Elementary School To Be
Sold To Highest Bidder
A question much on the minds of Emeryville citizens has finally been answered by a new posting on the city's website. Citizens have been asking City Hall and School District officials what is to become of Anna Yates Elementary School after it is closed to makeway for the new Kindergarten through 12th grade school at the Center of Community Life? The answer has been revealed by the City Attorney in a staff presentation packet for a meeting at City Hall on Tuesday: It is to be torn down and sold off to a developer to build 43 lofts and condos.
The packet goes on to reveal the other surplus School District property, former middle school Ralph Hawley, is to be demolished and turned into 35 condo units.
Erosion Of Trust For School District
The School District has for years expressly told citizens selling off of the two schools will not happen after the Center of Community Life gets built. They refused to say however, even when asked directly, what would be the fate of the two properties...that is until now. The revelation of the plan to sell off the properties is likely to stoke an increasing erosion of trust with the public for the School District. It will likely empower the nascent grassroots group formed recently to save Anna Yates Elementary from the School District's formerly announced plan to abandon the popular school...it's one thing to abandon a school and quite another to demolish it.
The City Attorney Mike Biddle has made the calculations to build lofts and condos as part of the appeal the city is making to Sacramento's Department of Finance from an earlier decision denying some $22 million in funds to help build the community center part of the Center of Community Life. After the break up of the State's redevelopment agencies, so-called 'successor agencies' were set up State-wide to wind down the redevelopment agencies and to finish up the work started but interrupted by the ruling from the Governor disbanding the agencies.
On the docket for Emeryville was the Center for Community Life's community center part to be paid by Emeryville's Redevelopment Agency and submitted by the city for the Department of Finance's consideration to continue funding it. The city of Emeryville lost that initial decision but it's now appealing and the decision that the "surplus" School District properties will be sold to developers is being forwarded to the State in order to show them they will receive increased tax increments from the new condo properties if they fund the Center of Community Life.
The city slated $25 million in city Redevelopment funds to be spent on the Center of Community Life, added to what was to be $95 million from voter backed Measure J school bond funds. Some $3 million of the city funds has already been spent before the State shut down and a plunging assessed valuation in Emeryville properties has lowered the Measure J bond raising capacity to about $40 million.
The following is the text of the staff presentation to be made to the the Successor Agency meeting on Tuesday at City Hall:
The ECCL Project envisions that grades K-12 will be located at the ECCL Project Site and thus the existing EUSD facilities at the Ralph Hawley Site along 61st Street and the Anna Yates Elementary Site along 41st Street may become surplus. Likewise, by locating the City’s recreation programs at the ECCL Project Site, the City’s existing recreation facility along San Pablo Avenue may likewise become surplus. While neither the City or EUSD have made any decision regarding the future use of these properties, if these sites are declared surplus and were disposed of for redevelopment, the City’s current general plan and zoning regulations would allow, by right, 35 dwelling units of approximately 1,100 square feet at the Ralph Hawley Site, 43 dwelling units of approximately 1,100 square feet at the Anna Yates Site, and 24 dwelling units of approximately 900 square feet and 3,120 square feet of commercial space at the Recreation Center Site. Assuming an average value of $300,000 per dwelling unit, the total estimated value of the 102 dwelling units is $30,600,000 which translates to approximately $306,000 in annual property taxes to be shared by the taxing entities from property that will certainly remain tax exempt if the ECCL Project does not go forward
The full PDF file from City hall can be accessed HERE.