Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

City positions for $600,000 loss in sale of downtown Fairfield land

By
From page A9 | December 04, 2013 | 7 Comments

FAIRFIELD — Two downtown properties the Fairfield Redevelopment Agency bought for $750,000 nearly a decade ago should be sold for $150,000 to a Los Angeles County-based developer, a city panel agreed Tuesday.

Titan Real Estate Investments plans retail uses for the two 6,000-square-foot lots along Texas Street across from the Fairfield Center for Creative Arts. City Council members serve as directors of the city’s Successor Agency to redevelopment and voted unanimously Tuesday for the sale that must also go before a city oversight board and the state Department of Finance.

Councilman John Mraz said he had opposed buying the properties in 2005 and 2006.

“We lost $600,000,” he said. “It’s gone.”

“We really took a beating,” Mraz added.

Karl Dumas, city senior economic development project manager, said before the vote that redevelopment bought the lots with two houses to address blight. Prices for properties have dropped since, he said.

“The real estate market was moving hot and heavy,” he said. “Things have changed.”

Councilwoman Catherine Moy said the properties at 1026 and 1046 Texas St. provide a lesson.

“City government shouldn’t be in the business of buying land,” she said. “It’s this kind of deal that made people who opposed redevelopment so angry.”

A 2011 state law abolished redevelopment agencies. California requires the sale of most properties owned by former redevelopment agencies. The Texas Street lots would be the first such sales for Fairfield.

City planning commissioners found in June that the sale proposal conforms to the city’s General Plan. Along with the state and the Fairfield agency, the Oversight Board for the city agency formed after redevelopment’s end, has to approve the sale. Mayor Harry Price, Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering and community members serve on the seven-member Oversight Board.

John Takeuchi of the Central Solano Citizen-Taxpayer Group said after the Tuesday vote that the taxpayers association opposed redevelopment from the beginning.

“You’re building a house of cards,” he said of the city buying properties.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

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Discussion | 7 comments

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  • Larry PattersonDecember 04, 2013 - 6:13 am

    Karl Dumas, city senior economic development project manager, said before the vote that redevelopment bought the lots with two houses to address blight. Prices for properties have dropped since, he said. Is Mr. Dumas serious.....Redevelopment bought the houses address blight...How about legal actions against the owners to force them to deal with their own problems...then he goes on to say that prices of the property has dropped....SO are you telling us that the hidden agenda was really for profit and the city got caught with their pants down....because like most every other speculator they didn't believe the market bubble would burst! Again I say, Thank you to our elected officials for your concern for the tax payers of the city. One former council member stated to me one year that the city was one of the largest real estate holders in the city limits and this person did not think the city should be in that position....Good Point

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • innovationinstitutellcDecember 04, 2013 - 6:22 am

    While nobody wants to lose money, consider this. An improved downtown will attract more visitors. More visitors means more money spent downtown. More money spent downtown means a bigger tax base. So in the long run we will have more income. In conclusion, the real estate purchase might be a loss in the short term, and a profit to the city tax coffers in the long run.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksDecember 04, 2013 - 6:48 am

    West Texas Street from I-80 to the curve needs total renovation. Tearing out the streets and sidewalks downtown, getting rid of those hideous planters, freshening up storefronts, and revamping a parking plan that welcomes customers. A potential revenue source for those projects along with other costly city maintenance and PD involvement just took the "last hit."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Larry PattersonDecember 04, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    In reading one of the responses, I have lived in this community for 30 years, I was here when the city built the awful theater downtown, added the new lighting, pavers and planters. All with the intent that it would attract more shoppers downtown and create more revenue for the city. I have even listened to those that believe that the entrance to West Texas St off of 80 should be renovated as it is the first thing people see when the get off of 80. The County Admin building is one of the most impressive facilities downtown and has encouraged some renovation to facilities close to the Govt. Ctr. but not enough to make downtown a thriving area of the community where people gather. We have spent money on updating downtown and we still struggle with brining people downtown.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodDecember 04, 2013 - 11:21 pm

    Are you suggesting something new, or that we give up? Come join us volunteers who are trying to make downtown as classy as it can be while spending a lot less money. We'd like to hear your ideas

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FreddieDecember 04, 2013 - 6:48 am

    "We really took a beating"...Gee Mraz & who's to blame...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • John biletnikoffDecember 04, 2013 - 6:43 pm

    Glad our leaders have our best interest. I hope people remember this when they go to the polls next time. What say we take it out of their salaries. Also so glad people voted for the tax increase that way our leaders can great deals like this one while our roads and schools go to crap.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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