With a 5-0 vote, the council approved the sale of Lot 7, a 16.75-acre parcel, to Lassen Canyon Nursery for $840,000.
“If we could drink, we’d have champagne here tonight, I tell yuh,” a smiling Mayor Francie Sullivan said as she asked City Manager Kurt Starman to present “the happiest news of the evening.”
Redding-based Lassen Canyon Nursery is an internationally known producer of strawberry plants for commercial growers and home gardeners. Last fall it sold 215 million strawberry plants to growers in Northern California and the southeast United States. It sold almost that many plants from its second harvest to customers in central and southern California.
In business for 50 years, the nursery has outgrown its location on Salmon Creek Road. It plans to relocate its headquarters to the new Stillwater Business Park parcel and expand its raspberry and blackberry divisions, which will create more than 20 jobs. In addition to a 20,000-square-foot corporate office, the nursery also plans to build a 30,000-square-foot cooler and a shipping/receiving office that will require an additional four new employees.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.
“This is an outstanding success story. Lassen Canyon Nursery is known worldwide and we should be so proud that they have chosen to move their corporate office to Stillwater,” said Pat Keener, the city’s economic development liaison for Stillwater.
Keener worked closely with nursery co-owners Kenny Elwood Jr. and Liz Elwood-Ponce and their management team to facilitate the sale. Starman, Keener and council members also credited Mark Lascelles, head of the Shasta County Economic Development Corporation, and Voit Real Estate Services, the firm hired to market Stillwater lots.
The 700-acre business park, which has cost some $23 million and counting, has sat idle since its ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2010. It is located along Stillwater Creek east of Redding Municipal Airport.
“We can’t thank you enough and we wish you well,” Mayor Sullivan said, after the owners made brief remarks. “Thank you so much,” Councilman Gary Cadd added. “Hopefully we can find you some neighbors.”
In other action Tuesday, the council:
-- Voted 5-0 to approve a five-year contract with Haven Humane Society to continue providing animal regulation and shelter services, including dog licensing. The city will pay the nonprofit shelter $645,660 a year, with an annual adjustment tied to the Consumer Price Index.
Haven Humane, in turn, agrees to provide 24-7 animal regulation patrol, operate a well-maintained shelter, work with city staff members on dangerous dog hearings, provide at least one low-cost rabies clinic each year and pick up and dispose of dead animals on public roadways.
Redding entered into a contract with Haven in 2009 and “it’s been a very effective public-private partnership,” Deputy City Manager Greg Clark said.