Christopher Rosacker
crosacker@theunion.com

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Grass Valley moves 3 downtown property sales ahead

Grass Valley’s city council moved forward Tuesday toward the sale of three downtown properties initially accumulated as part of a plan to revamp that historic part of town.

“We will try to get the highest and best values for these properties,” said interim City Manager Jeff Foltz. “That could happen over time or it could happen quickly.”

The move to dispose of the properties is tied to redevelopment agencies, which were established after World War II to combat urban blight. When Gov. Jerry Brown dismantled the more than 400 redevelopment agencies statewide in 2011 to relieve pressure on the state’s general fund, cities like Grass Valley dissolved their local redevelopment agencies and transferred assets to successor agencies.

The properties poised for sale are located at 161 1/2 S. Auburn St., 168 S. Auburn St. and 114-116 Neal St.

Grass Valley staff estimates the properties range in value from $31,594 to $65,430, Foltz noted in a report.

“People always wonder why we bought these properties as a city,” said Councilman Howard Levine. “Part of it was to align (them) with adjacent properties and help create a parking master plan.”

Purchased for $395,000 in February 2008, 161 1/2 S. Auburn St. is a small parcel of property located between City Hall and the Holiday Inn Express, according to city documents. The dilapidated buildings were demolished in February 2008, and the property is currently vacant and fenced.

Not far away, 168 S. Auburn St. is a parking lot used for monthly permitted parking for downtown workers, which generates approximately $1,700 annually to the city in revenue — though the city’s revenue does not cover the cost of managing the lot, a city report states.

The 168 S. Auburn St. site is also contaminated with lead and arsenic and is therefore not suitable for resale, noted a report by Fraser & Associates, a redevelopment consulting group. The site was owned by the city when the former redevelopment agency purchased it in June 2009 for $250,000. It was eyed as a crucial component of redesigning the South Auburn and Neal streets intersection, which the former RDA had begun to design.

“The redesign and improvement of this intersection is integral to the future of the downtown business district as it serves as its primary entrance, and it would facilitate the continued future redevelopment of the South Auburn Street corridor by the private sector,” noted the consultants.

Lastly, 114-116 Neal St. was home to Tribal Weaver before the import store moved to Mill Street in 2006. The property was purchased in June 2009 for $455,000 with bond funds for the purpose of creating a parking lot per the 2000 bond documents, according to the city.

The city hopes to sell the properties as part of a request for proposal process to have them developed privately but in accordance with previously envisioned plans for that corner of the downtown area, notes the Long Range Property Management Plan the council members adopted Tuesday.

“I think the opportunities we are looking for to find the best and highest use and come up with some requests for proposals is very appropriate,” Levine said.

With council’s approval Tuesday, the plan will be considered next by the Grass Valley Oversight Board, which is scheduled to consider the sales at its Nov. 5 meeting, followed by final approval by the state, Foltz said. “Once we get approval from the state department of finance, the properties could … be put up for sale and disposed of at our discretion,” he said.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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The Union Updated Nov 5, 2013 05:36PM Published Nov 1, 2013 12:31PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.