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PD Editorial: Is SMART vision starting to show results?

  • A transit-friendly mix of housing and retail is planned for the vacant State Farm property in Rohnert Park. (The Press Democrat, 2004)

When funding for the SMART train was approved by voters in 2008, the hope was that the rail line would not only provide a transportation alternative but would become a magnet for future city-centered, transit-oriented development.

That latter vision may already be paying dividends.

Irvine-based SunCal Cos. — a national developer of large mixed-use communities — on Dec. 24 purchased the sprawling former State Farm campus in Rohnert Park. Although many details of the deal are unknown, the company made clear that one of the attractions of the site was its proximity to the SMART line and the future Rohnert Park train station.

As Joe Guerra, manager of SunCal's Northern California acquisitions, told Staff Writer Jeremy Hay, “We want to take advantage of the train station and help enable a town center-downtown area that our development will be part of.”

Make no mistake. This is When funding for the SMART train was approved by voters in 2008, the hope was that the rail line would not only provide a transportation alternative but would become a magnet for future city-centered, transit-oriented development.

That latter vision may already be paying dividends.

Irvine-based SunCal Cos. — a national developer of large mixed-use communities — on Dec. 24 purchased the sprawling former State Farm campus in Rohnert Park. Although many details of the deal are unknown, the company made clear that one of the attractions of the site was its proximity to the SMART line and the future Rohnert Park train station.

As Joe Guerra, manager of SunCal's Northern California acquisitions, told Staff Writer Jeremy Hay, “We want to take advantage of the train station and help enable a town center-downtown area that our development will be part of.”

Make no mistake. This is a stroke of good fortune for Rohnert Park and for Sonoma County as a whole.

When State Farm Insurance — then one of the largest employers in the county — announced in 2010 that it was closing its 450-employee Rohnert Park regional office and shipping most of the jobs to Bakersfield, it was a significant blow to the local economy.

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