Developer wants to buy state-owned Cow Palace

A business buzzard is circling the famous Cow Palace, which has hosted everyone from the Grateful Dead to John F. Kennedy, with ideas to redevelop the state-owned 77 acres of land.

The Cow Palace board of directors meets this morning and will hear an update from Jim Gillott, of development group Pro Sports Venture Capital LLC, on its proposal to buy the site from the state.

But officials with the event center saidCow Palace is not actively being sold by the state, which is working with the Daly City Redevelopment Agency on a proposal to lease a portion of the parking lot to the city to rejuvenate the neighborhood with a commercial services center.

The Cow Palace is an agency of the state’s Food and Agriculture Department’s Division of Fairs and Expositions. Opened in 1941, the venue has hosted the Grand National Rodeo as well as rock concerts, boxing matches and circuses. It has failed in recent years, however, to bring in big-name draws.

Pro Sports Venture Capital has developed a proposal that it first put forward to the board of directors last month, said Ivor Samson, the attorney representing the venture capital group.

Gillott’s proposal today will include two options: Buying the Cow Palace property outright, or buying the Cow Palace property and agreeing to replace the arena on an adjacent property, according to a report from last May’s board of directors meeting.

“It’s a very large piece of property that by any standards … is underutilized,” Samson said.

The group is looking at various development concepts, including residential, for the property, he said.

Cow Palace CEO Walter Haub said the proposal from Pro Sports Venture Capital was a “very general proposal,” but that was it not more serious than others that have been made.

Daly City is working on a 55-year lease for a 13-acre portion of the Cow Palace parking lot that the city would link to other land to create a 37-acre area to develop a commercial center with a supermarket and neighborhood services for the Geneva Avenue community.

Terry Sedik, Daly City’s Economic and Community Development director, said the city and Pro Sports Venture Capital met last week to talk about the group’s proposal for the Cow Palace.

The venture capital group wanted to “assure” Daly City that they “weren’t proposing something that was at odds” with what the city wants to see built there, Sedik said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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