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Sunday, June 17, 2012

City Hall Reveals Plans For Anna Yates Elementary School : Sell To Developer

Elementary School To Be
Torn Down

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'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.


  1. Brian, you've got to be kidding me. The excerpt you've posted simply states what the zoning allows. Anyone can tell this by reading the zoning code. It does not specify any plans. The information you've cited to make your point clearly refutes your point. At least this time you aren't hiding the facts from us. You’ve shown clearly that the facts don't support your argument.

    1. The sell off idea is being floated by the city as a way to sweeten the pot for the State. Essentially what the city is saying to Sacramento is that if you change your mind about letting us spend the $22 million you said NO to previously (with no sell-off option), we'll sell off the surplus properties and the state will get a chunk of the extra property taxes the condos and lofts will generate.
      It's a bit desperate and I doubt the state will go for it.

      Your comments are not well considered...the city is making an offer to the state...this is more than simple musings as you suggest. This is the last chance for this money and the city is showing what they'll do to get it.

    2. There's a lot of murky information about the Anna Yates shutdown controversy. One source told me that the eight million dollars spent on upgrading Anna Yates was used mainly to retrofit the tiered classrooms on the west side, which raises some questions about how that money was spent. Did it really take $8,000,000 to earthquake-proof just that one one section of the school? If not, why wasn't the remainder put into retrofitting the rest of the school? I've seen that the school was gone over cosmetically from one end to the other with fresh paint, new rails and pathways, etc.,during the retrofitting period. Although that's very attractive, was it done with
      money that was intended to stabilize the foundations and walls? If so, the city can claim the safety project wasn't completed, and cite that as another justification to tear down the school. I'd hate to see that happen. Anna Yates is a beautiful school in amiable surroundings, and serves its neighborhood well. I can't see how moving it across San Pablo Ave. to join up with the secondary schools would be of any benefit at all. When the smoke
      has cleared and the shouts have died down, I hope it remains just where it is.

    3. I used to work for the district.
      That money was spent building the 2 story building along the BofA parking lot, slapping a new coat of paint on the existing building, redesigning and remodeling the play yard, and building the science center.

  2. You are right Brian. It's actually come down to this. Brian Carver smelled a rat when the District stonewalled my records request. Such a sad day in terms of trust and transparency. People asked me why I backed Ken despite his personal demons and this is why.

  3. Ah Ha; All of a sudden the plot is coming into focus. I had thought that our elected leaders were just plain stupid. We can judge that, later.
    The Developers, who stand to do all the gaining, will be long gone, with their profits, when California starts to get Property Tax benefits. The City Attorney probably understands this. His Tax Projections are so innocent. But, Emeryville Citizens will be the Payors. And the City Attorney is not on our Team. Off with his head.
    There is nothing wrong with Anna Yates School, as it stands. It is the "Developers" who want the site for Condos; and PROFIT. ECCL is a stupid idea, but I didn't understand it, until now. Shame!

  4. I believe the tearing down of the schools have been known from day one. Just look at the names of the surrounding property owners of Anna Yates and Ralph Hawley, one planning commissioner and one former councilman. Are they for or against removing the schools because the reality is that their property values will increase upon demolition. Not to mention, both School properties are zoned “Public” in the General Plan. The City better watch out what they propose to the State as the State will end up taking every “Public” piece of land from the old Redevelopment Agency and most of Emeryville will be auctioned to the highest crony.

  5. Your title is misleading then.
    According to the document, no decision has been made.
    So to use the headline "Elementary School To Be Torn Down", is the worst of sensationalistic journalism, which then casts doubt on everything you post.
    It's spurious and misleading to your readers.

    Your personal grudge against the school district and the closure of Anna Yates is starting to show in your reporting, you probably should start marking all you posts as Opinion, since that is, primarily, what they seem to be. Any objective reporting you used to do is now gone.

    1. To Mr Anonymous Ideologue-
      Please re-read the headline (since you seem to have had trouble with it). It says:

      City Hall Reveals Plans For Anna Yates Elementary School : Sell To Developer

      Note word number four...its key to understanding what's going on so you don't have to continue groping around in the dark. It must be lonely there all by yourself in the dark..My sympathies to you sir.

    2. That's still misleading when the second sentence of the snippet you posted starts out with this: "While neither the City or EUSD have made any decision regarding the future use of these properties,". That to me says your headline is bogus.
      But even you headline is misleading in light of what is said in the document.

      You also made the byline large, bold font, front and center. You knew EXACTLY what message you really wanted to get across. Please, continue to defend your shoddy journalism, it's quite amusing. Your dirty tricks might work on others, but they don't work on all of us.

      Thankfully, Democracy doesn't mean minority rule. You've said your piece about Anna Yates, and few agree with you. Too bad, you lost. Move on.
      But you wont, will you? You will continue to throw a tantrum since you didn't get your way. Kinda reminds me of what Bukowski is doing now.

    3. To Mr Ideologue-
      Well, it sounds like you should start your own blog. You can call it Emeryville Quisling News. It'll be there to support the Power Elite, just like the now defunct Emeryville Connection. The main idea of the Quisling News will be to shut down dissenting voices in Emeryville. For that you'll earn the gratitude of the Power Elite and like the Chamber of Commerce, you can look for material support from the city...even cash!
      Emeryville is being harmed by all these dissenters, right? So shut 'em down!
      We''ll be excitedly waiting for your right wing news blog supporting the powerful.