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Novato North Redwood Corridor from the commercial real estate viewpoint

The North Redwood Corridor is a hot topic that has been discussed by the public and the city. Here is what commercial real estate agents have to say.

Photo by Rem O'Donnelley
Photo by Rem O'Donnelley

Commercial real estate brokers speak up about North Redwood Corridor development 


The issue of the North Redwood Corridor continues to generate conversation. The public and city have talked about it for a long time. Questions about what businesses will go up in the vacant land and are far from over. This is the first in a series of articles on the North Redwood Corridor and parties who have an opinion on this hot topic.

Head North on Redwood and once you cross Olive and The Village shopping center with Trader Joe's and Starbucks, the development stops. There is a large field. This field and the shopping center is owned by ROIC, Retail Opportunity Investments Corporation.

Beyond the field are a few properties including the large, corrugated factory building known as the Dairyman's Mill. Over at Cassidy Turley, commercial real estate broker Steven Leonard said these properties are in contract to be bought by ROIC.

“With ROIC buying it (our properties) this adds continuity for the future development of the existing ROIC site and the Dairyman's Mill site, which is what the city wanted to see,” Leonard said.

Over at the commercial real estate company of Sperry Van Ness, managing director John Williams is also the Chair the City of Novato Economic Development Advisory Commission.

With the city having lifted the moratorium on building, “the city is very enthusiastic about the last remaining large parcel of land that can accommodate retail and generate sales tax revenue for the community,” Williams said.

He explained that in September and October the public took advantage of the opportunity to weigh in with their design ideas on developing the North Redwood Corridor area.

“We had two public charrettes (design meetings), one of them for six hours to get public input and we had a follow up that was another three or four hours where volunteer architects and landscape architects drew up sample designs of what could go there,” Williams said.

“The city has to now allow the applicant to come forward with a proposed design for the property with the public input in mind.”


What type of retail businesses would you like to see in the North Redwood Corridor?

Tina McMillan January 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM
The charettes included a member of ROIC who was interested in Plan 1. Rem if you can put the three plans up from the charettes they are posted on the city website. Plan 1 shows lifestyle retail from Trader Joes through Dairymen's. It has a pedestrian friendly design. It ties into the multiuse path that SMART is mandated to add alongside the track. It has a lot of nice features to give folks an idea of what could be done. ========================================== Plan 1 does not include Friedmans on these properties. Friedman's or a store of its size is suggested for the property that is currently the bus yard/water district site. ========================================== For the families that want a Home Improvement Store, Friedman's would provide much of what we lack. It all depends on whether they can relocate the existing uses, if the 11.6 acres is enough space to meet environmental review and if the traffic studies pan out. ========================================== The good news is with the Moratorium lifted they can submit ideas to be vetted by the planning department and commissions. ========================================== Novato is losing more sales tax revenue now that both Petaluma and San Rafael have their own Target stores. We need to get on the ball with a really unique design and stores that can be used by residents and that would be used by people from out of town as well. If they tie the development into the stretch of Redwood from Olive to Grant we can bring more business to Old Town. We have wonderful stores there that just need more foot traffic. Bob Brown talked about providing shuttle service to tie the two districts together. The design will have a lot to do with how people shop.
Gail Wilhelm January 30, 2014 at 05:18 PM
I think one must evaluate what retail NEEDS are going unmet in Novato, Marin & the North Bay. The one I think might make Novato a must go to place is if we capitalized on the fact that our housing stock of homes and condos built during the building boom of the 60's and 70's is aging and are in need of updating and renovation. I suggest that a design center that provides for euro style compact kitchens and bathrooms of smaller, sleeker, and more efficient appliances would be a block buster. As well as multipurpose pieces of furniture. If you have ever rented a flat in London or Paris you know Europe is light years ahead of us in availabilty of these products. But save yourself a trip and look at the internet for tips. An appliance store would be a welcome addition as well.
Tina McMillan January 30, 2014 at 05:24 PM
Gail: While that may be what you want, other may want and need a wider variety of choices. Remember people are already leaving Novato to shop elsewhere. It's not a question of providing a tiny, niche store that caters to people who want to replicate European tastes but adding stores that have the ability to cover a range of tastes and that will allow people to shop locally.
Roger January 30, 2014 at 06:22 PM
Gail: Yes, Novato's retail leakage study showed appliances was a big leakage item. Also, new car sales was another area that Novato was low on. In the last 5 years I bought two new cars...both in Petaluma.
Hopkin January 30, 2014 at 06:30 PM
Roger, have you read our local dealerships' reviews on Yelp? I think Toyota was OK, with the others being bad (if pretty funny).

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