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Business and Industry

Novato is home to more than 2,500 firms offering professional services, manufacturing, research and retail centers. Novato’s thriving economy is powered by a dynamic business community and a highly skilled workforce. Novato generated approximately $4 billion in gross city product in 2010, or about 20 percent of Marin County’s economy.

A Marin Economic Forum study also found “the number of jobs in Novato grew since 2002 by over 3,600 jobs while Marin County overall saw jobs fall by over 9,000 jobs,” adding, “a continuing labor market recovery is paramount to the forecasts for taxable sales.

“Novato is forecasted to … outperform Marin County in terms of job growth and commercial real estate … through this recovery period,” the report continued.

More than 600 firms are housed in the Bel Marin Keys industrial and commercial park. Another 400 businesses are located downtown radiating out from historic Grant Avenue. Both areas feature easy access off Hwy. 101 and convenient, free parking. Neighborhood shopping centers also serve primarily residential parts of town. Novato retains well-placed property available for development.

Banking and finance play a major role in the existing and future development of the city. Financial institutions, including Marin County-based Bank of Marin, regional banks like Umpqua Bank and Argent Bank, and large institutions including Bank of the West and WestAmerica Bank have full-service banking and investment specialists here. Credit Unions include Redwood Credit Union, Hamilton Federal Credit Union, Marin County and Marin County Federal Credit Union. Financial advisors and investment planners, accounting firms and established independent accountants and CPAs, practice in the diverse business environment of Novato.

• Economic Development and Business Climate With Novato hometown to notable institutions like Fireman’s Fund, College of Marin, Indian Valley Campus, BioMarin Pharmaceuticals and Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the city houses nearly half of the top 20 largest private-sector employers in Marin County.

Biotechnology research and development businesses such as BioMarin, Bio-Research Technologies, Raptor Pharmaceuticals and Ultragenyx, as well as nonprofit businesses such as the Marin Community Foundation, make their home in Novato, with concentration of these industries in Bel Marin and Hamilton Landing.

After the 2,200-acre Hamilton AFB was decommissioned in 1974, a private partnership began developing Hamilton in the 1990s. Hamilton is nearly built out with a half-million square feet of commercial space and over 1,000 homes. Hamilton’s renovated airplane hangers house an eclectic group of office tenants.

The Novato Chamber of Commerce and the city of Novato exercise a strong partnership and conduct a business retention program designed to keep existing businesses vital and profitable.

One resource available to Novato’s diverse business community is the Small Business Development Center, a Chamber partner. The experts at SBDC help people start a business or grow their existing company and provide low-cost workshops and free, confidential and results-oriented business counseling meetings. No-fee meetings are by appointment and held at the Chamber offices.

• Office Space and Industrial Sites There is approximately five million square feet of existing and occupied office, industrial and retail space in Novato. Both the private and public sectors have been aggressive in developing attractive and sophisticated office/industrial park centers.

Business Parks Bel Marin Keys 600 tenant, 2.2 million sq. ft. of office space. Home to BioMarin, CSW Stuber-Stroeh, and Ultragenyx.

Hamilton Landing Office Park 535,000 sq. ft. of office space Home to Marin Community Foundation and YMCA

Marin Business Center Class A: 124,600 sq. ft.

Woodside Office Center Class A: 89,000 sq. ft.

Multi-use Projects Millworks-Whole Foods 420,900 sq. ft. 124 condos, 155,400 sq. ft. residential real estate 100% occupancy

Whole Foods Retail 37,500 sq. ft. An anchor store to downtown businesses, residents

Novato Creek Landing (Landing Court) Class A: 29,000 sq. ft.

• Largest Shopping Centers Vintage Oaks — 581,000 sq. ft. Novato Fair — 120,000 sq. ft.
Hamilton Marketplace — 90,000 sq. ft.
The Square — 78,272 sq. ft.
Pacheco Plaza — 72,000 sq. ft.

Office & Industrial Space
Total — 3.5 million sq. ft.
Vacant — 423,000 sq. ft.

Retail Space
Total — 1,373,316 sq. ft.
Vacant — 47,803 sq. ft.

Largest Private Employers
Fireman’s Fund Insurance — 2,500
Marin Independent Journal — 320 Costco — 200

• Labor Force Characteristics
A highly educated workforce has been a major attraction for employers. More than 90 percent of the population are high school grads, 48 percent have some college experience, 25 percent have a four-year degree and 12 percent a post-graduate degree.

• MAJOR NOVATO EMPLOYERS
Company/Organization — Type of Industry — # of Employees Fireman’s Fund — Insurance — 1,100 Novato Unified School District — School District — 761 Cagwin & Dorward — Commercial Landscape Maintenance — 406 Novato Community Hospital — Hospital — 358 BioMarin Pharmaceuticals — Pharmaceuticals — 310 Brayton Purcell, LLP — Law Office — 274 Costco Wholesale — Bulk Food Outlet — 261 Safeway Stores — Grocery Market — 252 Target Store — Retail — 251 Buck Institute for Research on Aging — Research — 200

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