Yesterday, I wrote about my concerns about the proposed Mif Albright land swap. At the City Council meeting, the direction was to negotiate further with Ron Cowan to come up with a better plan. However, if they are going to be starting from the land appraisals that were done for the two properties then the City is already coming in at a disadvantaged negotiating position.
Mif Albright: $9,150,000
North Loop: $8,790,000
Here’s the problem with the North Loop assessment: the value was based on entitling the property for 112 residential units. So you may be thinking, but wait, didn’t Ron Cowan try that already and faced huge opposition and therefore has a zero likelihood of houses ever being placed on the property? Not to mention the fact that the parcel is right in the landing path for Oakland Airport? Yeah, me too.
So that price is waaaaayyyyyyy overvalued if you ask me. Although I am not a professional appraiser.
The appraiser notes in the document that if the site was considered for business park uses — which it currently is — then the value would be $8 million even. Somehow, given the current state of the economy and the high number of commercial vacancies throughout Alameda, I think this is fairly high as well for the North Loop site as well.
While the City should take these appraisals into consideration, by no means should they be used to justify any substandard deal that might result from swapping one clearly inferior site for a much superior one.
Interestingly enough, the appraisal uses the Neptune Pointe auction as one of the comparables for the site. If anyone was interested, the auction was actually extended for a few weeks and the eventual winning big was $1,800,000 for the property.