Tuesday, April 8, 2008

City Prepares To Sell Nearby Vacant Land

City Prepares To Sell Nearby Vacant Land
Future development plans expected to boost value
By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 04/06/2008

Brooks Street's development plans for the old General Mills flour mill is a piece of silver lining for Vallejo real estate manager Steve England preparing to sell a nearby city-owned parcel.

The vacant half-acre parcel on a cul-de-sac at Third and Lemon streets near the old flour mill is one of three surplus city properties England is preparing to put on the market this summer.

Construction of the Brooks Street development is at least two years down the road and involves a mix of residential and commercial uses, and public open space and trails along the waterfront, according to project manager Devin Hassett.

For England, the plan would help inject more life into south Vallejo and could boost property values in the surrounding neighborhood.

"As the area gets improved, the values and the uses get improved," England said. "Lemon Street has been a forgotten area, but it's going to be a bright spot in Vallejo."

Buyers will be sought through the city's Web site and other channels.

Funds derived through parcel sales would not solve Vallejo's general fund financial problems, but could help generate money to bolster such activities as weed abatement and code enforcement.

England said many city-owned parcels are a drain on the coffers since they must be cleared of weeds and can attract illegal dumping.

"The properties are not producing any income, but they do require a lot of costs," he said.

The Lemon Street parcel is zoned industrial and light manufacturing and could be a good spot for light industrial office space, a warehouse or storage units, he said. It frequently sports discarded television sets, and other trash.

The other two pieces of surplus parcels to go on the market soon include a fenced lot at 1200 Marin St., and a parking lot at Tennessee and Broadway streets.

The three parcels are just a handful of 511 pieces of land the city owns across Vallejo which England oversees and keeps his eye out for income opportunities.

However, getting parcels ready for sale or lease is a laborious process, requiring months of research, appraisals and dozens of other steps. Parcels must also go to the City Council to be declared surplus.

In the future, England may try to get declared surplus another city-owned parcel near the old flour plant.

The parcel, also on Third Street, includes a steep hill and land which extends up to the railroad tracks, but does not go directly to the waterfront.

Throughout town, England can point out numerous city-owned parcels which have untapped potential.

One parcel is a tiny triangular-shaped piece of packed dirt near Vallejo's wastewater treatment plant, and up against a long-forgotten railroad spur. Much to England's surprise, a nearby company has expressed interest in expanding a storage area onto the parcel.

"Some might see it as a worthless piece of property, but for someone it's space to expand business. It's valuable," England said.

• Contact Sarah Rohrs at srohrs@thnewsnet.com or 553-6832.

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