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Palo Alto may sell or lease Cubberley land to Foothill

Original post made on Jan 18, 2008

A plan to tear down part of Cubberley Community Center to build a new "educational center" for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District could generate up to $35 million if Palo Alto sells the district eight acres it owns or $1.8 million a year in a long-term lease.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 18, 2008, 5:00 PM

Comments (17)

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Posted by JW
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm

This proposal is a win win situation for everyone. Foothill would like to spend $30M - $40M of our tax dollars rebuilding a dilapidated facility right on our doorstep which will benefit the entire Palo Alto community.

I hope a long term lease arrangement can be made so that the land together with these new buildings will eventually become City property.

The School District still has 19 acres if they should ever want to open a technical high school at Cubberley. However, their old 1950s buildings would have to be torn down and a completely new facility built. This would cost the PAUSD hundreds of millions of dollars which they don't have and probably never will. The District likes the $4 Million they get annually from the City!!!

I think this is great news a brand new facility will be built with money that has already been identified.


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Posted by sara
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 18, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Sell??? Isn't there a mandate for continued housing developments in Palo Alto? Hasn't the school distict learned from past mistakes? Hmmm....


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Please, please, please, please, do not sell another school property.

If it isn't used for high school, it could be used for middle school, or district offices, or lots of things. Keep it in PAUSD.


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2008 at 9:03 pm

If the city/PAUSD sells the property, someone needs to be fired or recalled. Once sold, the city/PAUSD will never find the funds to repurchase the land IF the need arose. No to short-term thinking.


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Posted by Frank Semone
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm

What does the city get in return for its $4M that it pays the PAUSD for those 19 acres? It seems the City has more pressing needs for its money (police/safety building, new library) than spend it on empty land.


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Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 18, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Cubberley is a 27 acre parcel of land. The City owns only 8 acres. This proposal by Foothill is sitting on city property, not PAUSD property. PAUSD is not planning to sell their 19 acres.

This is a great opportunity for Palo Alto!


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Posted by rick
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 19, 2008 at 12:40 am

The most disturbing thing about this is it has been a "SECRET" back room deal.
It has apparently been going on for months with no notices except for people who really care less about the needs of the community and more for the developers who would build this facility.

Jean Wilcox is no representative of this area than any other person. She was or is against rebuilding the Mitchell Park Library/community center.

The city should be getting at least 6 million $per acre if it did sell it. Houses in this area are being bought for about $1,000,000 then being torn down and they are on 7,000 or smaller lots. The city is in the process of buying 1.25 acres for about $10,000,000 in a lousy, isolated industrial area for the police station. This is right adjacent to the train tracks with 125 mph trains going by within feet of it. What happens if one of these trains crashes right there? Or into the Oregon underpass.

The college dosen't cater to the local Palo Alto Community. They should find a lower cost, more central location with better access, etc..
This is yet another debacle like the Terman School turned out to be.

There are possibly 1000 more students coming to this area from the housing being built and planned in South Palo Alto. This site shoud be saved for a regular school or schools.


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Posted by An Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 12:45 am

Gunn Parent, Maybe the city could sell of the little used park in the Barron Park neighborhood and make some money off of it. Or sell part of the Gunn school property that isn't being used. It's close to the Foothill expressway and has better access.


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Posted by Adam
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 19, 2008 at 8:52 am

It is almost certain that the 8 acres will be leased and any improvements will revert to the city at the end of the lease period.

The proposed Public Safety building is within a block of the North County Courthouse and two blocks from the extensive California Ave. shopping area. This is hardly an "...isolated industrial area".

And what if any train crashes anywhere? Why bring these two points into a discussion of the Foothill negotiations?


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Posted by An Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 10:57 am

The issue Adam is the value of the land. The Cubberly land at about 3 million an acre and the Park Blvd site at 6 or 7 million and acre. Also Park Blvd is dead ended going south. It was a thru street to E Meadow and Charleston in the past. The Oregon Underpass was flooded and closed with the little rain we had a few weeks ago. This is why this location is "Isolated".


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Posted by An Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 10:58 am

The issue Adam is the value of the land. The Cubberly land at about 3 million an acre and the Park Blvd site at 6 or 7 million and acre. Also Park Blvd is dead ended going south. It was a thru street to E Meadow and Charleston in the past. The Oregon Underpass was flooded and closed with the little rain we had a few weeks ago. This is why this location is "Isolated".


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 11:12 am

The issue is a red herring. Park Blvd has a barrier which can be removed. The Oregon underpass occasionally floods, but there are other means of getting across the tracks, particularly if Park Blvd is re-opened which it will be if there is a police buiilding there, likewise the Frys parking lot will become a thoroughfare.


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Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 20, 2008 at 3:27 pm

OOps. I misread my own meeting notes. The city owns 8 acres as mentioned but PAUSD owns just over 27 acres, so the entire Cubberley parcel is over 35 acres. Apologies. Foothill is talking about redeveloping only the city part which already has buildings on it. This is not the same as the city selling a park or the school district selling open land. Plus, they may be able to work out a long term lease. Our city can't seem to pay for renovating our police building or libraries, and here Foothill has presented the community with a creative solution and an innovative building. I think it would be an asset to our community. My question is - is it better for the city to continue the lease, or sell and use the funds for other infrastructure improvements. I would hesitate to sell land without compelling payback.


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Posted by another resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2008 at 5:57 am

> The city should be getting at least 6 million
> $per acre if it did sell it.

Yes. This is an important point. The fact that the potential purchaser is an educational institution does not change the market value of this property. And as noted, most of these students are not Palo Altans -- so why should Palo Alto taxpayers be subsidizing these people's post-secondary education?


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Posted by alice
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 21, 2008 at 6:34 am

someone wrote ..

* She was or is against rebuilding the
* Mitchell Park Library/community center.

as is her right to be.

The library and the cubberley center are not linked, so this comment is irrelevant ..


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Posted by Lois
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2008 at 7:49 am

Another resident, Palo Alto is not subsidizing the construction of these classrooms for Foothill College. They are being paid for with the Foothill/De Anza bond measure that was passed by the voters some 3 years ago. It is hoped that a long term lease can be worked out with Foothill so that in 25 years the land plus the new buildings will revert to the City.

Also, as a Palo Alto resident I have taken several computer classes at Foothill at Cubberley, and I have met other Palo Alto residents taking classes there. With 4 year colleges getting harder and harder to get into, this facility will serve many young Palo Altans in the future.
Also older students, like myself, for life long learning programs.



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Posted by another resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2008 at 9:27 am

> Palo Alto is not subsidizing the construction of
> these classrooms for Foothill College

Palo Alto rate payers have been subsidizing the students of Foothills using the Middlefield Campus for years because the property has not been rented at market rates. The current subsidy comes from your Utility User's Tax.

Unless Palo Alto charges Foothills market rates for the property, this becomes a subsidy to the college from the City.

> With 4 year colleges getting harder and harder to get into

There is no evidence of this. What is true, however, is that there is a 50% drop out rate in 4-year colleges. Community Colleges generally only "graduate" 15% of their student body into 4-year schools.


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