It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Sustainable Fairview development. I decided it’s time to send a classified ad into cyberspace, as above. True, as a mere investor in Sustainable Fairview Associates (SFA), I’m not authorized to represent the property. But I can pretty much assure anyone out there who has both Green leanings and $13 million or so of the green stuff: no reasonable offer will be refused.
Yesterday I asked Sam Hall, managing member of SFA, some questions about how things are going. This being a privately held limited liability company, I’m duty bound to keep details of the answers confidential.
Let’s just say that there still are plenty of opportunities for a well-heeled developer, investor, philanthropist, environmentalist, or plain person to get involved with an exceedingly rare opportunity: 275 acres within Salem’s urban growth boundary that contain 700,000 square feet of existing buildings and some of the best Cascades/Valley views imaginable. Plans are afoot to sell several parcels, yet most of the property is still available for purchase from SFA.
I’ve been writing about Fairview for quite a while (see “Sustainability” category). I’m frustrated with SFA’s lack of progress, much of which I believe can be attributed to management errors and lack of expertise. The potential for a world-class sustainable development is still very much alive though. Rezoning with the City of Salem is almost complete. A land-use appeal has been decided in SFA’s favor. Interest remains high among people wanting to live or work at Fairview (I frequently am asked, “When can I buy a lot there?” or “When can I move my business there?”)
What Sustainable Fairview lacks, most of all, is someone with Guts and Vision and Money who wants to do something that has never been done on such a scale before. Cautious small thinking has been stifling this project, along with a lack of $$$. So, come on, all you multi-millionaires out there who are looking to support a legacy that will live on after you’re gone, and who want to put their money to use in a fashion that promises both a high return on investment and a high return for the planet.
Back in October 2003 I was part of a group, Eco-Enterprises, Inc., that put together an innovative proposal for developing Fairview. We wanted to leave the land in a Community Land Trust, and use ongoing rents from the permanently leased land to generate sustainable revenue streams. Eco-Enterprises faded away when we couldn’t secure funding to gain control of Fairview. But the dream lives on. I’ll post some excerpts from our proposal both for historical interest and as an example of the sort of creative outside-the-box vision that Fairview sorely needs. Download eei_business_plan_excerpts.doc
Some of the proposal details no longer apply, given the changes that have occurred in the past nine months. It’s the big picture that is important, not the details. If I had ten to twenty million dollars lying around that I was looking to put to use (I can only wish…), this is exactly the sort of business opportunity I’d jump at: unique, creative, Green, potentially highly profitable, cutting-edge, and, yes, fun.
Bring the right person or firm together with these 275 acres and sustainable sparks will fly. Soon, a bonfire. The warmth and light will draw people from all over the world. Guaranteed. All that is needed are some million dollar matches.