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Rohnert Park city officials took a big step toward a future downtown this month when the city’s $12.5 million offer was accepted on a 30-acre parcel at the corner of Rohnert Park Expressway and State Farm Drive.

The City Council approved the purchase at an April 20 special meeting.

“This is a bold step toward creating downtown Rohnert Park,” said Mayor Jackie Elward in a city news release. “With this purchase we are taking charge of our destiny.”

The most recent appraisal from August 2021 valued the property at $20 million, if it were developed consistent with the current approvals and entitlements, according to the city’s statement.

The land formerly housed State Farm Insurance offices until it was sold to a developer in 2017 with plans to turn the site into a mixed-use commercial project with apartments, office space and a hotel. The former building was demolished, but economic conditions changed and the project never happened. The developer announced plans to sell the property in 2021.

A surplus in the city’s general fund and cash on hand will fund the purchase, according to the news release, which added that the city also could obtain grants to offset some of the costs.

“We’ve been working for a downtown for years,” Councilmember Pam Stafford said. “We’ve approved plans and built infrastructure, and we’re still waiting. The time has come to blaze our own path.”

A video of the City Council’s special meeting can be viewed online.