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Working with the community to bring a Downtown back to life...

In the late 1990's city officials in Vallejo, California were struggling with the 1996 closure of the Mare Island Shipyard. The city of 120,000 had been tied to the Navy for over 140 years and the closure of the base was taking a heavy toll on the vibrancy of the downtown.

At roughly the same time, Triad was in the midst of rescuing Vallejo's Hiddenbrooke Planned Community from certain default. Impressed by Triad's work at Hiddenbrooke, the City of Vallejo asked Triad to help plan and execute a revitalization of the downtown.

Triad has been a leader of in-fill development in the Puget Sound region, so we recognized the advantages that Vallejo possessed in location and transit connections. We were excited by the prospect of creating new housing that could take advantage of the City's investment in its high-speed ferry system and help lift a long neglected area of the community. In October 2003, Triad and the City signed a Memorandum of Understanding that outlined the terms of the public/private partnership that will transform this long overlooked gem of the Bay Area.

In the years since the signing of the MOU, Triad has spent millions of dollars and thousands of man hours developing a plan to bring the downtown back to life. We knew that it would take more than simply constructing a few buildings. We knew that it would be a long process - and that we would need to enlist the support and good ideas of the local community. Only through a collaborative process in which every member of the community has the opportunity to lend a hand in planning the changes to their city would those changes actually produce results. We formed the Vallejo Downtown Advisory Group with representatives from 13 local organizations and many neighborhoods throughout Vallejo. Public meetings were held monthly at which time we updated the public on our progress - and we gave everyone the chance to make suggestions to incorporate into the overall plan.

With help from the citizens of Vallejo we were able to ensure that the Specific Plan and E.I.R. process went smoothly and produced a road map which enjoys widespread support. Final certification of the plan was unanimously approved by the City Council in September, 2005. In 2006, Triad's Vallejo initiative won a California state-wide award for Best Specific Plan granted by the American Planning Association.

Triad will be the master developer of 1,000 residential units in the 16-block Specific Plan area with a healthy mix of ground level storefront retail. Our agreement with the City calls for Triad to purchase approximately eight acres of land within the downtown from the city to accommodate the development. While we will be dramatically increasing the number of people and activity within the downtown, we also wanted to ensure that we were creating an environment that enhances and reinvigorates the existing downtown buildings and businesses. To support the existing downtown property owners we've crafted a city-funded package through tax increment financing generated as the result of increased property tax values due to Triad's work. This package will include streetscape improvements and business development programs with the goal of creating a pedestrian friendly environment while ensuring that those pedestrians have ample reason to want to be in the downtown.

Our first building is scheduled to break ground in Spring 2007 and will feature 158 condominium homes, 123 subterranean parking spaces, and 11,000 square feet of restaurant and service retail. Over 9% of the homes will be offered at affordable prices to those who meet certain moderate income qualifications. The building is being built utilizing the latest in sustainable technologies and is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. We are very proud of the unique design of the building that pays great respect to the historic fabric of the existing downtown buildings. Rather than a monolithic block of housing, our Virginia Street building features dramatic setbacks and articulation so that it appears to be eight separate buildings that have been built over time. While the design was considerably more expensive to construct than the typical condominium design, we feel this building will make a statement as to our commitment - and in a broader sense a statement on behalf of the entire community - to the bright future that we look forward to in Vallejo.

Even before a Development Agreement was negotiated, Triad displayed its commitment to Vallejo by undertaking the renovation of the Empress Theatre. This 90-year-old Beaux Arts gem had been shuttered for nearly a decade and was showing neglect. In a unique partnership with the City, Triad purchased the theater and agreed to commit the resources needed to act as project manager. Under our guidance, the Empress is being brought back to life as a 500-seat performing arts center and the centerpiece of an arts district and cultural revival within the downtown. Construction is well underway and upon completion, Triad will donate the almost $6 million restored historic Empress Theatre to the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation for $1 and the assumption of debt of $4 million for a net contribution of almost $2 million.

• 16 square blocks / 8 acres of surface parking lots
• 1,000 residential units, 200,000 square feet retail
• 7 buildings phased over 10 years
• 10% of units meet or exceed affordability requirements
• All new construction will be LEED Certified
• Enhanced transit connections through ferry and buses
• Restoration of a 500-seat performing arts center
• $20 million Tax Increment Financing package contributed by the city
• Pedestrian-friendly with calmed traffic and a strong commitment to preserving "place"

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