Home improvement store set to open doors next month

Almost two years after the Petaluma City Council approved the Deer Creek Village shopping center, the plaza's anchor store, Friedman's Home Improvement, will open its doors in April.

Friedman's, which also has stores in Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Ukiah, first planted its roots in Petaluma in 1946. Contractors, farmers, ranchers and home owners will soon be able to find a variety of home improvement and professional supplies along North McDowell Boulevard.

"We're excited to return to our roots in Petaluma," said David Proctor, Friedman's chief financial officer. "Being established in Petaluma and finally getting back there is truly a company objective that Bill Friedman, in particular, feels is meaningful to the memory of his father and the future of the family."

Thanks to continually good weather, the Friedman's complex will be completed no later than the end of March and is set to open in mid to late April, according to Greg Geertsen, managing director of Merlone Geier, the center's developer.

Friedman's Petaluma location totals 85,000-square-feet, with a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse and a 35,000-square-foot dry shed. Each aspect of the complex features a unique design – from "living" walls displaying a mosaic of perennial plants to murals depicting the Sonoma County landscape.

"Friedman's has been a great tenant partner for us," Geertsen said. "We spent a lot of time working together to make this happen. They're very community oriented, so the design of the building reflects Petaluma and Sonoma County."

Proctor said Friedman's is in the process of hiring almost 100 positions for its Petaluma store. They've received hundreds of applications and have started training the 40 or so employees who have already signed on.

While Merlone Geier is currently in the midst of signing three new leases for the shopping center, the only other confirmed tenants are Togo's, Habit Burger, Mary's Pizza Shack and City Sports Club — the latter of which is expected to begin construction early this month.

Geertsen said the buildings that will house Togo's and Habit Burger are already under construction, and the foundation work for Mary's Pizza is currently underway.

"We created a lot of smaller buildings, because we believe that there's a need for more local and semi-regional businesses," Geertsen said. "They want an identity — not to get lost in a strip center."

Patrons of the center can expect an open, pedestrian-friendly environment, complete with ample outdoor seating, a dog park and paths for walkers and bikers. Geertsen said the design for the three confirmed restaurants will include decorative plazas for outdoor dining.

Beyond the shopping center, Geertsen confirmed that neighborhood fencing has been completed, and the traffic light on McDowell Boulevard that will usher drivers into the center will go live close to the end of the month, just before Friedman's opens.

Once the operation fully leased, Deer Creek Village is projected to generate about $407,000 in annual sales tax revenue, according to a city environmental impact report.

Economic Development Director Ingrid Alverde said in an email that while the center is estimated to generate less than the Target-anchored center, which brought in about $200,00 in its first six months of operation, it will still provide an important infusion of sales tax for the city.

The proceeds will go into the city's general fund and would be available to fund various city services.