R.I.P. Robert "Buzz" Pauley
Downtown business booster Robert "Buzz" Pauley died in a Glen Ellen car crash early Friday morning, according to a Press Democrat front page story today. The son of Edwin Pauley of Pauley Petroleum, he grew up in Beverly Hills, and moved to Kenwood in 1982.
He was a founding director of Sonoma National Bank in 1985, and once its largest stockholder. His fellow directors included Clem Carinalli and Dennis Hunter [North Bay Corporation, Redwood Equities], William Gallaher [First Community Bank, Aegis Senior Communities/Varenna, Fountaingrove Golf & Athletic Club], William E. Geary [Geary, Shea, O'Donnell & Grattan], Chairman James B. Keegan, and bank president Debbie Meekins.
Pauley owned the northwest end of the D Street block between Second and Third Street, best known as the site of Kinko's. He proposed to develop a mixed-use highrise project called The Rises there. It depended on the City's building a supporting highrise parking garage on the White House parking lot to the east.
Pauley recently sold the property, and the new owners reportedly plan to build The Rises. The City Council just renewed its plans for the garage, after new proposals in December from developer Hugh Futrell, the Monahan-Pacific Corp. of San Rafael, and the Samuelson Schafer company of Mill Valley. [See below, "New Council plan for parking garage proposals reeks of private decisions", 1/31/05]
Today's PD story quoted Sonoma National chairman Keegan, saying "Pauley was committed to the city's development. He said Pauley's passion was to move the city closer to the urban village concept where shops, residential space and offices were intermixed. Pauley believed mixed use of urban space would pump new life and vitality into the downtown core."
Pauley was a member of CityVision's executive committee when it was a private organization, before the Council and CV invited the American Institute of Architects Rural/Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) that visited the Downtown in 1998. Then he was on the R/UDAT Steering Committee, and donated to support the visit.
CityVision later became a Council-funded nonprofit, and Pauley was on its Advisory Board in 1999/00. If I recall correctly, he covered $40,000 of CityVision's debts as a private organization, and provided office space on D Street for several years.
The PD story said, "Because of his property holdings downtown, Pauley was an ardent supporter of the reunification of Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa. Last year, he donated $125,000 toward the reunification project, which would create a true downtown plaza similar to those in Wine Country cities like Healdsburg and Sonoma."
Pauley reportedly was no longer involved in The Rises project. Time will tell whether his death will hinder other Downtown projects he supported, such as reunification of Courthouse Square.