A proposed housing, retail and hotel development along the Petaluma River brings with it the promise of nearly 2,500 temporary and permanent jobs.
On Monday night, Petaluma City Council members and labor leaders sought to pin down the Riverfront developer that those hires would be local, particularly in construction, one of the hardest-hit industries during the recession.
"Seek guarantees that those jobs stay here and are at area-standard wages," urged Carl Sanchez of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 104.
The city has no requirements on hiring practices for private developments, but several council members said they hoped developer Basin Street Properties would commit to hiring local workers.
"I hear what's been said here tonight," said company chairman Bill White. "We have always prided ourselves on using a lot of local labor, and intend to continue doing that."
Riverfront includes 273 residential units, 90,000 square feet of commercial space, a 120-room hotel and 7 acres of open space planned for vacant land on Hopper Street between the river and Highway 101.
When built out, the project's restaurants, offices, retail stores, hotel, homes and apartments are expected to add about 520 full-time-equivalent permanent jobs. Construction would create about 1,950 temporary jobs.
The job data came as part of a city-mandated fiscal and economic impact analysis, or FEIA, which gauges impacts the 39-acre project will have on the local economy.
The city began requiring such reports several years ago to help guide leaders in approving large projects that had the potential to cannibalize existing businesses.
During the planning process for East Washington Place, under construction now, the city sought a "good faith" assurance from Regency Centers that it would hire local workers.
The results were "not stellar," planner Geoff Bradley said.
Several council members said they would hold White to his pledge to employ local labor.
Councilwoman Teresa Barrett said she also was pleased to see a hotel in the Riverfront plans, which will be the most profitable aspect of the project for the city. The nightly bed tax could bring several hundred thousand dollars a year to the city.
The FEIA estimates that Riverfront would generate more than $600,000 annually in net financial benefits to the city once it's fully built.
You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.