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If you were under the impression that San Diego was only dealing with one real estate deal involving a long-term lease and millions of dollars’ worth of unforeseen renovation costs, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
As Andrew Keatts reports, the city signed a long-term lease deal for a property in Kearny Mesa in 2017 but still can’t use the space. The idea was for the city to have a property where it could repair city fire trucks. Getting the property ready was supposed to cost $6.5 million.
Stop me if this sounds familiar but “once the city took control of the property, though, officials learned that the construction needs were more extensive than they had estimated, and that cost ballooned,” Keatts reports. “A City Council committee last week greenlit the repairs, which will now run the city about $15 million. The full Council is expected to vote on the spending next month.”
On top of the repair costs, the city will have spent almost $6 million in rent alone by the time the building is ready.
The ongoing problems with the facility, which Keatts first revealed last year, were called out in a recent city audit that also blasted the city’s acquisition of 101 Ash St.
“The report said the city needs to start appraising properties it plans to lease before it leases them, especially if there are major repairs needed before the city can move in,” Keatts writes.
Even the smallest sprinkling of rain, like San Diego experienced on Monday, is often enough to close some local beaches because of the sewage flowing through the Tijuana River.
More than 18 months ago, members of Congress and other local leaders celebrated the EPA’s award of $300 million to help address the cross-border sewage crisis. Our Border Report contributor Gustavo Solis remembers the announcement as a big victory lap that politicians welcomed with a press conference. Yet there’s been little meaningful action since then, Solis reports. The EPA still hasn’t announced the projects it plans to fund with the money.
“Once the EPA identifies projects, there will be a ‘pretty comprehensive environmental analysis.’ In other words, don’t expect any major work on the Tijuana River Valley any time soon,” Solis writes.
We’ll be keeping a close eye out for that project list. As VOSD has reported, many of the projects that could address the issue are located in Mexico – but that’s not not where U.S. officials want to see the money spent.
The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Andrew Keatts.