Future of PG and E facility still uncertain

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WINTERS — Officials believe there’s about an 85 percent chance that PG&E will decide to build its state-of-the-art natural gas line training facility in Winters, but the utility hasn’t yet made its decision.

Winters residents, businesses and city staff have embraced the proposed facility as a boon to local business and the environment.

City Manager John Donlevy says city and PG&E staff met as recently as last week, and he expects a decision soon.

“The magic’s gonna be either next week, or the following week,” Donlevy said, referring to the chain reaction that is anticipated with the construction of the project, including improvements to the Putah Creek Nature Park Trail, the construction of a downtown boutique hotel and the possible construction of one or more hotels near the Chevron station on East Grant Avenue.

Donlevy says PG&E is still in the “due diligence” stage, examining every angle of the project proposed for two pieces of property on East Grant Avenue, from traffic to environmental concerns.
Donlevy confirmed that PG&E has been considering other sites for the facility, but he thinks Winters’ chances are still excellent, estimating “about 85 percent chance that they will come here.”
“Winters is still the preferred location,” he said.

If all the wrinkles are smoothed out and the project goes forward as hoped, Donlevy expects the facility would break ground late next summer. The construction schedule then would affect plans for new hotels.
“We know that Winters can support at least one hotel,” he said. “The ability to support two without the PG&E facility would probably be an issue.”
The downtown hotel project likely would proceed even if PG&E locates elsewhere, Donlevy said.
“The highest priority is the downtown hotel,” he said. “We want the downtown project. Most likely, anything that goes downtown will be small — 50 rooms, versus anything that goes out by freeway will probably be 70 or more.”

Hotels considered to be in the running for the downtown project are Royal Guest Hotels, which operate Aggie Inn, the Palm Court Hotel and Café Bernardo in Davis.

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