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Petaluma’s southern gateway gets a makeover


A flurry of construction is underway in Petaluma’s southern gateway, paving the way for significant cache of residential units that will boost increasingly scarce housing stock and two new hotels expected to draw more business to the city.

The four projects along Lakeville Highway will eventually amount to more than 500 single family homes, townhomes and apartments, as well as nearly 200 hotel rooms, according to data from the city’s planning department. Though the addition of those for-sale and rental residences won’t solve the mounting housing crisis, it will provide more market-rate inventory in the city that in April had a 2.68 percent vacancy rate in its major apartment complexes.

The projects will include 23 units of designated affordable housing while also funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into the city’s own affordable housing fund paid into by developers who opt to pay a fee rather than build units, according to Housing Coordinator Sue Castellucci.

“It’s not going to meet the demand for affordable family housing needed in Petaluma, but it’s certainly a start,” Castellucci said.

At the largest of the infill projects, the Riverfront development on a 35-acre vacant lot at 500 Hopper St., work is in progress for the first phase of infrastructure improvements, including portions of roadways and landscaping, according to Paul Andronico, a representative for developer Basin Street Properties. That work is expected to wrap up in the fall, though there is not yet a time frame for the other elements of the development, which will eventually feature a 122-room Marriott hotel, office space and up to 273 housing units including 134 single-family homes, 39 townhomes and mixed-use apartments. It will also include 7.5 acres of open space, and will set aside land for a future boathouse and a bridge across the Petaluma River.

El Segundo-based developer Comstock Homes will construct the single-family residences, with an application for the first 19 homes approved by the city’s planning commission Tuesday. Homes will be constructed in phases, with sale prices beginning in the $600,000 range, according to the developer’s website. Representatives for Comstock Homes, which has also constructed Healdsburg’s Sorrento Square, did not respond to requests for more information.

City officials in March signed off on plans for the roughly 74,000-square-foot Marriott Hotel at the development, which is set to feature an outdoor swimming pool and spa, 206 parking spaces and additional bicycle parking. The Marriott would also include a bistro and bar, an outdoor dining area, meeting rooms, public bathrooms and a fitness center, according staff reports.

“At this stage, we’re thrilled that (the hotel) is approved and we’re working toward a construction time line,” Andronico said.

Basin Street properties is also developing the nearby Marina Apartments, where crews are beginning work at the site of the 90-unit complex of rental apartments, Andronico said. Construction is expected to wrap up by late 2018, he said.

The Marina Apartments, which will be located on an unpaved triangular lot at 0 Marina Ave., will feature a mix of studio to three bedroom apartments and associated parking, according to project plans.

On the opposite side of Lakeville Highway, construction is also underway at the Altura Apartments off Baywood Drive, a 150-unit complex developed by The Reliant Group. The San Francisco-based entity also serves as a co-general partner in the low income housing tax credit partnership that purchased and revamped the Copeland Creek senior apartments in Rohnert Park.

The Altura Apartments, located on the northeast corner of Baywood Drive and Perry Lane will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, with 23 units set aside as affordable. It will also feature associated parking, a pool, community garden and tot lot, according to the plans.

Representatives from the company did not return calls for comment.

About a mile north on Lakeville Street, Petaluma’s iconic Silk Mill building is being transformed into a 75-room Hampton Inn set to open in October, according to Perry Patel, a partner at Palo Alto-based BPR Properties. The stately brick building was constructed in 1892 and granted national historic landmark status in 1986. It was most recently home to the Sunset Line and Twine company, which closed in 2007.

Patel said the hotel will incorporate elements of the building’s storied history while also mixing in signature elements of the Hampton Inns’ brand.

“We’re balancing modern day amenities in an old historical building,” Patel said. “Our goal is to provide those without ever compromising how this building speaks to us from a design perspective.”

The hotel will feature a beer and wine service in what was once the dye house, which will also serve as space for complimentary breakfast.

Nearby on Petaluma Boulevard South, a 272 home project by KB Homes is wrapping up, with houses listed on the developer’s website for prices ranging from $588,957 to $682,079. A project to add 100 multi-family units to the existing Addison Ranch Apartments at 200 Greenbriar Circle is also underway, according to the city’s website.

The city also received a complete site plan for a 199-unit development at 360 Corona Road from Concord-based DeNova Homes, an item that the planning commission could consider as soon as next month, according to a city report. Public meetings have also been held to gather feedback on a 174-unit project at a vacant lot near a downtown transit hub proposed by San Diego-based developer Pacifica Companies. Those two projects would include more than 70 affordable units, Castellucci said.

Also in the pipeline are the North River Apartments, a 184-unit development on Petaluma Boulevard North proposed by Stockton’s AG Spanos Corp, an application that could come to the planning commission later this month, according to city reports.