a year in 14 distinctly designed neighborhoods.
“We’ve learned over the years in doing communities that are more sustainable is to not go too fast in building,” Johansen said.
What Vacaville officials are eager to see coming with the project is something that the city has been lacking, particularly for the high-paying jobs that have been coming with existing biotechnology and advanced manufacturing companies such as Genentech but also ones that Vacaville is actively recruiting, Busch said.
“It’s attractive to the business community because it will have estate lots and workforce housing,” Busch said. “Executive housing is something Vacaville does not have a lot of.”
These larger homes would be in a gated community intermingled with a golf course, which would be an expansion on the existing links course in the valley. The development agreement with the city includes starting work on the golf course and club house after 500 to 600 homes are built. After about 400 to 500 homes are built, the 50,000 square feet of retail space would be started.
Construction of the homes is set to start late this year, with the first homes reaching the market in spring 2023. The retail space is envisioned to get underway in mid-2024.
Triad has ramped up the sustainability aspect of the housing, planning for built in greywater recycling systems that would provide residents with up to 200 gallons of irrigation water a day. And part of the requirements for homebuyers in the development will be on environmental sensitivity, intended to help the land trusts and similar groups that take over the open space areas, amounting to 75% of the specific plan area, with long-term management, Johansen said.
Crews in the fall started grading and installing water and wastewater infrastructure at the sprawling site east of the Lagoon Valley Road offramp from Interstate 80 and south of Lagoon Valley Park. The cost estimate for the infrastructure work alone, which includes raising the areas where homes and commercial buildings would be constructed by 2 to 10 feet to get them out of the flood plain, is $200 million.
The total cost of the project wasn’t disclosed. Similar North Bay projects in scale and vision are Napa Pipe in Napa and Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, and those price tags were estimated years ago to be well over $1 billion at full buildout.
Ghilotti Construction of Santa Rosa is overseeing the grading and infrastructure work. General contractors for the residential and commercial portions of the project haven’t yet been selected, but among those being considered is Swinerton, a company Triad has worked with on previous projects, Johansen said.