Vallejo sets sail with Nimitz for North Mare Island development

May 17 2018

Daily Republic By Todd R. Hansen

VALLEJO — The City Council this week followed a staff recommendation and voted to enter into an exclusive negotiation with the Nimitz Group to develop 157 acres on the North Mare Island waterfront.

The Nimitz Group was one of eight firms to submit a proposal. One of its founders, Dave Phinney, is the owner of the Savage & Cooke Distillery located on the south end.

“Dave Phinney and (the) Nimitz Group have a plan that is exciting, forward-thinking and high-end,” Mayor Bob Sampayan said in a statement released Wednesday about the council vote the night before.

“This vision is something Vallejo has been clamoring for since North Mare Island opened for development several years ago. Their plan of diversifying the types of businesses they propose are in themselves job producers and revenue generators. I am very excited that the City Council unanimously approved the plan to partner with the Nimitz Group. This is an exciting time for Vallejo,” Sampayan said in the statement.

The other founder is Gaylon Lawrence Jr., who recently purchased Heitz Cellars in Napa County for a reported $180 million. He also owns seven community banks in the mid-South region.

Sabastian Lane, a real estate broker and owner of Depiction Wines, is also part of the Nimitz Group.

Under the Nimitz proposal, 24 acres would be set aside in a conservation easement for open space, and 12 acres for a community park.

Nearly half of the remaining 121 acres – 56 acres – would be dedicated to the SHM/Film Mare Island, according to the proposal released by the city.

However, that commitment could be extended to 75 acres, including a 600,000-square-foot building, according to the statement released after the council vote, which comes just before the start Friday of the firm’s second season of the Netflix series “13 Reason Why.”

Another 15 acres would be used for wine production and sales, with grapes being brought onto the island. Phinney is also the founder of Oren Swift Wine.

In addition to the North Bay Media Campus, the concept includes approximately 75 percent of the 1.2 million-square-foot development for winemakers Joel Gott Wines and Safe Harbor Wine Partners, the city announced.

Two sections of 20 acres apiece are proposed for manufacturing/industrial and for a mixed use of office and retail space, while 10 acres is designated for the first phase of office space development.

The first phase is projected to create 1,500 to 1,600 jobs, with a four-year projection for permitting, infrastructure improvements and construction of the “initial anchor facilities,” the city reported.