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Southern Land Co. Expands To The West Coast

The Nashville, Tennessee-based developer of one of the Bay Area's largest projects is officially setting up shop in the Golden State.

Mare Island

Southern Land Co. has opened new offices on Mare Island, where it expects to develop a massive mixed-use project, and it has chosen real estate veteran Tom D'Alesandro to oversee development as the company's new president of West Coast operations.

D'Alesandro, who started on April 1, spent about 10 years leading Blakefield, a development consultancy firm he founded, and also held senior roles with McShane Development Co. and General Growth Properties

He now leads Southern Land Co.'s first California project, one still in its infancy. The 800-acre swath of land being looked at for development is entitled for 1,400 units, 350 of which have already been built as single-family homes by previous owner Lennar.

But Southern Land Co. and the landowners that selected it to lead the project are working on crafting a new master plan with the city of Vallejo

In February, joint venture The Nimitz Group, which includes Tenessee billionaire Gaylon Lawrence Jr., Napa winemaker Dave Phinney and Depiction Wines owner Sebastian Lane, chose Southern Land Co. to lead development at Mare Island.

The goal is to make the 5,000-acre Vallejo peninsula a regional destination, D'Alesandro told Bisnow. In November, Phinney told the San Francisco Chronicle The Nimitz Group anticipates Mare Island holding “tens of thousands” of residential units and upward of 1,000 businesses. 

“There’s an opportunity for a variety of uses,” D'Alesandro said. “We’re not just looking at residential and office, but we’re also looking at hospitality, education, entertainment, dining, retail and civic uses. We’re really trying to find the blend that makes the most sense.”

Southern Land Co. has an 18-project pipeline it says is valued at over $2B. Founded in 1986, it has regional offices in New York City and Denver along with its Nashville HQ. 

D'Alesandro's past work includes overseeing master-planned communities and mixed-use town centers like Reston Town Center in Virginia and Thomas Ranch, Texas.

“His body of work throughout the United States makes him the perfect candidate to help Vallejo realize its dreams for Mare Island,” Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff said in a statement.