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Southern Land Co. tapped to lead redevelopment of Vallejo's former Mare Island shipyard

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The new owners of much of the former Mare Island shipyard in Vallejo on Wednesday said they picked Nashville, Tennessee-based Southern Land Company to help with second phase of island redevelopment: long-term planning, development and property management.

Over the next few months, Southern Land will work with the city of Vallejo and The Nimitz Group to conduct due diligence and research to refine development plans, recruit and add to the project team, and put architecture firm HOK’s island master plan into action, according to the announcement. Nimitz is a joint venture between Nashville-based banker and Napa Valley vintner Gaylon Lawrence Jr., Depiction Wines owner Sebastian Lane, and local winemaker and Savage & Cooke Distillery owner Dave Phinney, creator of The Prisoner line of wines now owned by Constellation Brands.

The Nimitz Group finished acquiring about 800 acres of land on Mare Island in November from Lennar Mare Island, which had been operating under a public-private partnership with the city to redevelop the shipyard. Nimitz and the city have entered a new public-private deal to bring that ship into dock.

“They have one of the best reputations in the development industry for creating unique, walkable communities that promote the well-being of their residents and the larger area,” Nimitz said in the announcement. We believe that with Southern Land Company we will be able to establish Mare Island as a sustainable, self-sufficient community that includes current and future residents, long-term employers, vibrant natural open space and exciting entertainment options.”

Southern Land was founded in 1986 and has garnered industry accolades such as “50 Best Master Planned Communities in the US” for the Westhaven residential and commercial development underway in Franklin, Tennessee, and an “Excellence in Development Award” from the Urban Land Institute of Nashville.

Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan said in the news release that Nimitz made a good choice in Southern Land.

“It shows they are committed to doing what’s right for Mare Island and we look forward to working with Southern Land Company to realize the island’s full potential,” he said.

Southern Land founder Tim Downey called the Mare Island project a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“As we begin this process, we look forward to sitting down with the businesses, residents and community to get their thoughts on what they see in Mare Island’s future,” Downey said in the announcement.

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