TOP STORIES OF 2019: Higgins Marketplace headlines business beat
Over the coming days, The Union will publish top stories across beats of coverage including education, courts and most popular online stories. The top stories of 2019 will publish on New Year’s Eve.
From new shopping centers to the arts, business stories have made headlines in Nevada County this year.
Important business stories run the gamut. They include projects that bring jobs to our area and money to our pockets. They affect our community by bringing a newly legal product here and possibly reopening a long-shuttered gold mine.
These are the Top 5 business stories for 2019.
1) HIGGINS MARKETPLACE
After more than a decade, ground was finally broken at Higgins Marketplace this year.
The Roseville-based Katz Kirkpatrick Properties is the project developer of the lot’s four commercial buildings on Highway 49, south of Combie Road. It includes a 30,000-square-foot Holiday Market, which is set to open by July 4, according to Katz Kirkpatrick Properties Principal Fred Katz.
The development of the property stalled on multiple occasions, including once by the South County Citizens for Smart Growth, which brought a lawsuit against the planners for allegedly violating the California Environmental Equality Act.
The construction of Higgins Marketplace is sandwiched between a long Nevada County debate of economic development versus conservation.
Supporters of the former plan, and Higgins Marketplace, want to prevent residents from going down the hill to shop, which leaks money from the county.
Katz Kirkpatrick Properties Principal Fred Katz, the project developer, said in September that his company had invested $5 to $6 million into the project before breaking ground.
The developing agency has constructed 40 shopping centers in over 40 years, and at 16 1/2 years this project had set a record for taking the most time.
2) RISE GOLD ATTEMPTS TO REOPEN MINE
In 2017, Rise Gold Corp. began exploratory drilling at the Idaho-Maryland Mine.
This month, the company began its attempt to reopen the mine.
In 1942, the lucrative mine was shut down in Nevada County, and previous attempts to reopen it through the following decades failed because of community blockades and a lack of financial incentive.
Environmental concerns are still paramount for critics of the plan, especially during a time when climate change is considered an “existential threat” by the world’s leading scientists.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Anderson wrote that supervisors do not have enough information yet to decide whether to allow Rise Gold to reopen the mine.
3) NEVADA COUNTY ART SCENE ENHANCES ECONOMY
Both nonprofits and educational institutions in Nevada County have been promoting the benefits of the local arts scene as a learning tool and an engine for the economy.
A national and locally-funded report released this year found that during the 2018 fiscal year, the arts in Nevada County produced $46.9 million in total economic activity, 869 full-time jobs, $20.9 million in household income and $5.1 million in local and state government revenue.
“(The arts) support jobs, they drive revenue, they drive tourism,” said Randy Cohen in April. Cohen is the vice president of research and policy at Americans for the Arts. “This is a community-wide impact,” he said. “It’s not just food for the soul. It’s actually putting food on the table.”
Spearheaded by the Nevada County Arts Council, educational administrators are trying to expand art education in Nevada County schools.
The council found that the county is not doing enough to fund arts education, and administrators now say they are actively working to reverse that trend.
“The arts are a part of learning, and they need to be more integrated,” said Kimberly Ewing in September. Ewing is a humanities teacher in the Nevada City School District and an arts coordinator for the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools.
4) RECREATIONAL CANNABIS SOLD IN COUNTY
In January, Elevation 2477’ became the first to offer retail sale of recreational adult-use cannabis in Nevada County.
“This is crazy,” said Elevation 2477’ co-owner Daniel Batchelor at the time. “I’ve waited a long time to do this.”
The cannabis retail shop originally opened in August 2018, but was only allowed to sell medicinal products at the time.
In August Elevation 2477’ celebrated its one-year anniversary. In that time, the company had generated over $100,000 in excise tax revenue for Nevada City
“It has been a tough 18 months for the legal cannabis industry,” Batchelor said in September, “from adjusting to the changing regulations (and) high taxes to stringent testing requirements. But I think we are beginning to see the legal market (stabilizing), and any business that runs a tight compliant ship, has a vision and a good team is likely to not just survive these changing times, but thrive.”
5) DORSEY MARKETPLACE
As of this month, it was decided a proposal or multiple proposals of Dorsey Marketplace will be reviewed by the Grass Valley City Council.
The project includes a 26.8-acre integrated mixed-use infill residential, retail and commercial development set for the southeast corner of Dorsey Drive as well as the northbound Highway 49 off-ramp.
Both critics and supporters believe the marketplace project is a test for retail. Critics believe the nature of retail is changing, and the brick-and-mortar stores are not the future. Supporters think the Dorsey Marketplace is innovative, as it combines both retail and residential spaces.
The mixed residential-retail space has had many different iterations. Supporters hope the project’s approval is fairly close to the finish line.
“When we first presented the project there was a lot of commentary about the project being too Roseville, too Rocklin,” said project architect Dan Richards this month. “This is a very different project. It has changed significantly. The first design was not necessarily welcoming to the community.”
It is still unknown as to when the proposal or proposals will be reviewed by the city council.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4219.
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