City Property for Sale?

What do you think would be the best uses for these parcels?

Across Redwood City, the city owns millions of square feet of property. The city took inventory of its properties and highlighted parcels that developers could be interested in.

A facilitator from San Jose led a city council study session to help identify options for the properties. Kip Harkness used a discussion matrix that asked councilmembers’ where they stood on issues like time horizon, risk tolerance, speed and revenue to the city.

Economic Development Director Bill Ekern specifically identified five examples that the city could look to sell.


Parcel Total Acreage Address   City Hall Parking Lot 1.32 1017 Middlefield Road Downtown Library Parking Lot 1 1044 Middlefield Road Jefferson Avenue Properties 0.41 Jefferson Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Wilson Avenue and Franklin Street Altamont Way Property 0.17 Altamont Way and Midfield Way in Emerald Hills Inner Harbor Properties 9.65 the Bair Island Aquatic Center land, near Maple Street

From the audience, developer Kirk McKinney was already interested in helping Juanita Casillas, the owner of the , purchasing the Jefferson Avenue property.


The “Best” “Public Good”

Harkness further probed into councilmembers’ desires of how these properties could ultimately serve the public good.

 “It really depends what it is,” said Councilmember Jeff Ira. “I wouldn’t sell city hall, but any parking lot is up for grabs if something better happens.”

He added that securing parking elsewhere would also be important.

Councilmember Ian Bain noted that there are several city-owned properties that are currently not benefitting the public good and that could be sold to bolster the city’s purse.

There should also be an examination of certain parcels, Vice Mayor Jeff Gee said, that are meant for public good, like parks, but could be more effective in another location.

With the term “best use” and “public good” being dropped in several councilmembers’ comments, resident Carol Wong asked that the city clearly define “best use” when making these decisions. Residents deserved to know how these decisions were being made, she said.

Resident James Jonas also asked that more visual information, such as a map of the properties, be available so there could be more public involvement and suggestions to the council.

Regarding the nebulous definition of “best use,” Councilmember Rosanne Foust noted that the charter was amended so that the city was not obligated to award any contractor to the highest bidder. The council could factor in the usage of a parcel of land, for example. This prevented “best use” being associated with the highest revenue for the city.

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Sarah H. February 28, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Why on earth would they sell the City Hall Parking Lot and the Library Parking Lot? If they would even consider putting something there other than, say parking, I would seriously lose all faith in our city leaders. Also, I like how the caption under the map of the Altamont Way parcel says that they would "prefer" to keep this residential piece of property residential. Well, yeah. What do they think, they're going to put a 7-11 there? The only piece of property that seems like a no-brainer is the Jefferson property that the bakery is interested in.
Jean Isaacs March 01, 2012 at 06:13 AM
I agree with the previous comment - I wonder where the council members think people are supposed to park if they sell off the city hall parking lot and the one adjacent to the library? The council members have focused on developing the downtown area but then would remove a large number of the parking spaces. Are they trying to discourage patronage in downtown and at the library? Already they have made it more cumbersome by charging for parking at the library which most neighboring cities do not do - I understand the City of Redwood is looking everywhere it can for money - but to take away parking that serves the citizens of Redwood City or visitors who come to our city and visit our downtown stores, restaurants and library - just seems like a slap in the face - one gets the sense that the city council members don't really think of the practical impacts of a short-sighted idea like this. Message to Council members - please re-think this one!


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