A $400,000,000 Bargaining Chip...
or a failure to plan and develop?
The numbers show that it is a bad idea to continue this current use. How bad?
- 768 cells
- 301,200 SF
- $1100PSF cost.
Approximately $15 million has been spent to plan and cost out this project.
The asset is 432 acres of southern exposure waterfront in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. See the problem here? The site is worth $400 Million with a transit village use permitted on it[.pdf]. A comparable site in Susanville, Chowchilla, or the like would be $2 to $5 million. Construction costs would be 15 to 20% lower in these locations.
I hope that this present position by the Department of Corrections is merely a bargaining position--from a land use and community development perspective it makes no sense. The State Auditor slammed it [.pdf] for improperly looking at alternatives--partially because state law requires death row to be at San Quentin.
The jobs created by this project will not benefit Marin residents, it costs more to build in Marin than perhaps anywhere else in the state, the operating costs will be higher, and there is no benefit to the state to being here. Other than they already "own" the site. Wait a minute--don't we--the tax paying citizens of California--own this site? Is this the smartest move to make with our asset?
The planners at the county have thrown in the towel. Here was their vision plan for the site [.pdf]. From the Marin Countywide Plan 2007 Update:
However, it is the clear intent of the State of California to continue and expand the use of the San Quentin site as a State Prison for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the Vision Plan is no longer under consideration for inclusion in the Countywide Plan and is not discussed in this EIR.
To the rescue come our legislators. Senate Bill 228, decommissioning San Quentin, was introduced in February. Our Senator Migden signed on. It will likely be considered a "two year bill" due to the court ordered receivership currently running prison improvements.
The $336.5 million was not requested in the May revised spending plan. Assemblyman Huffman was told that Schwarzenegger will ask for the money in a supplemental request.