“This could work out well”

 

The city of Stockton is moving forward with purchase of the Waterfront Tower buildings.

UOP economic analyst Jeff Michael gives thumbs-up to the city’s purchase of the Twin Towers for its new City Hall.

“I was skeptical when I first heard about this plan,” writes Michael, the Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, “mostly concerned about the City spending a large chunk of its reserves when it is projecting some tight budget years in the next decade and has yet to reach its staffing goal for the police force.  After taking a closer look, I believe this could work out well for the City in the long-run.

The historic City Hall is no longer suitable, Michael writes.  And the building the city leases from Assured Guaranty, “The 400 E. Main Street is twice as big as the City needs, and a City Hall is an awkward co-tenant in an office building.  Even if the City owned it, this would be a less than ideal structure – the City made a foolish and rushed decision to buy it in 2007.

That was when Edward Chavez was mayor and Gordon Palmer City Manager. I gave this deal applause at the time, but the full chaos of the city’s unsustainable finances was still largely unknown. My credulity explains why I was appropriately skeptical this time around.

“It doesn’t sound like the City is having a good experience with its bankruptcy antagonist Assured Guaranty as a landlord, which is understandable” Michael writes. “It will be interesting to see what Assured Guaranty does with this office building over time after the City moves out.”

Right. Assured wouldn’t speak to me on the record, but it was clear they are dismayed by the city’s decision to leave their building. Well, guys, you foreclosed on the city and took it; good luck.

Michael’s complete post includes some thoughts abut waterfront revival. Read it here.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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