Former Vallejo mill's new owners moving forward with industrial plans
Posted in the Vallejo Forum
#1 Jan 29, 2013
Former Vallejo mill's new owners moving forward with industrial plans
Anticipating hundreds of jobs and increased revenue to the city, not to mention for themselves, the partnership planning to develop Vallejo's former General Mills plant hope to see things take shape within 18 months, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Vallejo Marine Terminal, LLC, comprised of former Pinole city manager Mark Grisham of Grisham and Associates and two Bay Area partners, plan to create an international shipment center at the 790 Derr St. site, Grisham said Wednesday.
The group searched the Bay Area for an appropriate location and bought the Vallejo waterfront property in October, Grisham said, adding that they plan to apply for a city permit within a month. In July, the Vallejo City Council agreed to extend an existing ground lease for its portion of the property. This is where the company will build a sheet metal bulkhead as the centerpiece of its transshipping terminal, Grisham said. The material dredged from one side of the dock to allow large ships in, will help create land extending to the new dock from the other side, he said.
Grisham and his Vallejo Marine Terminal partners plan to integrate rail, truck and ship/barge transportation for moving products like lumber, grain and steal, he said.
Entities from "China, Japan, Canada and Mexico," have expressed interest in using what Grisham and his partners envision as "a transportation terminal to bring cargo into the U.S. and ship product from the U.S. primarily to the Asian market," he said.
Plans include rehabilitating and leasing a 44,000 square-foot warehouse, a circa 1917 administration building for office space and a 1917 garage for storage. The fate of the largest building is not yet known. There are seismic issues with it and copper thieves have stolen most of the wiring in all the buildings, though arrangements are being made with PG&E to restore power, Grisham said.
Besides the city and property taxes the site will generate, Grisham said negotiations are under way for a "green" European manufacturing company to possibly operate there. There also will be jobs with California Northern Railroad, which serves that part of Vallejo.
Economic Development Director Ursula Luna-Reynosa said in a city staff report that Grisham's plan could increase city revenue by at least $40,000 annually, and subleases with other companies could result in some $265,000 added tax revenue.
Grisham said he hopes his plans for the site have a better shot at success than previous ones.
In 2008, a firm called Cherokee Brooks Street Vallejo, LLC, envisioned a mixed use project -- with a restaurant, waterfront park and hundreds of housing units -- for the 135-year-old former mill that let its last workers go in November 2004. Brooks Street bought the 38-acre plant off Lemon Street in 2006, but lost it to foreclosure just before Grisham said he and his partners bought it for cash "for an extremely good price," that he declined to disclose.
Once among the state's largest mills, its 250 employees reportedly produced 800,000 pounds of flour daily during its 1950s heyday. According to historical records, the site was founded in 1869 as Starr Mills, then was bought by the Sperry Flour Company in 1910 and by General Mills in 1929. The current mill was built in 1919.
Grisham said his next step is to build a website to keep those interested updated on the project's progress.
#2 Jan 29, 2013
i'm betting my left nut that the sandy beach crowd will pitch a bich, file lawsuits, etc. to keep their idyllic lives from being disrupted by the noise, traffic, whatever. and they will have the support of the present anti-industrial majority. my advice is to not commit too much until after the november elections.
#3 Jan 29, 2013
Smells like another fraud perpetrated on the taxpayers; our crooked city council will try and float bonds or loans, subsidized by OUR taxes and in the end nothing will happen except Vallejo's citizens will once again be left holding tha bag. We'll watch what happens but it's very doubtful anything will; environmental clean-up alone is enough to kill this plan as the entire waterfront is heavily contaminated. The Port of Oakland is barely holding on and they have the best facilities on north of LA.
#4 Jan 29, 2013
if they are talking rail service here, the commoonity will pitch more bichs about the railroad crossings, trains blocking main arteries, etc. these people will have to hold community meetings to address all the concerns, and there will be a boatload. this will go nowhere with a possible vib majority council again after november.
#5 Jan 29, 2013
Hell yeah build it!
#6 Jan 29, 2013
I believe it will be a "GO" after all, that portion of the rail line will not disturb the Historic District residents. Well, a little bit historic just not major historic, know what I am sayin'?
Sarcasm aside, Vallejo Marine Terminal, LLC, has a very viable plan and as it appears the money to actually pull it off. This tells me what I always believed to be true, that if there is the prospect to make a profit from an endeavor the private sector will invest in it. There always will be monies, good economy or bad, because those having spare change are willing to invest to make more. This is why I could be considered a poor sap, holding on tight to what I have after all "you can’t take it with you”……
I had to chuckle about the comments made by the above poster which btw. are entirely true.
When it came to talks about resurrecting rail, no matter in what form, industrial or people moving, the opinion that this particular mode of transport is outdated, disturbing the flow of traffic (what traffic, the one from two cars that meet at a 4 way stop and neither one goes because they can not determine who should go first??),the noise etc. was voiced more often than not.
This opinion seems short sided as most industrial nations use rail as a constant source of moving goods and people and invest heavily in it (as well as continually work on its preservation and up keep).
Looking forward to hear more opinions and news about plans by VMT LLC.
#7 Jan 29, 2013
What are the odds that the materials being shipped to the site will be garbage.
#8 Jan 29, 2013
rail is still the cheapest mode of transportation. but there will be the usual nimbys crying about some aspect of the terminal plan.
#9 Jan 29, 2013
Remember Bophol India,people being poisoned from cynaide put into streams etc. I dont know whether this is a good plan or not. Just
dont be naive and assume there are no risks to the community.
#10 Jan 29, 2013
lol, here we go!
#11 Jan 29, 2013
I walked down there one time and saw a couple strange bugs and also I think I stumbled on an old indian bone; There ya go; Project cancled.
#12 Jan 29, 2013
Yes I do remember Bhopal and the unfortunate gas release accident, however Union Carbide/Dow Chemical is not planning to start a pesticide plant at the Flour Mill, not going to happen!
I more or less see a Freight Forwarding business being conducted, what that really means is in the future.
I am not assuming anything, just surprised that the so far sketchy business plan of Vallejo Marine Terminal, LLC is awfully similar to the MIRS plan, the one that was not presented very well and subsequently bit the dust. Both had rail service as an integral component, the difference was/is that the freight trains carrying cargo would be traveling through vastly different neighborhoods.
While one suffered an almost immediate death, the other one seems to be going full steam ahead. Odd, even for Vallejo!
#13 Jan 30, 2013
A garbage transfer terminal would be a good use for this facility. The rail line connects to Napa junction where Solano and Napa county garbage is collected and shipped North by rail. I hope the elected officials in Vallejo are sharp enough business people to strike a lucrative deal for the tax payers here. SF will pay us a premium for the use of this facility. lets take their money and Washington State can have their garbage.
#15 Jan 30, 2013
what about the smells, and noise?
#16 Jan 30, 2013
Smell? Who knows? Probably won't. Why would it be noisier now than when the mill was open.
#17 Jan 30, 2013
Although I did live here before the Mill was closed, I never did feel any impact from the operation. Did the Mill have a whistle to announce shift changes or other tasks i.e. C&H, etc.?
I am certain there were issues for those living in the vicinity of the plant and it would be interesting to hear from those that actually can speak to that.
How an activity such as JiSF describes could and will affect air and noise levels and regular quality of life issues for the immediate area, etc. is ultimately up to the authorities to control as they are tasked to deal with those matters.
I realize that Vallejo has not had to live with regular "through" train traffic, but it also should be taken into account that low speed moving trains at certain times of the night will impact residents whose properties abutt the tracks. Until we have hover trains there is no doubt in my mind that noise will be an issue!
Living at the west side of Glen Cove and shielded by hilly terrain (so I thought) I am fully aware of train traffic passing on the other side of the Carquinez Strait. Looking west and with partial views of the mid/northern part of the City of Vallejo I also can hear I-80 noise, from the Toll Plaza to the Redwood Street overpass, during specific times and weather related.
It is not a daily occurance but when the prevailing winds are just right I can swear that a train along with the lonesome whistle is passing yards from my residence, especially during the night.
But unless we were a bucolic little Burg somewhere in the hinterland with wealthy landowners footing the bill for infra structure, public safety and so on, we have to realize that in order to have commerce that will provide jobs and revenue a beginning has to be made somewhere.
Laws that will protect us from hazardous enterprises are in place, so I have to rely on individuals to enforce them without favoritism and in the open.....and that will ultimately be the challenge!
#18 Jan 30, 2013
when mare island was open and the mill was still operating, trains were a regular feature traveling through town. the trains coming and going on to m.i. sometimes had nuke cargo. can you imagine the howls of protest had people known that?! the trains to and from the mill would screw up traffic at several crossings, but we lived through the prosperity of it all. now we have little to be proud of, name one thing.
#19 Jan 30, 2013
Agree. But.... we can do two things:
#1 Howl!...and accomplish nothing, business goes away!
#2 Provide jobs for those willing to work!
After all, not everyone living in Vallejo is retired, although at times it appears that everyone is independently wealthy...and not working!
Is it not disturbing to the majority of those that do work that they have to leave their own community to other places in the Bay Area so they can make a living?
Where do those opposed to commerce ....(insert objectionable activities) believe people should work if not in their own community? How much money do we lose on a daily basis by not having the ability to employ residents locally and in businesses not connected to government of any kind? The only job market thriving locally is employment by City, State or Federal entities.
When I was still employed, my dollars were spent on my way home, never in Vallejo and how many did and are doing the same to this day? The only highlight of Vallejo living was that my home and property was acquired at a much more reasonable price!
As long as opportunities for businesses exist to locate in communities that are not objecting to their activities perceived as dirty, noisy, not worthy of the over educated, etc. those businesses will not settle here.
Vallejo always was an industrial town; actually we owe our existence to heavy duty industrial....and working hard is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of even by today's standards that makes heroes of pencil pushers and celebrities that fleece the public with their type of entertainment!
Like I said, those tasked to ensure compliance of the laws will determine if a business can locate where it wishes to go and if the intended activity is appropriate.
If public opinion about the validity of a project overtakes balanced reason we will continue to send our residents to places other than Vallejo to ply their trade.
#20 Jan 30, 2013
I dont mean to insult you but your attitude is what is hurting Vallejo.The "howls" are jusified. If you like pollution move near the refineries or open pit uranium mines.
The good old days are gone. Instead of pinning for them help get hi tech jobs to come here instead of more fast food places or industries that pollute the envirnoment.
#21 Jan 30, 2013
<sigh> here we go again with high tech jobs will attract educated, more intelligent residents?(less blacks) is that your pitch? our demographics now are best suited for low end jobs and industries. take your blinders off and see the vallejo everyone else does. we own this diversity and all that comes with it now. all YOU have to do is move to the city with all the things you desire because you will never have it in this town, not now, not ever, it's too far gone in the wrong direction.
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