Multi-use development to enliven downtown district

A Philanthropic Center and a separate development set to include commercial space and condos will give a positive lift to downtown Hollister and a boost to the nonprofit community.

Hollister City Council members approved a disposition agreement for the open space next to The Vault and Briggs Building parking garage, but the developer must still refine design plans. In May 2016, the city council approved going forward in exclusive talks with Del Curto Bros. and the Community Foundation for San Benito County to sell the city’s property in the 400 block of San Benito Street for a multi-use development.

The city owns the plot after the dissolution of the former Redevelopment Agency, which purchased the property following damage to structures on the lot during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The move to sell the property comes after the California Legislature passed the Dissolution Act in 2011 to eliminate redevelopment agencies in the state. The city’s successor agency, which replaced the redevelopment agency, must eventually unload all remaining redevelopment agency assets.

Debate seems to continue on as council members move forward, but this has been a done deal for a long time and there hasn’t been much of anything new to discuss to cause controversy.

The projects should, on the other hand, be a cause for celebration. The condos and commercial portions of the endeavor will help to revitalize a key part of downtown and create a hub for activity, with students, business patrons and downtown employees creating a diverse mix of people and consumers in the area.

With the Philanthropic Center, it is being built through a generous donation from the Wolf family. That means it stands to immediately benefit the local nonprofit community and the many local residents who donate or take part in those organizations. It should stand to house at least a half-dozen organizations, which will further help groups work together toward local causes.

As the rest of the community moves forward on this positive development, Mayor Ignacio Velazquez and a few others have continued to openly oppose the project. But the mayor has a clear bias on the matter, as he owns The Vault property next door, and there isn’t a broader concern expressed in the community.

Although there is some work to do with refinement of design, it’s exciting to finally see this great set of projects move forward.

by the community insight board

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