Rohnert Park downtown still in the works

Rohnert Park is only two short years away from having a luxury downtown area that will offer housing, office spaces, dining and shopping. Citizens and students are eager to experience the space. “Station Avenue is a unique opportunity for the city of Rohnert Park to develop a downtown for everyone,” the mayor of the city of Rohnert Park, Pam Stafford said. “It is offering us the chance to have housing near the rail line and a downtown with living, working, shopping and restaurants.” 

The website for this development explained a little more about this area, “As the premier development in Rohnert Park’s new downtown, Station Avenue, a 32-acre mixed-use transit oriented development, is designed around the 18-hour day - where life doesn’t stop before, during, or after work. Station Avenue will celebrate its grand opening in fall 2020.” This development should be a big change for the city, which currently has no downtown. 

Station Avenue will offer a new downtown experience for Rohnert Park citizens and visitors.

City council members are excited to introduce this new establishment. “The City is very excited to have this wonderful opportunity to work with a company with a great reputation in developing beautiful and suitable properties,” Stafford said. 

As of now, Cotati is the closest thing that residents of Rohnert Park would consider to be their downtown. 

“I would love to see a nice downtown area especially being a student at SSU, it would make the town have a more “college” town feeling,” Alexa Woo a junior at Sonoma State, said. “Having a college town experience was something that I felt I had to sacrifice when choosing SSU so building a downtown area where this could be created, would then give that feeling to future SSU students which would essentially make the university much more enticing when choosing colleges.” she also said “I am excited, even though I will be graduated I still can’t wait to see what it brings to Rohnert Park.” 

This new downtown experience will help connect the city to all the destinations the new SMART train currently travels through. Having a station right at the heart of Rohnert Park will help connect the residents and student residents to jobs, education and shopping, according to the Station Avenue website. The mayor of Rohnert Park said “The SMART train will eventually reach the city of Cloverdale north.” this expansion of the SMART train railway will help connect Rohnert Park with the Bay Area, and other cities throughout Northern California. 

“The property that this project is being developed on is independently owned, and does not belong to the City of Rohnert Park.  It was for many years the regional offices for State Farm Insurance.  When they closed and left they sold the property to a developer who failed to do anything with the property,” Stafford said. “Last year it was sold to Laulima who are proposing the development for a downtown.” 

The opportunities that this new downtown will offer are varied, with the large area to work with. According to the website “As the heart of Rohnert Park’s new walkable downtown, Station Avenue will feature a curated mix of 130,000 square feet of cafes, restaurants, specialty retail shops, entertainment and essential service in an environment never before experienced in Sonoma County.” 

Station Avenue will provide opportunities for students and other members of the community to find new jobs and housing. “This development will benefit students because it will give them an opportunity to live and work in a walkable space. There will be many job opportunities for students and others because of the office, retail and restaurants that will be part of this,” Stafford said

Sonoma State student Alexa Woo said “I think more job opportunities are a necessity especially around a college. Having a downtown area where there are more opportunities would get students much more involved with the community making us all more knowledgeable about Rohnert Park and excited about events happening here.” 

The Station Avenue website provides a countdown till the opening of the development and today it marks 24 months and 12 days. Yet, according to the city mayor, “There is no specific date for the opening since they haven’t received the final approvals for the development.”