The sale of the dilapidated and long-vacant former police station was approved Tuesday with a 4-0 vote by the Redding City Council.
Equity Streams, a Redding firm that plans to transform the brick building and parking lot into a co-sharing work space for startups and a small restaurant or brewery, will pay $650,000.
Mayor Brent Weaver, who owns property on the same block, abstained from the vote.
Terms of the agreement require Equity Streams to develop at least half of the property within four years or risks having the city buy back the property for the sale price. The city also has the right to buy it back if Equity Streams wishes to sell the property to another developer. If more than $750,000 is invested in the property, the city loses its right to repurchase it.
Equity Streams first indicated an interest in the old police station last November when it made its $650,000 offer. Hours before the council was scheduled to consider it, the McConnell Foundation came in with a $675,000 bid.
The two parties briefly flirted with collaboration before Equity Streams backed out. Rather than compete with Equity Streams, the McConnell Foundation withdrew its offer while maintaining its commitment “to being a long-term stakeholder in the revitalization of downtown Redding,” according to John Mancasola, the foundation’s president and CEO.
At the November council meeting, an attorney for the McConnell Foundation spokesman said the philanthropic organization had been interested in the building for a year or more, but it had always been in connection with McConnell’s ongoing negotiations with Union Pacific. Those negotiations concern a potential land swap that would free up the UP railyard property west of the railroad tracks and north of Yuba Street.
Councilwoman Julie Winter’s motion to approve Tuesday’s sale was supported by Councilman Adam McElvain. Escrow is scheduled to close in 90 days. The building was sold “as is.”
In other action Tuesday, the council:
Continuum of Care & the homeless
--Voted 5-0 to send a letter to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) expressing the city’s support of the Redding/Shasta Continuum of Care (CoC). The CoC is a partnership of agencies, nonprofits and service providers tasked with delivering services to the homeless.
The letter, recommended by Weaver, was in response to a letter Councilwoman Kristen Schreder sent to HUD that detailed her concerns with the CoC.
Schreder, who spearheaded the Redding Area Homelessness Coalition Project, has argued that the CoC needs to formalize a coordinated one-stop entry system to streamline the delivery of services and invest in software designed to manage information on homeless populations and services.
Both requirements, she said, are essential if Redding and Shasta County are to obtain vital HUD funding in an increasingly competitive environment. Currently, in terms of HUD funding on a per capita basis, the Redding/Shasta CoC ranks just 387th out of 395 CoCs in the country. “Clearly we can do better,” Schreder said.
Sandra Oswald, an event coordinator with Shasta Support Service and the organizer of January’s point-in-time homeless survey, told the council she was “deeply disgusted” by Schreder’s letter to HUD. Dale Ball, also with the Shasta Support Service volunteer group, said the letter will hinder the delivery of services to the homeless and he called on Schreder to resign.
The mission’s good news
--Heard an update from Jonathan Anderson, executive director of the Good News Rescue Mission. In the three years Anderson has been on the job, the mission has helped 112 clients enroll in college and helped 166 more find employment.
In the past two years, more than 600 clients have transitioned into permanent housing, Anderson said. New projects include a community outreach project in cooperation with the Redding Police Department and ongoing negotiations with local hospitals to establish a medical respite center at the mission.
Councilwoman Winter said she wanted to thank Anderson “for having a heart for those who don’t have a voice” while Councilwoman Francie Sullivan said “we owe you about four hours of applause” for the mission’s efforts.
U Prep’s brainpower
--Awarded proclamations to the five University Preparatory High School students who captured first place in the 20th annual Redding Regional Science Bowl at Simpson University. It was U Prep’s fifth straight victory, according to Matt Madison of the sponsoring Redding Electric Utility.
The winning team of Katherine Woodworth, Sam Newcomer, Luke Blankenberg, Kevin Liu and Nick Schumann earned an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Science Bowl later this month. Team coaches are Brian Murphy and Corey Poole.
This year, the high schoolers will be joined by the U Prep Middle School team, which also captured first place in the first year middle schools were invited to compete. Winning team members are Thomas Neill, Kevin Matthews, Shaun Saini, Abby Bowling and Logan Hunt. Morgan Peck was their coach.