Process dragging out for city’s final 15 acres

Originally meant for a November meeting, it could be December before Foster City residents see a lease signed on their final 15 acres of property.

City Manager Jim Hardy said the city has been meeting regularly in closed session with Sares-Regis Group and Pacific Retirement Services to hammer out the details on lease for 11 of the 15 acres just south of the City Hall complex.

The process has taken longer than originally envisioned, Hardy said, and the meeting had to be moved back even further because of the City Council elections Tuesday.

“This is a complex deal that involves city-owned property, so we need to be careful with how we structure the agreement between the company who wants to lease the land from the city,” Hardy said.

Sares-Regis Senior Vice President John Igoe said the group is chomping at the bit to get started on the redevelopment of the land into a mixed-use complex of retail space and senior housing, but respects the city’s diligence in the process.

And while the 11 acres may soon be set for development, Hardy said the city is still waiting to find out what will happen with the 4 acres reserved for a charter high school. The council has vowed to keep the space until midway through 2008, but the Foster City High School Foundation has hit numerous snags trying to secure funding for a school building.

The Foster City Council has refused to even consider a bond measure to raise money for an education facility, and board members of the San Mateo Union High School District — including council candidate Marcia Cohn-Lyle — said the district has more important uses of its time and resources than a new high school.

Hardy said the decision on the 4 acres will come in June if no movement is seen on the project. It will be up to the council at that point to decide what to do with the land. Although they’ve so far avoided the 4 acres, Igoe said Sares-Regis is interested in that land as well.

“The city was very clear about that from the very beginning. It’s never been a part of any negotiations. We’re dealing strictly with the land that they’ve outlined for our use,” Igoe said. “Obviously we have an interest in that, but it’s up to the city about what they do and when they do it.”

jgoldman@examiner.com

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