North Bay Business Journal

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 4:10 pm

Sonoma site buyer plans gourmet food marketplace


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    870 Gateway in Sonoma (credit: BAREIS)

    The long-shuttered Sonoma Truck & Auto Center site at 870 Gateway in Sonoma has a new owner, which plans an Oxbow Public Market-style food market. (credit: BAREIS)

    SONOMA — A Southern California company acquired the former Sonoma Truck & Auto Center property in Sonoma and plans to redevelop the nearly two-acre site with a mix of retail, hospitality and housing led by a gourmet food center styled after Oxbow Public Market in Napa.

    Retail, office and hospitality redevelopment proposals have been floated for the property by various prospective buyers in the past four years, according to the Press Democrat.

    Sonoma Gateway Commons, Ltd., led by Owen Smith of Del Mar-based SunLever Corp., purchased 870 Broadway on Wednesday for $1.95 million. Based on input at community meetings held in the first few months of this year, Mr. Smith is positioning the mixed-use-zoned site to have a 6,000- to-7,000-square-foot building to house multiple gourmet food vendors as the centerpiece for the project. Other uses for the property could include a small hotel plus multifamily housing.

    “We haven’t put all the aspects together,” Mr. Smith said.

    Yet he said any plan will remain “true to Sonoma’s authentic character.”

     Oxbow Public Market in Napa has 40,000 square feet to house about two dozen food, olive oil, wine and restaurant tenants.

    The redevelopment partnership hired San Francisco-based architecture firm Bull Stockwell Allen and civil engineering company Adobe Associates of Santa Rosa.

    The goal is present the proposal to the city Project Advisory Committee in July, Mr. Smith said. The concept would then go to the city Planning Commission for review.

    Herb Heil of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate–Wine Country Group represented the seller, the estate of Robert Bohna, who started Sonoma Truck & Auto Center in 1973.

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