[caption id="attachment_53951" align="alignright" width="360" caption="An exterior view of the 3990 Brickway building, in Airport Corporate Center. It is the new home of the Redwood Empire Food Bank scheduled to open in January."][/caption]
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had a incorrect byline.)
SANTA ROSA -- More than 100 representatives from many of the 149 nonprofit and faith-based agencies served by the Redwood Empire Food Bank were given an advance preview of the new headquarters building and food distribution hub on April 17.Stories in this reportMay 15 event: Contractor rules, regulations and today’s projectsReport: Homebuilding to rebound after prices hit bottom in 2013Marmot got RP building permits in eight daysFood bank expects to open new building in January
This facility, located at 3990 Brickway in the Santa Rosa Airport Business Center, will officially open in January following an internal makeover.
Jackson Liles Architecture of San Francisco, with extensive experience in the nonprofit and warehousing sector, designed the new interior. They recently completed work on the Chinatown YMCA and the Produce Mart.
Wright Construction is the general contractor. All subcontractors will be local firms.
[caption id="attachment_53952" align="alignleft" width="360" caption="Some of the more than 100 agency representatives attending a briefing about the new Redwood Empire Food Bank headquarters and distribution hub in the spacious warehouse."][/caption]
With 60,410 square feet of usable space, this site behind the Medtronic building just off Airport Boulevard, more than triples the existing 20,000 square foot building at 3320 Industrial Drive that has been the food bank’s headquarters for 14 years. Prior to 1998 the food bank was located in a storefront on Petaluma Hill Boulevard.
“Seven years ago we looked at the increasing need for food assistance and realized that demand was rapidly outgrowing our capacity, requiring us to lease three additional warehouse spaces,” said David Goodman, executive director of the Redwood Empire Food Bank. “We got a very good deal on the new property.”
The food bank acquired the new building for $5 million six months ago from the Ronald L. Profili real estate investment group in Napa.
This purchase will enable the nonprofit to save more than $19 million in lease costs over the next 25 years – an expense that would have prevented it from serving an additional 41 million meals during the same period.
"It came down to a long-term decision between continuing to pay rent or enhancing our ability to reach more people.
“Cost savings associated with retrofitting an existing facility, versus building a new one, were estimated to be $2 million, ”Mr. Goodman said.
Today the food bank serves 78,000 people each month, a figure that rises each year. Some 13.5 million pounds of food, worth an estimated $20 million, are donated and purchased annually.
Some 75 percent of food received is distributed directly by the Redwood Empire Food Bank, with the rest channeled through local food pantries, churches and community organizations.
“We are part of a national organization called Feeding America comprised of 200 food banks throughout the county. We rank 17th in the U.S. when it comes to the amount of food distributed per square foot.”
The food bank has an operating budget of $5 million a year and a staff of 33 employees supplemented by volunteers and local agency support.