Thursday, October 23, 2008

OUSD Takes Steps Toward Leasing Offices

Board OKs district to move ahead with plans to lease out nearly eight acres in downtown Ojai

By Sondra Murphy
On Tuesday, Ojai Unified School District took an official step in its efforts to be less reliant on government sources for its funding.
With continued budget uncertainties looming on the horizon, the OUSD board approved the distribution of the Request for Qualifications-Proposals for joint occupancy lease and development of the district office and Chaparral High School property on East Ojai Avenue and North Montgomery Street. OUSD board members and administrators see lease options as one way to establish both short-term and long-term control revenues.
The stated intent of the RFQ-P is, “To enable the district to identify highly qualified and capable entities with experience in commercial and mixed-use development that can evaluate and carry out development strategies pursuant to a joint occupancy ground lease with the district.”
“The market and economy has sort of been on again, off again,” said OUSD superintendent Tim Baird, “but we feel like we just need to see what the market is like right now for this very unique piece of property.”
“This is very exciting,” said board member Rikki Horne.
“How do we get the word out?” asked President Steve Fields.
“Anyone may request a copy of the RFQ-P,” said Baird, adding that the district would advertise in the Ventura and Santa Barbara areas to alert developers to the opportunity.
“How much interest do we have?” asked member Pauline Mercado.
“I’ve had about five people who have expressed interest,” said Dannielle Pusatere, assistant superintendent of business and administrative services. She pointed out the estimated timeline in the RFQ-P packet named Jan. 5 as the response deadline in order to bring any submissions to the board by the pending Jan. 13 meeting.
Clerk Kathi Smith cautioned administration not to hurry through the application process. “I’m very concerned about having staff rush through looking at RFQs in a week,” she said. “I would much rather have administrators and attorneys comb through them. We don’t want to get stuck with something buried in the wording.” Vice President Linda Taylor agreed.
“It’s not like it’s going to be money in the hand,” said Mercado.
“We were trying to get it to the board before you start to make budget decisions,” explained Baird. “We could change the dates to whatever we want.”
According to the RFQ-P approved Tuesday, the downtown property in question is about 7.88 acres in total and OUSD would require about 1,000 square feet of building space, if developed. In addition to the administrative offices and Chaparral, the property currently houses infant and preschool centers, nutrition services, a community auditorium, garden and maintenance and transportation yards and offices. OUSD is waiting until any submission is accepted and proceeds before determining potential relocation of any department or center.
The site is currently zoned for Public-Quasi-Public Use (P-L) and surrounded by Village Mixed Use (VMU) zones to the west and north, and medium and high-density multi-family (R-2 and R-3) zones to the east and south.
The district also owns the attached site of the Park & Ride and Skate Park areas, which the city has leased through 2023. Community members, especially those involved in building a permanent skate park at the location, have voiced concerns about the future of those leases in light of the district’s development efforts.
If the plan plays out, a ground lease for a maximum of 66 years would be negotiated and any selected development team would be subject to obtaining necessary entitlements subject to approval by the city of Ojai and OUSD and state boards of education.
Lessees would be responsible for all facets of development, including any governmental issues that impact development, such as zoning, land use policies, environmental review and political or social implications of developing the sites, arranging financing for any development and all costs and risks associated with the design and construction processes.
Submission requirements are detailed as to communicating development team qualifications, approach to development, project schedule, financial and legal declarations, and district compensation. In the compensation section, OUSD specifies, “The compensation proposal must include: (1) an up-front/on contract payment at the commencement of the development process; and (2) annual ground lease rent and how rent will be calculated … The exact terms of the ground lease would be negotiated between the district and the selected responder if the necessary entitlements are obtained.”
The district also reserves the right to reject any and all submissions at its sole and absolute discretion with our without cause, change the submittal requirements, or terminate the process at any time.


Anonymous said...

Well, if they are going to be leasing the property in this economy, I sure am glad Dr. Baird has gone on record stating that any lease the OUSD made would stipulate that all of the ordinances of the city of Ojai would have to be obeyed.

peas and ques said...

Daryl, anti-abortion? Is anyone pro-abortion? Please use anti-choice.

peas and ques said...

sorry, wrong thread, ooops