Santa Clara Fairgrounds agreement made

August 13, 2008 9:39:49 PM PDT
After years of debate, there is an agreement in place to transform more than 100 acres of land at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds is 150 acres of valuable Silicon Valley real estate, owned by the county. Seventeen developers expressed an interest in creating a master plan for the land. After careful review, county staff wants the board of supervisors go with Catellus, a $40 billion real estate developer that has proven itself on several Bay Area projects.

"We're looking for a vision for how we can really create a space that works in this community for mixed-use development -- both housing and commercial," says Gwendolyn Mitchell, a Santa Clara County spokesperson.

Catellus is making a PowerPoint presentation Wednesday night at the fairgrounds, but ideas are in the very early stages. Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage says for him any final plan must not only generate revenue for the county, but also preserve a portion of the property for a scaled back county fair and other big community events and festivals.

"I just think it's really important to have different cultures and regions and everyone else, to have a place to meet, to celebrate," says Gage.

The push for development comes after more than a decade of bickering about what should be done with the land and back and forth lawsuits with San Jose that are now in the past.

"It's a big project, it's going to be a long project, it will be complicated and we will have to work together and that's what we're doing," says San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

The long planning process starts with picking a developer and will involve months of public hearings.

"It's their property. It's owned by the people of the County of Santa Clara and I think they need input into it," says Gage.

Wednesday's meeting, and another one on August 21st are a build-up to a presentation before the board of supervisors on August 26th and the launching of a formal community outreach program.


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