It is heating up, here in Vallejo. Yesterday was warm enough for me to quit work early. I remember my parents telling me this story about when they were newlyweds. After my father returned from Korea, a battalion aid medic, he was transferred to an Army base in Texas. He and my mother lived off base in a small house with one bedroom and no insulation. Now here is where I think the laws of physics come in handy. On hot nights, too many to count in Texas, they would set up a fan at the end of the bed, take their top sheet and soak it in cold water, then lay back with the wet sheet on top of them. When the sheet dried out, they would get up and repeat the process. Pretty smart right? A few years ago I installed insulation and a whole house air conditioner. I just could not take the 100 degree days anymore. For years I had this great notion that I would remodel my house, add on to the back, put in a new kitchen and an extra bath. Building and developing a better property is fun to think about but it needs more work and money than I care to invest.
Speaking of building and developing, I sat in last night to a presentation held by The Nimitz Group and HOK (a master planner,) at the Coal Sheds on Mare Island and things are really starting to heat up. The speakers were earnest, professional, informed and occasionally ‘Dad Joke’ funny. For those of you not in the know, The Nimitz Group is in talks with Lennar Mare Island to take over their holdings on the island. It is all very hush, hush and we were not allowed any details as the deal is not, as they say, a done one. After the informational portion of the talk the Q & A session took place. There were questions about the lack of diversity in the room and in the photos of the planning staff, of HOK, and how the process might include the rich diversity which is Vallejo. Thanks Don, good question. Another question as to the total number of acres that might be developed was asked. More on risk assessment and CFD’s and then came the one that got my attention. Where was the money coming from and will it last through another downturn?
It turns out that Mare Island is as unique a waterfront as any in the world. The total number of acres available, willingness of the City to participate, and of course, it is an Economic Opportunity Zone. An Opportunity Zone is a recent designation in the tax code which incentivizes investment of capital gains into distressed communities. Vallejo has 6 Opportunity Zones, including Mare Island. So the answer to the question is: Maybe it will last. If capital gains drop then so will potential investment. So keep praying that the tariff war does not impact stock market gains.
A thought came to me over night with which I have some concern. I believe that the Nimitz Group and their team members are skilled and dynamic enough to attract investment into this project. I believe that Mare Island can once again help lift the economy of Vallejo and become an interesting place to visit all at the same time. My concern lies with the East side of the Causeway, in the town called Vallejo. What will happen there/here? There was some talk that developing one without the other does not make sense but at this point I am not sold. I do see development happening on the island but not so much, right away, in downtown and beyond. If I were a developer, I would keep a close eye on the Nimitz Group and follow their progress. I would keep in mind the recent Orcem battle and be cautious before coming to Vallejo. I would wait until a good portion of Mare Island is built out before looking at opportunities east of the river, or maybe just act as a sub developer under the Nimitz Group. So in my opinion, as of right now, all of our eggs lie in this one basket called Mare Island. My fingers are crossed and I planned to stay engaged, as I hope all of you do as well. The potential growth on the island can either be a boon or a bust and I am sure that it will affect the rest of the development potential in Vallejo.
In other island news I did just try out Bangkok Island Thai at 153 Plaza Drive, across from Chevy’s. In a previous life it was Cha Am and they have been closed for some time now. Tuesday was hot and I was tired so I GrubHubbed an order of Pad Thai, Yellow Curry and Fish Cakes. Yummers. The fish cakes were firm and delicious, especially with their sweet vinegar dressing. The Yellow Curry divine and the Pad Thai, well, I have not leftovers. I am glad to have another great Thai place in town to go to for good food. I wish the new owners luck.
Until next time,
Eat Well and Smile Often