After a three-decade-long hiatus, Friedman's is coming back to Petaluma.
On Monday, the developer of Deer Creek Village shopping center at North McDowell and Rainier Avenue announced that it had signed a long-term lease with Friedman’s Home Improvement, bringing the Sonoma County-based store back to town.
Previously, Lowe's was expected to be the anchor tenant of the shopping center, but backed out last fall after shuttering stores around the country. The developer, San Francisco-based Merlone Geier, launched discussions with Home Depot and Friedman's, with many residents favoring the latter because of its local roots.
“This has been a longtime dream of all three generations," said Friedman's Vice President Barry Friedman. "It’s very heartwarming to return to where we started our family business in 1946. We have been working diligently the past five years evaluating many locations and feel the Deer Creek Village Shopping Center offers our customers the best available location.”
With locations in Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Ukiah, Friedman’s currently has 320 employees. The Petaluma store will add close to 100 local jobs and open by summer 2013, if it's approved by the city.
Merlone Geier issued a statement, saying that the company, which operated in Petaluma until 1976, had longstanding ties to the community.
"They are a quality home improvement store that will contribute to the shopping center’s success by attracting other quality tenants and jobs,” the developer said in a statement. “With the city council’s support, we look forward to developing a shopping center that promises Petaluma a much needed home improvement store, new jobs and tax revenue for public services,” said Geertsen.
The city council will consider the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the project at its February 27 meeting.
The developer is pitching the shopping center, which would have restaurants, retail and office space, along with trails and weekend farmers' market, as a premier mixed-use project. They say the center will bring 800 jobs to Petaluma, both in construction, and later in retail.
However, opponents argue that the project does not conform to the General Plan, which calls for development to be oriented toward pedestrians, and will cause traffic jams in the already congested North McDowell and East Washington Street intersection and surrounding area. And, they say, the current plans , a project whose funding has been jeopardized by the elimination of redevelopment agencies.
Are you excited about Friedman's coming back to Petaluma? Is there a better spot for the home improvement store?