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Supervisors contract with firm to put 154 homes in Herlong.
Posted on Wednesday, February 28 @ 11:53:49 PST
Feb. 27, 2006 ?The new developer for surplus Army property in Herlong will concentrate on housing.

Milwaukee-based Towne Development, of Sacramento, proposed building 154 single-family homes on 400 acres the local reuse authority acquired from the 1995 U.S. Army Base Reuse and Closure process. The county put out a request for qualifications in September 2006 to develop three tracts, as part of the planned progression for offering more than 4,000 total acres.

The Lassen County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 20 voted to offer Towne Homes an exclusive negotiating agreement as the successful respondent to the RFQ.

Assistant Community Development Director Joe Bertotti noted Towne demonstrated capacity to finance a project, the proposal reasonableness and the organization staff.

Towne team includes a finance and consulting firm it worked with for years on numerous projects, according to a presentation the board heard on Jan. 16.

As a very conservative company, Towne responded to the most immediate need: housing for civilian employees at SIAD and the Herlong Federal Prison, Jeff Penstein, the regional manager Towne Development, in Sacramento, told the board in January. The Towne master plan calls for 154 residential units around a town green, along with duplexes and a retail area.

The company can design a larger component but decided to start with 1,300-1,600 square-foot houses as the first phase, he said.

If Towne was awarded the contract for development, Penstein said the company would start work on how to get and pay for sewer and water service for the homes and get houses built within a year.

If the negotiations are successful, County Administrative Officer John Ketelsen said he would bring a development agreement back for board approval.

hat does not necessarily eliminate any potential future agreement with another party for the remaining property,?Ketelsen said.

At the Jan. 16 board meeting, Susanville resident Ken Battson made a presentation for Reno-based Leader Construction.

Former Sierra Army Depot Commander Col. Paul Plemmons also spoke for Leader. Plemmons will join Leader marketing team in a few months when he retires from the Army.

Leader assigned two working names to the project that Battson said ill become the benchmark for future mixed communities,?the Mountain View Eco-Industrial Park and the Herlong Valley residential project. The eco-industrial park is a ustainable green-energy industrial park,?he said.

The eco-industrial park ability to offer fixed energy costs for 20 years would attract tenants, Battson said, and gain national recognition because the fixed costs offer a significant, strategic advantage for global competition. Creating 500-1,500 jobs, the industrial park will provide a sustainable tax base, Battson said.

In a typical industrial area, manufacturing and service businesses buy power from a local utility that produces electricity using natural gas to power turbines. Producing electricity with gas powered turbines generates 900 degree temperatures as a waste by-product and involves heavy overhead and operating costs, Battson said.

Leader plans to install heat exchangers to produce other forms of energy, including steam, high temperature hot water, potable hot water and two temperatures of chilled water.