New landlord for Grass Valley Group |

New landlord for Grass Valley Group

The pending sale of a 63-acre stretch of industrial-zoned land – home to the Grass Valley Group – forced Nevada City City Council members to discuss the city’s priorities in preserving open space Monday night.

The land is located on Deer Creek at the end of Providence Mine Road. The broadcast technology pioneer Grass Valley Group moved to the site in 1996 when it was owned by Oregon-based Tektronix. Tektronix now rents the office space to Grass Valley Group’s current parent company, Thomson of France.

Tektronix is preparing to finish negotiations that will hand over the property to Los Angeles investment firm Bentley Forbes. After the sale, Bentley Forbes will take on Tektronix’s role as landlord and continue leasing the property to Thomson, said City Clerk Cathy Wilcox-Barnes.

Standing in the way of the deal was some old business that Tektronix needed to settle with the city.

“They needed to have the city sign a document that said they are in compliance with the development agreement,” Wilcox-Barnes said.

However, some of the issues sparked concerns amongst City Council members about plans for further development at the site.

First, after a 2001 timber harvest, the city discovered that there were more trees taken out than were permitted. Second, a wrong final map was filed. The third issue was that a larger-than-expected gravel road was created for the timber harvest, provoking questions about the intention of development in the area.

“That’s the finest logging road I’ve ever seen. It looks like the pre-work done for development,” said Steve Dodge, who lives near the 63-acre parcel being sold.

The City Council took the opportunity to question the development intentions and reassert their desire for open space.

“It was very clear to me that the expectation of the community was that it should remain open space,” said Councilwoman Sally Harris.

To help the sale go through, Tektronix agreed to put money into a tree mitigation fund and a new map was filed, Wilcox-Barnes said. The gravel road will be considered an emergency and fire access road and a breakable gate will be installed. Any development that is done on the property is subject to the process of review by the Planning Commission and City Council.

In the end, the City Council voted 3-1 in favor of the amended development agreement. Harris was the only “no” vote.

In the past few years, Bentley Forbes has been setting its sights on investing more in the Sacramento region. In 2003, Bentley Forbes brokered the second-largest real estate deal ever in the region when they paid $134 million for eight buildings in Roseville, Rancho Cordova and Folsom.

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