New Cal Maritime Anchor Center launched in downtown Vallejo

January 30 2019

Vallejo Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen | | Vallejo Times Herald

January 29, 2019 at 5:02 pm

“It’s going to be hard to park in our downtown, and, as mayor, I really like that.”

The added traffic is just one of the benefits Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan and others say the new California State University Maritime Academy’s Anchor Center will bring to downtown specifically and the City in general.

Sampayan, Cal Maritime president Tom Cropper, Vallejo Police Chief Andrew Bidou, Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan, and a crowded room full of other dignitaries and more, gathered in part at 253-255 Georgia Street to officially launch the new space.

In October 2018, California State University Maritime Academy’s Enterprise Services arm announced it would be leasing a 14,000 square foot space on Georgia Street in downtown Vallejo.

The new Anchor Center will house community educational programming and rental space for outside organizations. It will also be activated to facilitate renovation and renewal of the main campus in the coming years, university officials said.

“This is wonderful,” Hannigan said. “It’s always great when you can bring a university that has been in our midst for 100 years, into the downtown. Vallejo should be proud.”

The Gathering by Chartwells at CSU, offers catering services for events held at the site, which offers several rooms for rents of various sizes on weekdays and weekends at various rates for nonprofits, community, government and commercial organizations. Athletic spaces are also for rent through the university, as are banquet spaces, meeting spaces, classrooms and an auditorium.

“This is an important day for the City of Vallejo, to have this institution, that has such a wonderful reputation nationally, open a location in downtown Vallejo,” former Vallejo mayor Tony Intintoli said.

Vallejo’s reputation does not tend to be that of a college town, though it should be, officials at Tuesday’s event said, and the fact that it is, is part of the message the new Anchor Center intends to send, they said.

Cropper said when he first came to Cal Maritime, he had a talk with then-mayor Osby Davis about what universities do. After much thought, he thinks he’s come up with at least part of the answer.

“Being part of the center of the most diverse city in California,” the new site will, hopefully “be an anchor in downtown Vallejo,” Cropper said.

Calling the new facility proof of a “really exciting partnership” between the city and the school, Sampayan said the center will be a place where students can come, and also a place for community events; “a great collaboration between the city and the University.”

“We are a college town,” he added. “We have the largest maritime academy in the West, right here, and an osteopathic medical school, and a community college. Congratulations President Cropper; this is really an exciting thing for downtown.”

At Tuesday’s event, the university was handed certificates of recognition by Tom Bartee on behalf of State Sen. Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Tim Grayson, and by Mel Orpilla on behalf of Rep. Mike Thompson.

“Downtown is the heartbeat of Vallejo. The congressman’s (and other elected’) offices are here; City Hall; the Chamber of Commerce,” Orpilla said. “Who would have ever thought that this street, once known for its honky-tonks, would one day house a university Anchor Center?”