Amy’s Kitchen Petaluma Riverside Headquarters Plans Scuttled

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A massive mixed-use development near the heart of downtown Petaluma is in flux after Amy’s Kitchen, the centerpiece of the 40-acre development, backtracked on plans to build its headquarters there.

The reason for the decision, communicated to city leaders late last month, was not immediately clear, but it clouded the timetable for one of the city’s biggest development projects – the development for use Mixed Scannel.

Proposed in 2020, Scannell’s mixed-use development has previously been touted as a catalyst for revolutionizing the future of residential and commercial land use near the city’s riverfront.

As Petaluma seeks changes to its master plan, planning commissioners and the public raised concerns about the project on Tuesday as its backers seek to complete the project’s design.

In an informational hearing Tuesday night at a planning commission meeting, developers and city planners gathered comments on the two-phase project located on 40 acres of land at 500 Hopper St. Although there being no set timetable for the project, there was still cautious optimism despite recent developments.

“This is an example of a project where we really have the ability to decide what we want out of this site, how we want it to impact our community and take the land seriously,” the commissioner said. Blake Hooper planning in a phone Wednesday morning. maintenance. “It’s a valuable property. We really have to be careful and think about what we want for future generations. »

Located just south of the Mary Isaak COTS Center, the now vacant land falls north of the McNear Canal and the Petaluma River, with the adjacent Riverfront mixed-use development to the east and the Shamrock concrete production facility to the east. Where is.

Site plans originally set aside 147,300 square feet of space to be the headquarters of Petaluma-based food manufacturer Amy’s Kitchen, which included commercial office space, a test kitchen and a parking lot. 400 places, which could have aggravated traffic problems in the city center.

But in late January, city officials were told that Amy’s Kitchen would no longer be incorporated into the plans, leaving at least a quarter of the 40-acre development in progress.

The move comes amid a flurry of activity and accusations for Petaluma’s longtime business.

In December, the vegetarian food retailer sold three of its production facilities in Santa Rosa, Oregon and Idaho to New York real estate investment firm WP Carey Inc. for $144 million. Amy’s Kitchen then leased the buildings for 30 years as part of the deal.

More recently, the company has faced widespread criticism after a lawsuit was filed Jan. 20 by five workers at its Santa Rosa plant who claimed they suffered injuries due to poor working conditions.

Hooper said staff had not received details about why Amy’s was no longer involved in the downtown development. Although it appears that the original plans for the commercial building remain in place, a replacement tenant has yet to be determined. Hooper said that could be concerning because the pandemic has already left a number of city buildings empty after a loss of business.

Representatives for Amy’s Kitchen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Concerns about the details of the project loomed over Tuesday’s meeting. Petaluma-based architect William Wolpert was concerned about the project’s location and accessibility.

“I can’t ignore the fact that this development is built around a sewage treatment plant,” Wolpert said in a letter to city officials ahead of the meeting. “And, despite all the proposed improvements to the river, there is in fact no access to the river for any of the residents. If you wanted to launch a kayak, you have to drive somewhere else.

Veronica Olsen, another Petaluma resident, echoed those statements, adding that she fears the project will make room for more vehicular traffic and disintegrate the presence of the community’s natural environment.

“It looks like Cinderella’s sister-in-law is trying on the slipper, and it just doesn’t fit,” Olsen said in a letter to the city.

About 3.5 acres of the site would also be used as public park space, and a multi-use path would be laid out along the river. The project would also include 195 single-family homes and up to 80 affordable apartments on the east side of the site.

“There’s still a lot of concern that these will still be incredibly expensive homes that are largely occupied by people from outside the area,” Hooper said, describing what he heard at the meeting. of Tuesday.

The site was formerly occupied by the Pomeroy cement plant, but all concrete slabs and foundations from previous activities on the site have been demolished to prepare Scannell’s development plans.

The Scannell Project would require a General Plan Amendment and a Specific Plan Amendment to change the property’s land use designation from “river dependent industry” to “mixed use”, and the property would need to be rezoned.

Amelia Parreira is an editor for the Argus-Courier. She can be reached at [email protected] or 707-521-5208.

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