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North Bay Business Journal

FAIRFIELD — As a $54 million new Fairfield–Vacaville train station project is prepared for bids this summer, a 285-acre, 3,000-home project in the station-planning area has a new lead investor with a new vision for transit-oriented development.

Oakland-based McKinley Partners, which has led more than $240 million in investments in troubled single-family homes in California, Texas, Nevada, and Utah, on Jan. 10 purchased a majority share of Canon Station, LLC.

The property is located at Vanden and Canon roads in the northeast portion of the 2,970-acre Train Station Specific Plan area, which incorporates a junction of the Capitol Corridor and another Union Pacific railroad line.

“It’s a great location for jobs in the [Interstate] 680 corridor,” said Steve Riter, a founder of McKinley Partners. He credited the Yarbrough family and other development partners with getting the project through entitlements in 2011.

“We’re acquiring the property for long-term value,” he said.

The goal is to build over seven to nine years up to 3,000 homes, 30,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail space, a 23-acre park with an artificial lake covering half of it, several neighborhood parks plus four miles of trails around the property.

With a development agreement in hand from the city of Fairfield, the developers plan to seek regulatory agency approvals over the next 18 months and hope to start installing infrastructure and begin grading in mid- to late 2015. That would allow a homebuilder to start construction on the prepared pads in 2016.

The Fairfield–Vacaville station is set to be completed in 2017, based on the timetable for bidding to begin in July and start of construction late this year or in early 2015, according to Jay Swanson, senior civil engineer in the Fairfield Public Works Department. The specific plan area allows for 5,000 to 6,000 homes plus commercial space, but the area between the two cities is primarily grazing land now. The station will include a road overpass to accommodate truck traffic to the nearby industrial park.

The project is funded by Regional Measure 2 money, state and local development fees, and a pending $10 million grant for freight traffic from Proposition 1B.

McKinley's experience acquiring and managing single family home rental portfolios led to a partnership (Restore Utah, LLC) with Goldman Sachs. Restore Utah has acquired, rehabbed, and rented 516 affordable single family homes and 235 apartment units.