Plans for major development near Hwy. 49 eyed |

Plans for major development near Hwy. 49 eyed

Plans are rolling along for a proposed commercial center, office and residential development on 175 acres along Highway 49 on the south edge of Grass valley.

Plans for the $65 million Southhill Village project are now on file and under review with the Grass valley planning department.

Caitlin Properties of Sacramento wants to build a shopping center large enough to house a Longs Drugstore, a Safeway supermarket, and a series of retail shops on 3.2 acres along Highway 49. A third commercial venture – possible a clothing store – is also planned, a company representative said Friday.

The plans also show 94,000 square feet of office buildings and a 6,000 square foot child care center. The land developers hope to annex into the city to get sewer service.

Cottages, townhouses and larger houses could be constructed on four acres. The residential units will vary in size and could be sold for $175,000, a moderate price for the average Nevada County resident, a Caitlin representative claimed Friday.

Apartments could be built above the retail stores and either rented or sold. Caitlin Properties Vice President Paul O’ Sullivan said.

The developer had considered building a hotel at the site but that changed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, O’Sullivan said Friday. The financing for hotels has become very tough since Sept. 11, and the ability to develop severely reduced, O’Sullivan said.

If there were room for one hotel, it should be in downtown Grass Valley, O’Sullivan added.

Ed Sylvester of SCO Planning and Engineering of Grass Valley and a Caitlin representative said the project is planned like a village. more than 138 acres will be left in open space, the plans show. A walking trial system could tie Southhill Village to nearby sites, including Empire Mine State Park and the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Sylvester said. Open space could also be donated to the Nevada County Land Trust, Sylvester said.

The second Safeway store in the area would be built less than five minutes from the firm’s current market in downtown Grass Valley. However, Safeway spokesman David Bowlby said on Friday, “I can unequivocally say that we’re keeping our existing store open.”

Community Development Director Joe Hecket said the staff is now making sure the application is complete. No public hearing has been set, he said.

Sylvester has requested that the city select a consultant to do an in-depth environmental report of EIR at Caitlin’s cost.

Caitlin Properties hopes to have the project built by 2004.

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