Council to get update on city’s negotiations with developer regarding Blue Rock Springs revitalization project

by John Glidden | April 12, 2021

VALLEJO – The Vallejo City Council will meet during a special closed session Tuesday to discuss three different items, including getting an update about the city’s negotiations about the price, terms of payment and conditions of 10 city-owned parcels associated with the Blue Rock Springs revitalization project.

Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff, Economic Development Director Paul Kelley, and Justin Peters, the city’s real property & asset manager, all serve on the city’s negotiating team as they work on negotiating a possible transfer of the city owned properties to Blue Rock Springs, LLC.

Blue Rock Springs, LLC is a joint venture between the Lewis Management Corporation, and the Greg Norman Company.

Later in the night, the council will be asked during its regular meeting to approve a fifth amendment to an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with Blue Rock Springs, LLC, granting the company additional time to negotiate a deal with the city.

If approved the ENA will be extended until October 22, 2021.

A fifth amendment is being sought due to Blue Rock Springs, LLC being unable to reach milestone goals established in the third and fourth amendments, according to a staff report written by Kelley.

“The reasons include: stalled negotiation discussions with Syar Industries, Inc. (Syar); the COVID-19 pandemic and associated impacts; an ‘open space’ initiative was submitted in June 2020 and time spent to produce a 9212 report; staff turnover and the necessity for a newly assembled project team; and more recently, renewed efforts for good faith negotiation discussions with Syar,” Kelley wrote.

Part of that staff turnover included the termination of Will Morat, who served as assistant to the city manager for economic development. Morat was terminated on April 23, 2020.

Blue Rock Springs, LLC has proposed a mixed development of a new golf course with a housing development spread along 225 acres of property. However, Syar has protested the idea of housing along the east side of Columbus Parkway.

“Although Syar is not entitled to any rights or control over the City-owned property, the Developer and City aim for a mutually acceptable resolution that enables the development to advance,” Kelley added.

Redevelopment of Blue Rock Springs golf course is in its fourth year following the decision by the city council to terminate the management agreement with the previous operators of the course. The decision to terminate the agreement came after years of the city subsidizing operating costs of the golf course by $4.6 million since 2011.

Greg Norman Company and The Lewis Group each responded to a request for proposals issued by the city in August 2017. Vallejo received nine proposals in total.

The council approved the original ENA with the Greg Norman Company in March 2018. More than 18 months later, The Lewis Group was added to the project, forming Blue Rock Springs, LLC.

In addition, the council will receive information about anticipated litigation in two separate cases, during the special closed session. According to the agenda description, one of the cases references anticipated litigation against the city, while the other case is involves the city initiating litigation.

The special closed session meeting will begin at 4:15 p.m., and will be held via teleconference, with the public having a chance to weigh in on the items, before councilors enter into the closed session.

Members of the public may provide public comments during the meeting via ZOOM by
visiting: https://ZoomClosed.Cityofvallejo.net or by phone. Dial: (669) 900­6833, enter Meeting ID: 8452542999. Press *9 to digitally raise your hand from the phone.


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Published by John Glidden

John Glidden is a freelance journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan also covers the local school district, Vallejo elections, and public safety.

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