Service Center property sells in a flash; approval eminent

It all happened in record time for the Claremont Unified School District when the its Service Center property, located at 700 Base Line Rd., was auctioned off in less than 5 minutes.

Rich Blogg, senior vice president of land acquisitions, on behalf of homebuilder D.R. Horton, made the conforming bid. The bid will be brought before the school board for approval at their next meeting, set for Thursday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m.

D.R. Horton has agreed to pay CUSD’s $7 million asking price, with a $10,000 deposit, for the nearly 144,000-foot property. In February of 2012, D.R. Horton purchased another piece of district property, the 4.25-acre site of CUSD’s old District Offices (2080 N. Mountain Ave.), for nearly $6.2 million. The homebuilder is expected to break ground on a housing development there as soon as this summer.

It is likely the board will approve D.R. Horton’s latest bid. After all, board members declared the Service Center site surplus—at the recommendation of the district—because the homebuilder had expressed interest in purchasing it for a phase 2 of the aforementioned housing development.

Once the bid is approved, the district will need to find a replacement site for the Service Center, a need that has been a topic of discussion at CUSD gatherings in recent weeks. San Antonio High School has been suggested as a site, an idea that some have questioned, worrying that placing a Service Center there would take away from beneficial open space.

At a May 22 meeting of community members who live near San Antonio High School, some people also expressed concerns about an industrial facility like a Service Center being unsuitable for a single-family residential neighborhood.

Rick Cota, Service Center Director, notes that the district’s new center of operations will be significantly streamlined, perhaps encompassing 6000 square feet of building space on 30,000 square feet of land. He has also emphasized that the district is still looking at every possible option with regards to the location of a new Service Center.

The swiftness of the auction process was a source of bemusement for those who presided over the bidding, who included, among others, Mr. Cota; Lisa Shoemaker, CUSD assistant superintendent of business services; consulting attorney Constance J. Schwindt of the Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo law firm; and representatives of Tierra Development Advisors, the real estate firm that has helped promote the sale of both the District Office and Service Center properties.

“This is probably one of the fast hearings I have ever been part of,” Ms. Schwindt laughed.

—Sarah Torribio



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