Thursday, October 9, 2008

Touro polishes design of Mare Island village

Siemens drops Touro ties
Touro polishes design of Mare Island village
By JESSICA A. YORK/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 10/09/2008

THE PEDESTRIAN MALL is shown in this drawing of Touro University's proposed campus expansion. (Courtesy illustration)

As Vallejo officials seek to rebuild a bankruptcy-torn city, an update on Touro University's proposed Mare Island development came as a welcome balm Tuesday.

Taking center stage on this week's Vallejo City Council meeting agenda, Touro officials laid out their newest conceptual designs for Touro Village. It is a development beyond the existing campus that will encompass a cutting-edge cancer treatment and research center.

The newest development plans came with disruptive news though, as Touro officials revealed that medical supply company Siemens would no longer have a stake in the project, and that officials were working on the company's replacement. (See related story at right).

Touro representatives said that unexpected turn of events had caused the school to make major changes in the last 60 days, including a redesign of the cancer center.

Planning Commission and council approval will be sought for an amendment to the project's unit plan, said city Planning Manager Don Hazen.

Touro officials expect the center to open its doors by the end of 2010.

The university village surrounding the cancer center, effectively project two in the university's development, will include student housing, recreation, a hotel, retail, research and development space, a village center and other amenities - all built at the highest level of current environmental standards.

Tom Wilson, the project's lead designer, said the development is expected to bring the city about 6,000 new jobs and 4,000 construction jobs. He added that the development was designed for the inclusion of all city residents.

"This is definitely a community asset to be shared," Wilson said.

Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes voiced concerns about how people would be transported between the existing university and the new development, and about a tower that "seems to be sticking out like a sore thumb" in the plans.

Overall, Gomes said, "This is going to be one of the best things to happen in a long time."

• Contact Jessica A. York at 553-6834 or at