Tax to help fund Bay Meadows redevelopment

A community facilities district to help pay for portions of the Bay Meadows development in San Mateo is set to be created in the spring. City officials say they are waiting for developers to give them word to prepare bond documents.

The facilities district will affect future homeowners at the Bay Meadows site, said Hossein Golestan, director of finance for San Mateo.

The facilities district is a property tax that was approved by the landowner — Bay Meadows — in August 2008 and will last for about 25 years. It is estimated to generate at least $80 million to pay for and help maintain roads, sewage and other infrastructure upgrades to the former historic racetrack, Golestan said.

“They’ve been using other funds now,” he said. “When they do take this money, it will pay for roads and other improvements.”The project’s Web site says grading — which includes grading roads and installing underground utilities — is expected to continue in 2010. The process began in 2009, according to the site.

Roadway construction and retail, residential and office-space construction are also expected to begin next year.

Darcy Forcell, senior planner with the city of San Mateo, said she thinks the project is “poised to move forward.”

“Once the economy recovers, they’ll be ready to go because they’re doing a lot of the leg work now,” she said. “We’re seeing signs now of the economy picking up, but when they’re ready to build in 2011, it will be a good position because they’ll just need to pull building permits.”

The 74-year-old racetrack of the same name was demolished in 2008 to make way for the 82-acre development. The project includes 1,171 residential units, 715,000 square feet of office space and 93,000 square feet of retail space.

The demolition came after years of debate at the city level, planning on behalf of the development and objection from local neighborhood groups.

Developers had said they would wait until the economy recovers to begin work on the project. Third-quarter reports for 2009 indicated a slight increase in an economic recovery. Home sales were the highest they have been in 2½ years at the end of October, according to the Associated Press.

According to the developers’ schedule, the entire project is expected to be completed in 2014.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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