Times: Hercules City Council OKs sale of vacant downtown tract to Safeway
— by Jeffrey Wisniewski — 9 October 2013 — 19 comments below »
Tom Lochner reports:
The 5-0 vote came after some hand-wringing by Councilwomen Sherry McCoy and Myrna de Vera; both had dissented in a 3-2 council vote on Sept. 10 to postpone for a month a decision whether to sell the so-called Sycamore Crossing tract to Safeway for $5 million, minus costs then capped at $4 million, and give City Manager Steve Duran time to negotiate a better deal. The 11.44-acre, bullet-shaped tract is bounded by Sycamore Avenue, San Pablo Avenue and Tsushima Street.
The revised deal the council approved Tuesday was virtually the same as the one it balked at four weeks earlier, when McCoy, de Vera, Councilman Dan Romero and, to a lesser degree, Mayor John Delgado, voiced misgivings that it was too generous to Safeway. The revised deal puts a $3 million cap on the costs, to be deducted from the $5 million purchase price, of undergrounding utilities and removing more than 100,000 cubic feet of dirt stockpiled on the property.
You cannot teach conviction.
Bottom line: Everyone loves a new grocery store. It’s Suburbanism 101.
The positive takeaway is that this should restart construction activity at the center of town and change the existing landscape — marred for years by the abandoned Sycamore North project.
The process however requires input and a strong, robust review by the planning commission (and public) to enforce urban principles that meet community expectations (none of which are hard wired into the PSA). The current makeup of the planning commission — a majority of suburbanists that lack attentiveness to quality design — certainly does not provide confidence.
There is a lot more work to do to make this successful — and I hope it is.
UPDATE — Deep from the archive: