North Bay Business Journal

Monday, December 31, 2012, 6:45 am

Top stories of 2012: Happier times for wine

Also: New players in health care; Marin loses Grady Ranch

By Eric Gneckow, Jeff Quackenbush and Dan Verel, Business Journal Staff Reporters

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3. Basin Street buys back 17 Santa Rosa properties

Reno, Nev.-based Basin Street Properties regained its position as the largest owner of commercial real estate in Sonoma County with the repurchase of 17 Santa Rosa office buildings it sold seven years ago. It purchased nearly 700,000 square feet in six locations from entities controlled by Chicago-based Equity Office on Oct. 3.

Fountaingrove Center

The 161,000-square-foot, three-building Fountaingrove Center property is one of six Santa Rosa complexes Basin Street Properties re-acquired from Equity Office in early October. (Basin Street Properties photo)

Basin Street had acquired or built these properties just more than a decade ago and sold them to Equity Office as part of a 1.43 million-square-foot sale of 44 buildings in Sonoma and Marin counties for $263 million, or nearly $184 a square foot. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed in public records, but Basin Street President Matt White said it was about half of what those buildings sold for in 2005.

A recent deal of similar scale was the $65 million-plus sale of 842,000 square feet in 14 office, industrial and retail buildings in Petaluma and Rohnert Park earlier this year by RNM Properties to an investment group led by Napa-based PB&J Acquisitions.

Equity Office had entertained purchase offers for its 15-building, 711,000-square-foot Marin County portfolio earlier this year but ultimately decided to keep those buildings.

Jeff Quackenbush

4. Casino construction begins in Rohnert Park

After years of legal battles and debate, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria this year received approval for and began construction on a casino project that could significantly alter Rohnert Park and the surrounding area.

Opponents and proponents have clashed on the project, which includes the construction of the Bay Area’s largest casino with 3,000 slot machines and a 200-room hotel. Those in favor of the project point to economic benefits including more than 900 union construction jobs.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recently approved of a deal that guarantees the county at least $9 million as part of a revenue-sharing agreement. That could include up to $38 million more a year depending on how profitable the casino becomes. The deal was brokered in 2008 as part of an effort to address potential impacts the project might have. And the city of Rohnert Park agreed to a similar revenue-sharing contract that will see the tribe pay $10 million to widen and repave Wilfred Avenue, which will be the main thoroughfare to the casino.

As many as 11,000 additional car trips will occur on the road that is now a narrow two-way street bordered by ditches on each side.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Dan Verel

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