Renewing Oldtown

Salinas City Councilman Steve McShane announced a downtown vibrancy plan in March with the partly-completed Taylor building in the background.

Oldtown Salinas is rising, sidewalks are bustling with revelers on Friday and Saturday nights, and construction on buildings is moving along.

The proud centerpiece of what’s new: A block-wide, three-story building at 150 Main St., the new headquarters of produce giant Taylor Farms. The company is also restoring an old two-story building at 215 S. Main St. and acquired an old firehouse at 210 Salinas St. from the city for $400,000 in March.

As Taylor becomes an increasingly significant Oldtown Salinas property holder, a new corporation, Taylor Salinas Property Management Co., registered April 7 in Delaware. That spin-off purchased 150 Main St. from Taylor Fresh Foods for $37.8 million, according to a deed recorded April 30.

“Nothing has changed [as far as property management],” says Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, vice president for community development at Taylor Farms.

What has changed is the value. In 2014, with the building only partly constructed, the county assessor’s office valued the property at $9.1 million. For this transaction, Taylor Salinas Property Management Co. took out a $23.4 million loan, which the company can use as a tax write-off.

Taylor plans to open 150 Main by July 8, when an ag-technology conference is planned by Forbes and investment firm Silicon Valley Global Partners.

On April 22, trade association and lobbyist Western Growers Association, headquartered in Irvine, signed on as a conference partner and announced plans to open an office on the first floor of the new Taylor building. The location will be called the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology.

Green Giant has also asked the city about parking options if it relocates its headquarters to 150 Main.

“This building is nothing short of a small miracle that changes our belief in downtown,” City Property Manager Don Reynolds says.

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