State economic development chief to visit Mare Island

July 23 2019

Daily Republic 7/23/19

By Todd R. Hansen

VALLEJO — Apparently, the state sees an economic opportunity in Vallejo.

The director of Go-Biz, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, is visiting the Factory_OS facility on Mare Island on Tuesday, a prelude to an anticipated visit by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the fall.

Lenny Mendonca will tour the Factory_OS facility, which is adding 100,000 square feet to its existing 260,000 square feet of manufacturing space in the iconic shipyard Building 680. The new area is dedicated to building emergency modular housing for areas hit by natural disasters.

The company hired its 225th employee this past week, said Slater Matzke, an economic development adviser to Vallejo.

Mare Island is designated as one of six Opportunity Zones in Vallejo – a program created by Congress as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – that brings private, long-term investment to low-income communities across the country.

It allows investors to “reinvest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds,” material on the program states.

City officials have said they believe the economic development on Mare Island will eventually lead to similar economic growth in the downtown area and along the waterfront.

The expansion of Costco in the Cook-Fairview site is another catalyst for the city. Costco is the city’s top sales tax generator,

Yet another piece of that “big picture,” City Manager Greg Nyhoff said, is the county’s Solano360 project at the fairgrounds.

The whole focus is on creating jobs for the unemployed, but also so some of the 20,000 city residents who leave Vallejo each day to go to work can find employment closer to home.

Look for an expanded feature this weekend in the Daily Republic.