Monday, July 30, 2007

Railyards Project, Part Two

The man at the head of the company in charge of the development has been here before.

Gambling Man: Stan Thomas in Vegas
By Ted Johnson

CALVIN COOLIDGE SAID the business of America is business, and when the business of America wants to meet to do a lot of business, there’s only one place to go — Las Vegas. Its incessant ching-a-ling-ling provides the perfect backdrop to the International Conference of Shopping Centers, which gathers the world’s largest developers, financial institutions and myriad public agencies for the chance to meet up and get down to business.

The Las Vegas ICSC houses hundreds of companies that, to a great degree, power our $13 trillion economy. In the ICSC it’s common for people to say to someone they just met, “I need a $100 million bridge loan,” with nary a blink.

During the ICSC Stan Thomas moves from table to table, overseeing deals and projects, luring potential lessees to his buildings. The Thomas Enterprises booth is a freeway of people who constantly drop by to talk deals (“Mr. Thomas, these are the Marriott people.”) But it’s also the only way to have a chance to meet the man who might have as much to say about the way Sacramento looks in 25 years as did John Sutter in 1849.

“He basically works all the time,” says Bill Brown, a former VP under Thomas who has left to run his own firm, Forum Development, which does projects with Thomas Enterprises. “His way of relaxing or taking time off is to fly his jets.” There are three company jets and two helicopters, all used for business, so Thomas or his employees can be at any spot in the country in hours. After Las Vegas, Thomas flew to his cattle ranch outside Jackson, Wyo.