High Speed Rail Authority to purchase Bakersfield Homeless Center property for $6 million

Posted at 7:03 PM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 22:03:32-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After 7 years of negotiations, the Bakersfield Homeless Center announces an agreement to sell their property for $6 million to the High Speed Rail Authority.

BHC, located on 1600 East Truxtun Avenue, made the announcement on Tuesday morning, stating in a press release that a deal was finalized in October.

Louis Gill, BHC CEO, says "We have leased it [BHC property] back for a total of five years, so the clock has started ... we get to relocate our entire campus.

Gill says selecting a location for a new homeless facility will be a hard task after recent outcries from business owners, who have resented the city's and county's decision to operate low-barrier homeless shelters near downtown.

"It's become very apparent that locating a new facility for homeless services in this community will be difficult," Gill said. "We knew that going into it and it's why we wanted to get started in this process and so this is our first step."

The High Speed Rail Authority said in an email to 23ABC News that preliminary construction projects will begin after they complete an environmental document, which they say they are close to finishing.

"Our goal is the complete the Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed rail line for early service by 2028, while also working to deliver the full Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim by 2033," Toni Tinoco, an HSRA spokesman said.

Tinoco added that there are 119 miles of construction underway between Avenue 19 in Madera County and Poplar Avenue in Kern County.