Here is the text of the letter written by Hercules City Manager Steve Duran commenting on the letter by a group of Hercules residents asking the city to rescind some recent property sales by the city.
In regard to the Times article on Hercules land sales, a few additional facts will help clear the fog of mere allegations. I stated that the City Council's consideration of Purchase and Sales Agreements for the sale of real properties were properly noticed, published on agendas with contracts available to the public, and discussed and voted on in public meetings. In addition, regarding the two properties for which there is no retail interest, there was a town-hall meeting to discuss the sales before the City Council approved the purchase contracts at subsequent meetings. That's as transparent as it can get. Regarding City Council direction for the marketing of the sites, the City Council clearly directed staff to market the properties for the highest and best use and the highest price in each case, and to consider all land uses. The site that is now in contract with Safeway is obviously an outstanding retail site and that's why they want it. The site that is now proposed for high-end transit-oriented residential apartments is walking distance from the Transit Center site and the retail node planned for Bayfront Boulevard adjacent to the transit center. That is the best use for the site because: it will support transit and the retail node; there is no interest from retail developers or users for this site; and retail experts have advised that it is not a good retail site. The final site is also a non-starter for retail due to location and the best offers were from single-family residential developers. I have provided the Times and those that filed the complaint with agendas and resolutions confirming the proper noticing as well as City Council authorization to list the properties for sale. There remains a question as to the noticing of closed session items under real estate negotiations as to how to identify negotiating parties when multiple offers are being considered for one site. The City Attorney is researching this.
City of Hercules
111 Civic Drive
Hercules, CA 94547