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City Sells Great America Lot, Silicon Valley Power & Convention Center Lose Money

The sale of a 112-acre parking lot near California’s Great America to Cedar Fair will net the City of Santa Clara roughly $15 million.

Located at 1 Great America Pkwy., the parcel is one of several that the dissolution of the redevelopment agencies (RDAs) mandated the City, as the successor agency, sell. The ground lease on the property, which is leased to the theme park, has 56 years remaining.

The $150.25 million sale — of which the City will see 10 percent go into its general fund — allows Great America to continue to lease the lot along with a billboard near it; however, the City will retain the right to use 5 percent of the billboard time for City promotion and another 5 percent for public service announcements.


Because Levi’s Stadium also uses a portion of the lot for parking, City Attorney Brian Doyle said it is unlikely the City would have been able to develop the lot into anything other than parking for “the foreseeable future.”

As always, one of the Council Members bemoaned the dissolution of the RDAs.

Vice Mayor Patricia Mahan called it a “very painful, long process” and a “substantial loss.”

“This is really the best possible outcome,” she said.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor echoed Mahan’s sentiments, calling Great America a “key anchor tenant.” Manuel Gonzalez, General Manager at Great America, seemed pleased, too.
“We have been dating for a long time now, and we are going to be married,” he said.


Silicon Valley Power Gives Quarterly Report

Despite a 2.8 percent sales growth, Silicon Valley Power saw a slight decrease in actual growth over the last quarter. That lower-than-expected power load will reduce the expected general fund contribution.

Some reasons for the dip in growth — negative .8 percent — is due to mild weather and the cost of fuel cell installation, said Manuel Pineda, Assistant City Manager, who gave the presentation while the department searches for a replacement for Jon Roukema, the previous director of Silicon Valley Power.

PG&E’s bankruptcy could have indirect effects on regulatory policy as well as the market, Pineda said. Despite the decrease and growth and the challenges associated with PG&E’s bankruptcy, there is cause for optimism.

A new database called e-Builder, which the Council approved via the consent calendar, will allow Silicon Valley Power employees to get instant data on capital improvement projects. A “think tank” now allows input from a variety of City employees, something Pineda said “engages them to be creative.”

The possibility of using Tesla batteries in lieu of generators, installing fiber optic cable, and making all City accounts green are also on the horizon, he added.

Housing Projects Delayed

Two housing projects saw delays in response to public concerns.

Concerns over parking in the area surrounding a housing development, set to be located at 1900 Warburton Ave., caused the City to hire a consultant. That consultant, Design Professional Services, will meet with community members, study the area to determine if street parking generated by the development will have a significant impact, and, if so, what can be done to mitigate it.

The contract was $66,156.

The Gateway Crossings project, set to be located at 1205 Coleman Ave., also got delayed. The developer of the  1,600-apartment, 225-hotel-room project, Hunter/Storm, is doing additional community outreach to redesign the project, said Andrew Crabtree, Director of Community Development.

The Council rescheduled the hearing to an uncertain date once the redesign is complete.


Revenue Up, Spending Up More

Financial reports show that although tax revenue increased 8 percent in January, spending has increased 10 percent. The Santa Clara Convention Center net revenue is down roughly 30 percent from a year ago while the City Clerk’s office has increased its spending by 64 percent.

Via the consent calendar, the Council also gave the Assistant City Clerk new duties formerly held by the City Clerk: the clerk or secretary of the Housing Authority, Sports and Open Space Authority, and Public Financing Facilities Corporation.

The Council meets again Tuesday, April 9 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.


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