Developers were interested in an approximately 5-acre property along B Street in Marysville when the city purchased it in 2006. Then the recession hit and the developers backed out. The city hasn’t been able to offload it since and officials have been trying to figure out how best to use the land.
Last year, the city hired a consulting firm, New Economics and Advisory, to develop a land-use disposition analysis, or a market assessment, to help determine the property’s best use. The consulting firm came up with three potential uses as part of the analysis and will present its findings to council members at tonight’s meeting.
“The idea was to look at what the sweet spot for development would be for that site, given the market, the parameters of the site, its geography and location, and looking at the various zoning types – roughly half is zoned manufacturing and the other half is zoned commercial,” said City Manager Marti Brown.
Vice Mayor Bruce Buttacavoli said the property is important because it is one of the last pieces of land within the city that hasn’t been developed and could be a big tax revenue generator.
ν One of the options is to develop a multi-family housing development.
ν Another option is to develop multi-family housing with some retail.
ν The last option is to allow for industrial development with some sort of cannabis business park located at the site.
The latter option is most likely to generate the greatest amount of revenue for the city, Brown said, but the city also has a need for more affordable housing.
“We wanted to look at all of the options to help the council make an informed decision on the direction they would like staff to go in, so we wanted to turn over every stone,” Brown said.
The property presents development challenges, which is one of the reasons it has remained vacant for more than a decade. It’s located along a four-lane state highway and backed up to a railroad line. Utility lines also cut through the site, which will need to be moved before development can occur.
The city bought the property for $2.8 million in 2006 and funded the purchase with a $3.5 million general obligation bond. As the site sat vacant, the city continued to make annual debt service payments in excess of $600,000 on the land, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.
The city refinanced its bonds for the property last fall, which helped reduce its annual costs and allows the city to sell the property – prior to refinancing, the property was considered collateral on the bonds.
“Now that it is no longer collateral, it’s going to be a lot easier for us to do different things with it and market it to developers,” Buttacavoli said.
Brown said all three options included in the market assessment would result in either the selling of the property or a long-term ground lease with a developer.
Buttacavoli said he thinks the property would benefit from being split up into multiple parcels so that the city could market it to multiple retailers, which would result in more sales tax income for the city.
“Whatever the council decides on, I think now is the time that we’ve got to move forward with some real strong marketing to get something done at the site,” he said.
Following a presentation by the consulting firm regarding the market assessment, council members are expected to provide staff with policy direction for the property. If given the green light, Brown said, the city will begin circulating requests for proposals in hopes of attracting a developer interested in entering into an agreement.
Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be at City Hall – 526 C St., Marysville.