San Mateo County jail site near approval

After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Redwood City and San Mateo County are nearly ready to lock down the site for a new jail.

The county’s Board of Supervisors is expected to sign an agreement with the city Tuesday that would allow the county the option to buy four properties totaling 4.1 acres on Chemical Way for a new county correctional facility.

In an unusual arrangement, the city negotiated the deal for the real estate on the east side of U.S. Highway 101, termed the Woodhouse Industrial Park, despite the fact it always intended to hand the properties off to the county.

City officials wanted desperately to steer Sheriff Greg Munks to another site besides the one he initially preferred on the county government’s campus near downtown, saying the proposed 768-bed jail would kill a yearslong effort to redevelop downtown.

“I’m very pleased with the momentum,” said Redwood City Vice Mayor Rosanne Foust.

The City Council signed the memorandum Monday setting up the property option, leaving it up to supervisors to confirm the agreement.

“In the long run, once Redwood City was able to help pull those pieces of property together, I think it’s actually a better site,” said Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, a member of the board’s criminal justice subcommittee.

While the terms have not been finalized, city officials say the estimated cost to the county to acquire the properties is about $16.5 million.

The county would also agree to reimburse the city for up to $433,000 in costs incurred during the property negotiations and inspection of the site.

Still, the county’ hasn’t finalized the plans for the jail, which the sheriff says is needed to reduce overcrowding, or determined where it will get the estimated $150 million to fund the construction.

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

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