It has been 17 years and 309 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
PLEASE NOTE: SINCE THE INCEPTION OF MY BLOG I HAVE REACHED ANOTHER MILESTONE. AS OF NOVEMBER 4, 2015 THERE HAVE BEEN OVER 300,000 READS OF MY BLOGS. MY THANKS GOES OUT TO ALL WHO HAVE SIGNED UP TO RECEIVE THEM ON A REGULAR BASIS AND A SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL WHO HATE MY COMMENTARY BUT KEEP COMING BACK TO FIND OUT WHAT I AM SHARING ABOUT GLENDALE AND ITS PLAYERS.
On October 20, 2015 at city council workshop council was presented with a menu of city properties that could be sold. Amazingly, not one…let me repeat that, not one property was put on the block.
Cushman & Wakefield, the city’s consultant, proposed the possible sale of nine city owned facilities:
- Water services lot at the northeast corner of 99th Avenue and Bethany Home Road for $7.5 million
- Glen Lakes Golf Course at 54th Avenue and Northern Avenue for $5.2 million
- Desert Mirage Golf Course at 87th Avenue and Maryland Avenue for $450,000
- St. Vincent de Paul Thrift store in downtown Glendale for $300,000
- Thunderbird Lounge and adjoining properties in downtown Glendale for $545,000 to $727,000
- Bead Museum in downtown Glendale for $400,000 to $500,000
- City Court site in downtown Glendale for $3 to $5 million
- Bank of America building in downtown Glendale for $7.35 million
The only properties that can legitimately be taken off the sales block are the two golf courses. Desert Mirage Golf Course has long term contractual obligations that could prove problematical and Glen Lakes Golf Course land would be used for residential development that would violate a long standing commitment to every home owner surrounding the property. In addition, these two properties offer a genuine amenity to every Glendale resident.
So, why won’t council sell off any of the downtown properties? Well, we might use them sometime in the future…the very distant future. Or we can’t sell them because the sale price is less than the city paid originally. Reality…since the Great Recession, many properties nationally and regionally have sold for less than their purchase price.
Each of these properties, vacant or developed, have annual operating & maintenance (O&M) costs. What is the total annual O&M cost to the city for each of these properties? If they were sold the city would no longer have to pay the O&M costs in addition to receiving the purchase price.
The sale of these properties accomplishes several goals. It takes the annual O&M costs off the books permanently. It earns the city an estimated $20 million plus. These funds should go directly into the city’s Contingency Fund (Unappropriated Fund Balance). That, in turn, would take pressure off of putting every available nickel in the General Fund into Contingency. It would create the opportunity to utilize General Funds for needs long ignored since the Great Recession.
The sale of these properties also creates a major benefit for downtown Glendale. How many Task Forces, over the years, have made recommendations for the revitalization of downtown Glendale? Too many, going all the way back to the Miracle Mile Citizen Task Force. What has been achieved as a result? Nothing. In one fell swoop, with the sale of these properties the city has the opportunity to kick start downtown’s revitalization. No one is going to buy a downtown property without plans to develop. That’s illogical. An investor in a downtown property expects a return on that investment and that can only occur with the development of the investment. The beneficial and productive use of these properties immediately will do more to revitalize downtown Glendale than the unanswered recommendations of another dozen Task Force groups.
It’s time for the city council to let go of these properties. There are genuine benefits to be achieved with their sale. In the meantime, as long as the council digs in its feet and refuses to sell anything, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell…interested?
© Joyce Clark, 2015
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