Chanate Road campus buyer’s plans could include housing, retail, hotel, golf course or casino

A city website dedicated to the Chanate campus says any large-scale proposal would likely require rezoning the use of the property, performing a comprehensive environmental review, and modifying the overall Santa Rosa plan.

City Councilor Victoria Fleming’s northeast Santa Rosa neighborhood includes the Chanate campus and the hillside neighborhoods above. Fleming, who has described herself as a staunch and fierce housing advocate, said her main concern was that a housing, resort or hotel on the site would increase traffic along the narrow, winding Chanate Road during future nightly fire evacuations.

She said any development in Chanate should be carefully calibrated to gain the support of her and her wary constituents.

“The safety of the surrounding neighborhoods and the residents who inhabit those neighborhoods is paramount,” Fleming said. “I will be monitoring this situation as it develops very closely. “

To allay residents’ immediate concerns about safety once the property changes ownership, Haddad said he intends to start demolishing all vacant buildings in Chanate as soon as the sale goes through.

Haddad said the construction contractor he chooses to demolish the site would be responsible for hiring a private company to monitor the property during the demolition, which could take around six months. After that, he doesn’t anticipate needing any security until the end of the project.

“That is why we want to withdraw the demolition permit immediately,” he said. “If we get the demolition permit, everything will be taken care of by the contractor.”

Talk about a tribal casino

After the property was auctioned off, there was speculation that Haddad – an unknown relative in North Bay – could team up with a Native American tribe to build a casino, according to a half-dozen interviews with local officials. and housing advocates.

In an interview with Haddad on Friday, he ruled out any casino plans.

“No, we don’t offer a casino site,” he said.

But in a follow-up call on Monday, Haddad said he raised the possibility with his lawyer after previous questions from a Democratic press reporter about the tribal games.

“I asked my lawyer about it and he said, ‘Let me know when you’re ready to talk. It has certainly been done, ”Haddad said.

To build a casino in Chanate, a tribe with ties to the area would have to apply to the federal government to designate the property as tribal land, before seeking additional state and federal approvals, a process that typically takes years. The city or county would not have jurisdiction in this process.

Haddad said he had not yet contacted any tribes regarding the property, adding that he had not been involved in the development of casinos in the past.

The most recent step towards developing a casino in North Bay came from the Koi Nation, a federally recognized tribe based in Sonoma County, which in September announced plans to transform a 68-year-old vineyard. acres southeast of Windsor into a $ 600 million casino complex.

Representatives of the Koi Nation; the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, based near Healdsburg, which operates a casino in San Pablo; and the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, which is based near Geyserville and operates the River Rock Casino there, all said they had not been contacted by Haddad.

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, who own the Graton Resort and Casino in the Rohnert Park area, the Bay Area’s largest tribal gaming destination, did not return a request for comment.

While Haddad intends to take residents’ concerns into account when coming up with a proposal for the property, Fleming, the Santa Rosa city councilor, said any casino project should be doomed to failure.

“I think it’s a big effort to imagine the neighbors or the wider community going to a casino venue,” she said. “I just think it’s unimaginable.”

Developer’s past and present projects

In recent years, Haddad has purchased two more large-scale properties for redevelopment in Nevada and California.

One is the closed Legacy Golf Course in Henderson, Nevada, which he bought for $ 1.5 million in 2017 with his partner Georges Maalouf to build luxury apartments and a hotel around the course. Neighbors filed a lawsuit to stop the project in 2018, before the parties agreed that only part of the property could be developed, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Then, in March this year, Haddad and Maalouf won a bid for a 59-acre former coastguard site in Contra Costa County. The site, known as Concord Villages, is currently empty military housing bordering a large, separate real estate development project on a former naval base and the Superfund site. The couple paid $ 58.4 million for the property, where they hope to add 2,000 homes, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

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