Offices or restaurants? Weighing in on lot

Posted at 4:04 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 19:04:45-05

If you've driven along California avenue near the Maya cinemas, you've probably noticed an empty lot.

A non-profit organization wants to buy the property and build offices in that location.

But the majority of the council wants to weigh there options for what should be built there.

The 5.5 acre corner lot on P and Q streets, has been vacant for a few years now.

As part of the mill creek vision plan, which was approved in 2005, an entertainment complex was to be built there - including a movie theater and multi-family homes.

Most of the plan is complete or in process. The remaining land was intended to be retail restaurants to compliment Rabobank Arena and Convention Center and the other facilities nearby.

But recently Kern Health Care Systems approached the city, showing interest in building an office complex.

Councilmember, Bob Smith, wants the planning and development committee to examine the pros and cons for the property.

"I'm all for having more public discussion and having staff time to work on it and maybe we can work out a compromise where it's half and half. I don't want to just ram through something that is not consistent with what we told the community for a number of years now," said Smith, who represents Ward 4.

But councilmember Terry Maxwell said it's not necessary to move the issue to the committee - it's something the council can decide on their own.

"Then when they are done working with those people, to come back to us and tell us what they have and look to us for that approval. If we render that there are something that need to be questioned about it, that need to be gone over, then we can send it to a committee. I don't think that's going to be the case here," said Maxwell, who represents Ward 2. 

The city did a tax analysis comparing an office building to a commercial building.

If restaurants or retail stores were built on the property, the city would get about $100,000 in sales tax revenue and about $24,000 in property taxes.

It would also create 118 new jobs.

If the city sold the property to Kern Health Care Systems, the city would not receive sales tax revenue nor property tax revenue, and no new jobs would be created.

The council passed a motion to send this issue to the Planning and Development Committee. That meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 5th.


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