Tech Center to Open Offices in Spring (The Union – September 9, 2006)

Local businesses and industries that want to expand have few options available to them if they need much more than 1,000-square feet of space. But choices will grow with the opening next spring of the first phase of the Nevada City Tech Center off Zion Street. The first of 10 buildings in the site, studded with pines and oaks, will have 29,000-square feet in two stories, developer Robert Upton of Campus Property Group in San Rafael said this week. It is being built on Providence Mine Road on a 40-acre parcel that the company bought recently from the Grass Valley Group. About 20 acres will be left as open space, including trails and a small recreational area for employees. “Space is always an issue” when talking about economic growth, said Chuck Neeley, director of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, on Friday. Martin Webb, owner of Plan it Solar, recalled a local solar panel manufacturer that was lured to upstate New York a few years ago when western Nevada County lacked enough room to expand. Real estate broker Lachlan Richards of Sperry Van Ness/Highland Commercial in Nevada City had worked with that company, Daystar Technologies. “If a company needs 5,000 square feet or more, there’s no place for their company to go,” Richards said. Commercial and light industrial space currently available generally ranges from 600 to 1,500 square feet. Now, he and his wife, Susan Richards, are handling sales and leasing at the technology center, and said they already are working with potential clients. When built out in six or seven years, the 10 buildings will offer 210,000 square feet of space, which can be custom-built. They hope companies will move in that can play off the synergy of the neighbors at Grass Valley Group, the Richards said. The development had been approved by Nevada City in the 1980s as part of the original plans for Grass Valley Group, although those plans called for three buildings of 70,000 square feet each. Crews broke ground about three weeks ago.