Wednesday, January 04, 2006

City Wants to Buy Real Estate in Troubled Area

City Wants to Buy Real Estate in Troubled Area
By Ian Thompson

FAIRFIELD - Fairfield's Redevelopment Agency wants to spend at least $1.7 million to buy two four-plex apartments and a vacant gas station in the blighted PACE neighborhood.

The city's Redevelopment Agency is asking for council approval to buy a four-plex at 1230 Pennsylvania Ave. and another one at 1236 Alaska Ave. as part of its efforts to clean up and redevelop the PACE neighborhood's north side.

PACE is the nickname for the area that features Pennsylvania Avenue, Alaska Avenue, Cunningham Drive and Eton Court.

The agency is spending $635,000 to buy the 1230 Pennsylvania Ave. property and another $635,000 to buy the 1236 Alaska Ave. property. All of the money is coming from the city's Low-Moderate Housing funds.

While nearby four-plexes have sold for between $515,000 and $575,000, the city is offering the owners more money because the buildings "are in superior condition," according to the memo.

The city's Quality Neighborhood Team has been interested in that neighborhood for years to address crime and blight with tenant-based services and property rehabilitation.

The agency plans to move the tenants, raze the buildings and include them with 13 other parcels already owned by the city which will be turned into a single housing project.

Work on this project is expected to start some time within the next two years, according to a memo to the City Council from Planning and Development Director Sean Quinn.

The agency also wants to spend $440,000 on the now-vacant gas station located in front of a 7-Eleven store across the street from the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District offices.

Fairfield has leased the building since 1990 and established a temporary operating center for the police department to help its officers fight the area's high crime.

The operating center has been used for police operations and neighborhood group functions. The police also have another center in one of the apartments in the North PACE area.

Quinn supported the purchase, describing the site as "a lynch pin for improving the commercial center and involving the owner of the 7-Eleven in revitalizing the center."

"It is likely that if this building is sold on the open market, it will attract a marginal use that will not serve the neighborhood," Quinn wrote.

The city's $2 million investment in redeveloping apartments directly to the north and the school district's plans to reconfigure their offices as an elementary school helped prod Quinn to want to buy the service station.

Quinn wants to knock the building down and team up with a private developer to either turn the site into an office/retail building or a day-care center or to house a nonprofit organization.

The Fairfield City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Fairfield City Council chamber at 1000 Webster St.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

At a glance

Who: Fairfield City Council

What: Will discuss approving the purchase of two four-plex apartments and a vacant service station in the PACE neighborhood.

Where: Fairfield City Council chamber, 1000 Webster St.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Info: 428-7400

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