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Hollister
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August 18, 2022

Leatherback development plans progress

City releases request for proposals to develop the vacant
site
The City of Hollister will require that any planned
redevelopment of the former Leatherback properties on Hillcrest
Road and McCray Street include at least three acres of land for the
local YMCA, according to a request for proposals to be released to
developers next week.
City releases request for proposals to develop the vacant site

The City of Hollister will require that any planned redevelopment of the former Leatherback properties on Hillcrest Road and McCray Street include at least three acres of land for the local YMCA, according to a request for proposals to be released to developers next week.

The City Council, in its role as the board of the Hollister Redevelopment Agency, this week authorized staff to seek proposals for developing nearly seven acres on three parcels east of downtown. The RDA purchased the property for $4 million and spent nearly $600,000 to demolish buildings and remove contaminated soil at the site, which formerly housed a roofing materials manufacturing company.

The request for proposals is expected to be sent to more than two dozen developers and be posted on the city’s website early next week, according to Development Services Director William Avera, who said proposals must be returned by July 29. From there, a selection committee will review the submissions, select the top three plans and then bring the top one to the RDA board.

The city could then enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with a developer, who would work to secure financing and begin the planning process while the city evaluates the project from a redevelopment perspective.

Avera presented a request for proposals to the council last month, but was directed to modify it to include a provision that part of the development set aside acreage for the YMCA.

“The developer will not be required to build anything for the YMCA, just to work with them so the two developments could work in harmony with each other,” he said. “We’re asking them to reserve three acres for the YMCA in the overall site, but it does not say where.”

Avera said the YMCA is waiting for a project developer to be chosen and a particular parcel set aside for the agency before it re-starts a capital campaign to fund a facility there.

“They believe it is difficult to ask for donations if they don’t have a site,” he said. “Once they have a site, they can really amp up their fundraising strategies.”

Rochelle Callis of the YMCA said the organization is “very excited” about the land set-aside noted in the development proposal. She said some donors have pledged money toward a YMCA project, which she hopes will include a pool, gymnasium, a health and wellness area, areas for teens and seniors, and office space.

“If any land is left over, we’d also like an outside area,” she said, noting that the YMCA project could cost between $12 million and $15 million to build.

“That seems very big and unattainable, but Ys can be built in phases and we have a good start on our capital campaign,” Callis said.

The city’s General Plan designates the former Leatherback property as mixed-use and neighborhood mixed-use, though RDA staff has recommended against residential development there.

“Staff would probably shy away from residential or a true mixed-use project there,” Avera said. “We still have heavy industrial users immediately adjacent to the property, so we’re hoping for some sort of retail/commercial establishment or offices. We’re hoping that whatever’s built there can generate some sales tax revenue.”

In addition to residential and office space, other ideas floated for the site have included a grocery store, entertainment complex and classroom space for Gavilan College.

“Once I thought Gavilan really wanted to be a tenant, but now I understand they want to own the facility that they’re in,” Avera said. “I will provide information to any developer, so if Gavilan wants to be a tenant there they can respond to the RFP. The only negative part is if you have both the YMCA and Gavilan owning a majority of the site, generally those facilities don’t pay property tax. From a community perspective, though, it’s not a bad deal.”

Adam Breen
A staff member edited this provided article.

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