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Re-Use Evaluation of San Quentin State Prison Site
Client: The State of California Department of General Services
dashed line separator Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) provided the economic and financial feasibility inputs to address the potential sale and reuse of the approximately 275-acre San Quentin Prison property. This study was commissioned by the California Legislature and focused on the physical constraints and associated costs of reusing the San Quentin property, as well as presenting an analysis of the economic opportunities of redeveloping the site after taking these costs into account.

GG+A evaluated the economic and financial feasibility of three land use alternatives. The first is a 506-unit residential community. This alternative represents the fewest residential units, no ferry terminal, minimal retail space and the most historic reuse.

Alternative 2 includes 2,097 units in a transit village. This alternative increases the amount of retail space and housing, reduces the number of historic buildings that would be reused, but includes a ferry terminal and intermodal transportation center. Alternative 2 also includes approximately 300 units of affordable housing.

Alternative 3 is a new town with approximately 3,585 units, 500+ of which are affordable. This alternative is aimed at maximizing the new housing supply. It also includes the maximum amount of retail and office uses to take advantage of the intermodal transportation center.

A low and high range of net residual land values was estimated for each of the three alternatives. The low estimates range from about $129 million for Alternative 1 to approximately $421 million for Alternative 3. The high estimates range from approximately $205 million for Alternative 1 to $664 million for Alternative 3.

One of the State's reuse objectives is to obtain sufficient dollars to pay for the cost of rehousing the death row and other San Quentin prisoners into new facilities located somewhere within the Bay Region. GG+A's market forecasts and financial conclusions were reviewed by the State of California Department of General Services and the Marin County task force assigned to make recommendations concerning the possible re-use of the prison site. All parties agreed that the forecasts and valuations were reasonable given the alternatives postulated in the study. The County commissioned a process of citizen participation and planning to refine the initial alternatives and identify new ones. GG+A has been asked by the State to utilize the financial model that GG+A built for the San Quentin property to help monitor the County's process and, in the spirit of collaboration, feed back to all parties the likely market value of the planning options being considered in the County planning process.

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