Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marc Beauchamp Lunches With John Troughton, Redding's Stillwater Business Park Promoter (Non-Green) and Still Empty

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Lunching with Redding's "70 million dollar man"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A lot's riding on John Troughton -- Redding's potentially $70 million investment in
Stillwater Business Park. Over lunch recently, at Tapas Downtown, my first question was going to be if he's got any hot prospects (the first phase of the park is supposed to be done later this year). But City Councilman Dick Dickerson, lunching at a nearby table, pre-empted me. Troughton shrugged. Not yet, he said.

The day we dined was the first day of his second year-long contract with the city of Redding. The Cushman & Wakefield senior director stands to earn a six percent commission on any property he sells at the park.

Troughton claims he's already spent $100,000 of his own money on marketing Stillwater, the money paying for marketing materials, multiple trips to New York and booth space at conferences catering to private equity firms like KKR, which Troughton believes are the key to filling up Stillwater. "I'm a shareholder in Cushman & Wakefield, so don't feel too badly for me," he said of his out-of-pocket expenses, later pointing to his Hummer parked outside.

Stillwater "is such a great opportunity -- for all of northern California and California itself," he said.

It's also an opportunity for Troughton, a resident of Hercules in the Bay Area, to spend more time fishing in Castella, where he and his parents own second homes.

Troughton attended business school at the University of California at Berkeley before dropping out to take part in a leveraged buy-out. He later got into property development, including business parks.

"I always wanted to have my own business park," he said. His goal for Stillwater (besides the financial returns): "I want to roll out of here with a big ass proclamation that I brought a lot of jobs, good companies with good jobs, long-term companies that can build on themselves." During lunch he pulled from a folder letters and proclamations he received from the cities of Richmond, Hercules, Pinole and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. He also proudly handed me Xerox copies of photos of him with Karl Rove, Magic Johnson and Robert Reich at a private equity conference.

As much as Stillwater he talked about something called over-cross-collateralization of business properties, which, he's written, can lead to urban blight.

You never know where you're going to run into a likely Stillwater tenant he said. It could be at a private equity conference in Chicago. It could be someone who picks up a Stillwater promotional card while staying at a Redding motel. Or it could be someone at Dunsmuir's Railroad Days, where he plans to have a booth.

His takeaway message: We need to lower expectations about Stillwater filling up quickly. "We're months and months and months away" from landing the first prospect, he said. "Set the expectations right. You work your ass off and the whole community needs to get involved and you're lucky if you do a deal in the first year. Business parks take decades to do."

Rounding up prospects is one thing, choosing the right ones is another, he said. "What's the best choice? A call center that could be outsourced to India? A server farm that might have only four employees?" He believes private equity firms will see the economic wisdom of Stillwater's "shovel-ready" sites in a tax-advantaged economic enterprise zone for light manufacturing, light distribution or perhaps medical equipment assembly. "I don't want to shoo anyone away," he said.

Several times he expressed frustration that Forbes and Business Week magazines have so far resisted doing stories on Stillwater and "this forward-looking town spending $70 million in a recession" on such a great project.
Comments

Posted by hfretwell on June 23, 2009 at 10:41 a.m.

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Do you see anything wrong with this? $70 mil in taxpayer dollars being spent on a project 10 years in the making and in those 10 years we have yet to identify ONE SINGE PROSPECT?! Did anyone at the city do a market study? Over a decade now this has been in the pipeline and again I say, "NOT ONE SINGLE PROSPECT?!" I don't know about you, but if I were a sales manager, I would either ask for a different product, fire my sales crew or update my resume.

Posted by citizenactivist on June 23, 2009 at 3:03 p.m.

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Perhaps a Green Approach to the industrial park will turn the project into something more exciting, that is, unless the owners have already sold out to REU, because these past weeks REU's plans for the city, involving more of the same failed energy policies of the past, have become clear. They are in bed with the power brokers of TANC, Hauser on the board of directors? What about his position representing the people of Redding Electric Utility?

It is no accident that our energy policies, like the failed policies of GM, are going to affect all other projects now and that come in the future. That cheap REU monthly utility bill, is about to become very expensive. So far it's over $400 Million, but folks, that will look like the tip of an ice berg and our city is the Titantic. Hauser and his power broker buddies, and The Kent Daggs of the county, if he escapes prison, will go the way that the PG&E brass did during the deregulation fraud, they played out on the people of the State of California, the PUC and Gov. Gray Davis. Retired to the beaches of the world._Green Earl

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2 comments:

American Energy Conservation Group said...

A letter addressed to me by a Brazilian Renewable Energy Promoter was posted here in a previous post and has received, so far, over thirty unique visitors to this site...Looks like my worldwide readers are very interested in project investments...In that case, perhaps I should post more of them here...YOU THINK?_Green Earl

I just posted it on a lark as I was a little busy to help out the project, this minute, so I figured what the hey...Glad his proposal is getting some play here.

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