Cow Palace to sell overflow parking lot

August 22, 2008 7:03:58 PM PDT
The California State Assembly today approved a bill that would allow the state to sell a 13-acre overflow parking lot on state-owned Cow Palace property in Daly City, according to a spokesman for Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, who authored the bill.

Daly City officials have expressed interest in the land, where the city hopes to build a grocery store and other much needed buildings as part of a revitalization effort in the city's Bayshore community, Sen. Lee's spokesman Adam Keigwin said.

SB 1527, which was approved on a bipartisan vote of 55-14, originally gave Daly City exclusive rights to purchase the land, Keigwin said. The newly crafted bill would allow the Department of General Services to sell the property to the highest bidder, with proceeds going to the state's Fairs and Exposition Fund.

Daly City will be offered an equal chance to match the highest bidder for the lot, but the state will ultimately sell the property to the bidder who offers the most money, Keigwin said.

The Daly City City Council will remain the redevelopment agency for the land, which has been earmarked as an area for a grocery story and other amenities in the city's general plan. The city will not allow the land to be developed into something that does not include the basic services the Bayshore community currently lacks, Keigwin said.

"Through SB 1527, the Bayshore neighborhood can finally be revitalized and receive a grocery store, bank, post office and elementary school," Yee said in a prepared statement.

A total of about 40 acres could be available for such projects by pooling a parcel of land the Daly City Redevelopment Agency already owns, a lot owned by a private developer and the 13-acre Cow Palace lot, Keigwin said.

The original SB 1527 called for the sale of all Cow Palace land to Daly City, and the demolition of the nearly 70-year-old event center. However, controversy stemmed from event planners and organizers who currently use the Cow Palace for the Grand National Rodeo Horse and Stock Show, Disney on Ice, the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show and many other events. Keigwin said resistance was also due to nostalgia for the old venue, built in 1941.

Sen. Lee offered a compromise to sell only the overflow lot on Cow Palace property while allowing the arena to remain with the hope the state Fairs and Exposition Board will bring the building up to code and revitalize its ability to attract lucrative events, Keigwin said.

Money from the sale of the 13-acre lot could potentially go toward efforts to restore the Cow Palace through the Fairs and Exposition Fund, Keigwin added.

SB 1527 was passed as an urgency measure, meaning the bill would become law immediately if signed by the governor, who has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the legislation. Keigwin said the urgency is based on the Bayshore community's needs.

"The city and Bayshore community need this sooner rather than later," Keigwin said.


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