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Friedman's Coming Back Home

Announced plans on Monday to open store in Deer Creek Village Shopping Center on North McDowell

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?

Carol February 14, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Yay! So glad to hear Friedman's is coming back.
Bookworm February 14, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Also glad about Friedman's. Hope something can be worked out to make it less car-centric. More and better bike paths?
charles merrill February 14, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Charles Petaluma needs a full hardware and lumber retail store and I am pleased that Friedman's is willing to open a new store here. The traffic problem does need to be addressed and I am not sure what that should be at this time.
Dave Steacy February 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Great news. Much rather see my tax dollars stay in Petaluma. Plus, the time and gas I will save from not having to drive up north to pick up items for my handyman business. Please don't screw this up Petaluma City Council!
Goofpod February 14, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Yay!! Win-win for our community. More congestion will not be a big issue. That area is already so busy that this kind of project fits right in. Would you rather have it on the west side? Build Ranier (finally!) and get on with it. Come on, city council, don't blow this opportunity from a supportive local merchant!
Bill Fishman February 14, 2012 at 08:23 PM
A hardware and building material store that is bicycle friendly? What a concept! I can picture it now: trying to shift gears on a 15-speed road bike while negotiating the Lynch Creek Trail with a stack of 2 x 4s and 3 bags of steer manure balanced on my shoulder. Don't get me wrong. I'm very happy that Friedmans has signed on; but Delta-T (change in traffic) will be an issue.
Petaluma Seer February 16, 2012 at 01:17 AM
A local company is the step in the right direction, vs. a national big box. Unless like Regency, Freidman's is used as a carrot to get public consensus, then once the project is approved, Freidman's is dropped. On Feb. 27th the City Council will review whether or not the EIR is adequate and complete. Without the consideration and Impact Review of a "No Rainier Interchange and/or Crosstown Connector" scenario, this EIR is wholefully INCOMPLETE and inadequate. If the Council greenlights the approval of this EIR, the City is looking down the barrel of a CEQA Legal Challenge. That would delay this project indefinetely. Quickest way to arrive at a project approval is to send this EIR quickly onto it's next step of completion. The government and the people could then make intelligent decisions on how large of a project Petaluma can handle Environmentally, especially in regards to the TRAFFIC. Currently, with the assumption of the mitigation of Rainier, at several locations TRAFFIC gridlock is listed as Unavoidable and Significant, down to level"F's". How large a project beyond a Home Improvement Center depends on what a "No Rainier" EIR study shows. We deserve and must have these answers before the EIR is approved. Otherwise, why did some Council members not reques themselves? A greenlight approval of this EIR and "as is" project for the developers they garnered favors from, vs Petalumans who will suffer from the gridlock, poor air quality, loss of time, and excessive fuel use.
Petaluma Seer February 16, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Goofpod, what do you call congestion? if you took the time to actually read the EIR, FEIR, and it's appendices you would educate yourself to the facts of the EIR that the "AS IS Proposed" project brings Traffic Congestion. To levels of "F", "E" an "D". Both in town and on the Freeway at various locations. A local company is better than a National Big Box, now, lets see what a Non Rainier traffic scenario looks like on the streets already studied...AND... the local collector neighborhood streeets that people will use their new apps for to find gridlock escape routes onto. Streets such as East Madison,Rushmore, and more on Maria, and Professional, and also East Washington. McDowell is a critical artery to our Hospital, our neighborhoods, our Malls already in place, and so much more. People will not enjoy having their cars stopped, sitting on the Freeway at various locations. Cal Trans wants answers too.
Petaluma Seer February 16, 2012 at 01:37 AM
That's the point. It is already busy, by prior approved project already built and more you are unaware of that. . already... have approval and are in the pipeline. Please see my next note.
Patrick M. February 17, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Here we go again, the sky is falling. This is a shopping center the overwhelming majority of people want. On a vacant lot specified for this type of use. Next to the freeway, in a commercial area. First it is anti-big box. Now that a local company is coming the chant will switch to traffic complaints, endangered species, air quality, lawsuit threats..and whatever else can be thrown up as an obstacle. It is really just sad to watch it all. Sad.
Petaluma Seer February 18, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Patrick, If you had taken the time to educate yourself on this project, by reading the FEIR, the EIR, and its appendices, you would sing a different tune. Ignorance is bliss. You beat the drum of discontent of impatience. Please, we would love to hear your take on any possible mitigations, solutions to the EIR deemed unmitigatable Significant and Unavoidable Taffic mobility both on the freeway and around town, on the East Side of Petaluma,and even into the West side, the Air Quality, the Public Safety, the Hydrology, etc. Care to enlighten us? Or do you just want to throw out Rants? The people you rail at are working on solutions, while you sit on your coach and grumble with impatience at governmental bodies doing their due diliegence and courageous Mayors, and outstanding citizens helping to be part of intelligent navigators of these developments that are slated to damage our current lifestyles of excellence in this beautiful heritage river city. If you have nothing to say of educated intelligence on these projects people will and have lost interest in your rants.
Petaluma Seer February 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Addendum. What is sad is your lack of knowledge of the projects and the citizens that which you speak of, concerning several largely impactive projects around town.
Petaluma Seer February 18, 2012 at 12:16 AM
There was a question of another placement of Freidman's by the author of the article. Many have speculated that the closing of the Regional Post Ofice site on McDowell, at Corona is an excellent site as there is less traffic.

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