City unveils Quarry Village

Retail development concept could move historic buildings around Quinn Quarry
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Even as the fate of the Big Gun Quarry property remains unresolved, the city is moving forward on a development plan for the adjacent Quinn Quarry. The city’s concept, which is in the early planning stages, seeks a boutique infill project that is designed to spur growth in the downtown area. Right now, a fence surrounds the water-filled 1873 quarry pit named after its original owner William Quinn. The site is located behind the Rocklin Police headquarters off Winding Way. According to the city’s website, granite quarried from this area was used in the Monterey breakwater. The city hopes to develop the lakefront property as the center as well as a backdrop for a retail development of boutique shops and restaurants housed in recovered and relocated historic buildings from Rocklin’s past. The vision is to compete with destinations like Auburn’s Old Town district or the Fountains in Roseville. “I want to make sure it blends nicely together,” Mayor George Magnuson said of the plan during Tuesday’s council workshop. Council member Brett Storey expressed skepticism that a developer would be interested in the concept. “If we can’t get people to understand that then we need to think about what’s next for that piece of land. Maybe that’s completely different,” Storey said. Storey asked for time to structure a potential plan for what he called “qualified developers.” “All I’m asking for is time to structure this thing,” he said. “I think there are greater things for staff to do right now.” At a previous meeting, Storey had been unwilling to give the Rocklin Historical Society additional time to solicit support for a similar concept for the Big Gun Quarry site on Pacific Street. Rocklin Historical Society member Gene Johnson, who attended this week’s workshop expressed support for the Quarry Village project. “I believe the historic sheds and artifacts and the Quarry Village will complement one another — creating a whole much greater than the sum of the parts,” Johnson said. According to city documents, portions of the adjacent Big Gun Quarry property could be included in the development plan as soon as the legal challenge of the state’s redevelopment agencies is determined by the California Supreme Court. The city of Rocklin is hoping potential developers will bite on the fact that the property is owned outright by the city, giving them a land lease opportunity during the current economic downturn. “How do we capitalize on publicly owned property to begin to show return,” said City Manager Rick Horst. “At the same time, it has a park feel, preserves our historical heritage of granite mining and other such things, yet builds a place that is somewhat of a destination spot.” Council members are hopeful that developers would support the proposed Civic Center Boulevard, which would link the project to Pacific Street. “It looks great on paper,” Storey said. “If I had a home near there I would go to this place. By the same token, I want to make sure this is feasible before we invest a lot into it.” Council member Scott Yuill said the plan is a step in the right direction. “Sometimes you have to put a sign up that says ‘open for business’,” Yuill said. A committee of two council members has been proposed to work with city staff on a specific plan to present to developers by next summer.