Vallejo-based developer the Nimitz Group has acquired 500 acres on Vallejo’s Mare Island, where it hopes to create a plan for further redevelopment of the onetime shipyard area after taking over from mega-developer Lennar.
The Nimitz Group, primarily owned by a local winemaker and a Tennessee billionaire, already held 300 acres on the island.
Last summer the Vallejo City Council green lit the transfer of more land to Nimitz from Lennar, the same developer behind projects like ongoing development at Hunters Point in San Francisco.
The developers needed city approval for the sale because the redevelopment of Mare Island is part of a public-private partnership between Vallejo and building interests.
After Nimitz Group announced the final acquisition on Friday, Vallejo announced a new partnership agreement with the local developer.
The purchase includes “3.6 million square feet of leased commercial, light industrial, manufacturing and office space that is currently home to over 110 businesses,” according to the city.
But both Vallejo and Nimitz Group hope in the years to come to create new mixed-use development on the island site. Nimitz Group says that it’s still developing plans for the site and “is looking forward to sharing a more detail vision.”
Lennar previously planned to build over 1,000 new homes on the island, along with millions of square feet of commercial space. The company’s sales site called the area “the biggest opportunity in the bay.”
The company instead decided to sell its Mare Island holdings at the beginning of the year.
The onetime home of the Patwin people, Mare Island got its modern name after General Mariano Vallejo’s white mare who fell off a raft and swam to the island in 1835.
The travel site Noe Hill notes that in 1854, the U.S. Navy’s Mare Island shipyard became the branch’s first permanent installation on the Pacific coast. By the time America entered World War II, the yard employed more than 40,000 people.
The base closed in 1996. Significant parts of the island and shipyard area are listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. Redevelopment plans will have to work around and preserve historic assets.