VALLEJO – The Vallejo City Council will be asked next Tuesday to approve the acquisition of two shuttered schools but city officials say they don’t have any immediate plans for the properties.
Vallejo is looking to purchase the former Crest School located at 1220 Gateway Drive in Northern Vallejo for at least $190,000 while also seeking to acquire the former Grant School located at 740 Fifth St. in South Vallejo.
If approved, the city won't pay the fair market value for Grant, which is listed at $300,000 outright, instead, the agreement allows the city to take possession of the 2.63 acre property "as is," with the city being on the hook to either remove or rehabilitate the school, which is expected to be equal or greater than $300,000.
The city will be using American Rescue Plan Act funds to fund the transactions, Assistant City Manager Gillian Hayes wrote in a staff report to the city council.
Hayes said the purchases will allow the city and its partners to invest in two parts of the city with a history of lacking access to services.
“The Crest neighborhood (in North Vallejo) has experienced limited city services and a higher than average crime rate,” Hayes wrote. “Acquisition of the site would provide an opportunity to invest in new services to the Crest community, potentially including after-school programs, city services, a partnership with a non-profit to provide services, mixed use, or affordable housing, among others.”
Hayes wrote that the Grant School site could be used for a fire station, or affordable housing, or some other mix use development.
The properties are owned by the Vallejo City Unified School District, which has sought to sell former school sites to boost revenue amid declining student enrollment and rising costs from new agreements with district unions.
City to return federal funds for supportive housing project
The city council is expected to approve returning $2.1 million to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) associated with the Blue Oak supportive housing project.
City officials announced last July that Vallejo needed to return $2.6 million to support the 75-unit project following a series of “administrative errors.” That figure was later reduced, according to Hayes, who said that the city is being allowed to keep $495,000.
Tuesday’s action amends a loan agreement with the project developer Vallejo PSH.
“This amount in HOME funding has been disallowed by HUD for non-compliance with HOME Program requirements in its implementation of the Blue Oak Landing Project, and one other HOME [Community Housing Development Organization] project, which was not completed in a timely manner,” Hayes wrote in a staff report. “HUD is in the process of de-obligating these funds, so that it will be ‘made whole.’
HUD’s HOME program is touted as the largest federal block grant for local and state governments to use “to create affordable housing for low-income households,” according to the HUD website.
Originally known as the Sacramento Street Apartments, Blue Oak Landing is the first housing project to be built in Vallejo with modules from Mare Island-based Factory_OS. The project includes 51 studio apartments, 18 one-bedroom, and five two-bedroom apartments.
The project received significant interest from the community as 1,049 applied for one of the apartments. The application period was only open for three hours last July.
Meanwhile, the Blue Oak Landing won’t open until May. The project had been slated to open by January, but city officials said that rain and issues with PG&E caused the delay.
The Vallejo City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., Tuesday inside the Vallejo City Hall Council Chambers at 555 Santa Clara St.
Members of the public will be able to participate in-person or remotely via Zoom.
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
Investigative reporting, regular updates, events and more
- Vallejo City Council
- Vallejo City Unified School District
- Grant School
- Crest School
- American Rescue Plan
- Gillian Hayes
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Sacramento Street Project
- Blue Oak Landing
John Glidden is a journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan has written for the Vallejo Times-Herald, Fairfield Daily Republic, the Appeal, and Solano Tempest.
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