‘Dorsey Marketplace’ formal application submitted to Grass Valley | TheUnion.com
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‘Dorsey Marketplace’ formal application submitted to Grass Valley

A formal application for the "Dorsey Marketplace" project has been submitted to the City of Grass Valley by property owner Russell Jeter.
Submitted illustration |

Q&A with Russell Jeter

Q: How do you feel the development will affect already established local small businesses?

A: The city’s review process will include an independently prepared economic and retail sales study, funded by the applicant. The scope of study will be developed and the study undertaken as the review process proceeds. The study can look at issues like expected sales leakage capture, sales and property tax revenues and the potential impacts and benefits to existing business.

Job creation, payroll generation and the multiplier effect of increased local spending can also be studied. Downtown is the heart of the Grass Valley community for so many reasons.

Downtown is Grass Valley’s historical foundation, it has a wonderful mix of food, art, entertainment, specialty retail and much more. We believe study will show the Dorsey Marketplace will have a positive effect on the retail shops in downtown. The vast majority of the retail in downtown does not compete with the regional and national retailers to be included in the Dorsey Marketplace.

We see the largest competitor to Grass Valley’s downtown retail shops to be the Galleria Mall in Roseville. Both offer specialty items that are not seen in mixed retail centers such as the one we are proposing. The more people we can keep shopping in Grass Valley rather than Roseville, the better off the shops in downtown Grass Valley will be.

It’s currently estimated $75 to $100 million in annual taxable sales would be generated, funding critical, citywide public services. An estimated 400 to 450 jobs could be generated locally, resulting in increased local spending at existing businesses. The Dorsey Marketplace will provide opportunity for local businesses to expand into. The lack of suitable and available commercial space has resulted in high lease costs and low vacancy rates. This restricts existing businesses from expanding and new businesses from opening.

Q: Are you in discussion or contemplating the use of local tenants and businesses in the marketplace?

A: Yes, we have been working with popular, local businesses looking to expand and grow in Grass Valley. We are working to provide a mix of smaller sized businesses vs. a “membership warehouse retail” store, which is a “Permitted” use under the existing zoning.

The Dorsey Marketplace will provide opportunity for local businesses to expand into. The lack of suitable and available commercial space has resulted in high lease costs and low vacancy rates. This restricts existing businesses from expanding and new businesses from opening.

At this early stage we start by speaking with potential anchor tenants. In this case we are in discussions with two local tenants that we believe will help make this the finest shopping in the region.

Q: Will you be reaching out to local economic development groups for feedback on this development?

A: Yes, we have been and will continue to do so. We have had discussions with the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada County Economic Resource Council and expect they will be very involved as we move forward. We will engage the Grass Valley Downtown Association and their members to listen discuss and provide feedback as our project evolves.

Q: When plans of the development first surfaced in the community there were concerns the development would “Roseville,” Grass Valley. What was your reaction to that? Are they valid concerns?

A: I see two fundamental “Roseville” issues, one being design and the other being economics.

The City’s own commissioned retail market study shows $220,000,000 in sales opportunity leaving Grass Valley each year, mostly to Roseville. With that “down the hill” spending goes Grass Valley’s jobs, sales and property taxes. The reality is existing demand and spending is supporting and helping fund Roseville’s public services, parks and roads, not Grass Valley’s. In a true economic sense Grass Valley is supporting Roseville.

Those millions of Roseville-bound dollars are desperately needed in Grass Valley. The growing loss of local sales and tax revenue “down the hill” is a key reason recently cited by the City Council for the multimillion dollar budget deficit now facing Grass Valley.

Spending locally has many economic, environmental and community benefits. Commuting to work and shop is hard on the environment. The $220 million in sales opportunity leaving Grass Valley each year results in increased vehicle trips, increased environmental impacts and loss of time.

We are sensitive to and understand the need for a quality-designed project that respects Grass Valley. The proposed design is pedestrian, people orientated with plazas, seating areas and extensive landscaping. It includes water features, fire pit gathering area, tables, benches and outdoor eating and rest areas.

As the public process evolves we ask for and welcome the community’s ideas and suggestions on project design and amenities. In order to ensure this project is reflective of Grass Valley we have engaged local professionals for the engineering, building, landscape and project design.

Opposition to Roseville style sprawl is understandable. Infill and redevelopment opportunities need to be utilized prior to expanding into undeveloped areas. The project site is a “smart growth” location, an “infill” redevelopment site that reduces sprawl. It’s centrally located, not at the outskirts of town. It neighbors high density, affordable and senior housing, making it extremely walkable to a large segment of the City.

The project will result in reduced carbon emissions from thousands of trips to Auburn, Roseville and Yuba City. The site directly adjoins Highway 49 and the Dorsey interchange. Project Impact Fees will be paid towards the cost of the new Dorsey interchange and other City services.

The City desired connection between Dorsey Drive and Spring Hill Drive will provide connectivity and improved circulation for autos, bikes and walking. All needed infrastructure services directly adjoin the site. We look forward to working with the City, the community and local businesses to insure the opportunity of the Dorsey Marketplace is respectful of the desires and needs of Grass Valley.

— Ivan Natividad, staff writer

Russell Jeter, property owner of the proposed 26.75-acre shopping center adjacent to the Dorsey Drive interchange, submitted formal development plans to the Grass Valley City Planning Department after undergoing several months of pre-application and conceptual review with the city.

Through that process, Jeter, a Washington-based investor, said plans for the more than 217,000-square-foot “Dorsey Marketplace” are in alignment with city stipulations, though, he still seeks city approval.

“The review process has just begun,” Jeter said. “Through the pre-application review process staff has provided valuable direction and guidance on a wide range of design and engineering issues.”



The conceptual plan for the proposed retail site was submitted on Jan. 30, 2014, and quickly became a hot-button issue in late-February 2014 when Jeter’s proposal went before the Development Review Committee. Local residents and city officials addressed concerns that small businesses in the downtown area could be affected if the shopping center rented space to big-box stores and fast-food restaurants.

“It should create an experience, something special and representative of Grass Valley and the Gold Country. There needs to be a pedestrian environment … This should be a destination development that will draw citizens from the region and encourage them to shop locally.”Community Development Director Tom Last

The proposal, though, at the time was still a conceptual design and not a formal application.




Jeter says he is expected to go through a series of public meetings with the Development Review Committee, Planning Commission, and the City Council for a final decision.

“From the start staff has made it very clear that a high standard of design, architecture, landscaping and amenities would be required,” said Jeter. “(Community Development Director Tom Last) also suggested the design include a focal point, courtyards, plazas and fountains within the development. We fully agree, and the project design includes these features.”

Last has previously advised Jeter that the city expects “a unique plan” for the Dorsey Marketplace adding, “It should create an experience, something special and representative of Grass Valley and the Gold Country. There needs to be a pedestrian environment … This should be a destination development that will draw citizens from the region and encourage them to shop locally.”

Jeter purchased the property in 2008, one year after the Grass Valley City Council approved the Dorsey Drive Interchange, which has improved vehicular access to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Sierra College from the freeway. The interchange would also provide easy access to Jeter’s proposed Dorsey Marketplace.

“In order to ensure this project is reflective of Grass Valley we have engaged local professionals for the engineering, building, landscape and project design,” said Jeter. “In addition we have been speaking with local builders and the Nevada County Contractors Association. We will include local builders, trades and suppliers in the construction bidding process. We want to keep the construction local.”

According to the formal application plans, the site is slated to include around 150,000 square feet of retail space, which includes quick service retail, 7,745 square feet of restaurant space, 2,825 square feet for office and financial services, 26,450 square feet of mixed use space, and a 30,450 square-foot movie theater. More than 1,100 parking spaces are also proposed.

Jeter said his team is looking into bringing two local tenants to anchor the shopping center, but would not disclose names of businesses. He also added that Walmart will not be a tenant on the property.

“It’s currently estimated $75 to $100 million in annual taxable sales would be generated (by the marketplace), funding critical, citywide public services,” said Jeter. “An estimated 400 to 450 jobs could be generated locally, resulting in increased local spending at existing businesses.”

The Buxton Report, commissioned by the City of Grass Valley and released in 2011, researched and analyzed market and retail trade, customer spending and demand in the area, estimating that more than $200 million in “retail leakage” leaves western Nevada County every year as local consumers drive down the hill to shop.

In a follow-up survey, the City of Grass Valley used a sample group of more than 600 respondents, and identifies numerous big-box retailers that are believed to be in demand, including Target, Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club. The study also identified a demand for a Trader Joe’s and Olive Garden, as well as smaller retailers like Ross, Kohls, Marshall’s and Famous Footwear. Jeter said his site will take that feedback into account moving forward.

“We see the largest competitor to Grass Valley’s downtown retail shops to be the Galleria Mall in Roseville,” Jeter said. “Both offer specialty items that are not seen in mixed retail centers such as the one we are proposing. The more people we can keep shopping in Grass Valley rather than Roseville, the better off the shops in downtown Grass Valley will be.”

Last said the city will review Jeter’s application in the coming weeks to see if the city’s previous suggestions and concerns were addressed. The next step in the process would be an environmental review which Last said could take anywhere from nine to 12 months to complete.

If his proposal is eventually approved by the city council, Jeter says he would like to begin moving tenants by Spring 2017. Last, though, said the proposal process, if approved, could take anywhere from a year to 18 months to complete.

“We’ll be looking at the overall direction of the development,” Last said. “We want to make sure it’s something unique and something special for the community.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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