City’s $1.3 million land-sale hits snag but revenue fight ensues 

The sale of the city-owned 909 Tennessee St. property hit a snag when the winning bidder just backed out of the deal. But The City is rebidding the sale and expects to sell it for at least $1.3 million.

On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee held a hearing on the land deal and found out the sale hit a snag. But that didn’t stop members of the board to debate what should happen with this unexpected revenue during a tough budget year.

About $725,000 of the land sale would go to the Fire Department, since it was that department’s land. That leaves an additional $519,000, that would go to The City’s general fund. Supervisor Jane Kim, however, said she wanted to make sure that money would go toward permanent housing for the homeless. The City’s surplus property law says surplus property revenue should benefit the homeless, but it’s a policy call by the board. Supervisor Malia Cohen, however, said the money should go toward the Potrero Hill HopeSF project, a 600 unit public housing site. 

“[909 Tennessee St.] sits in Dog Patch, which is in District 10,” Cohen said. “My interest now is in the remaining revenue. There are obviously many needs that we need to address with the general fund support and affordable housing is one of our top objectives.”

Budget Committee Chair Carmen Chu cautioned against making decisions now about how the money should be spent. “As we head into the budget season we know that we are going to have a significant budget shortfall to face,” Chu said. She said any decisions about use of new revenue should be made in the context of “trade offs” of other cuts that are going to have to be made in the budget.

The debate over the revenue, however, is a little premature. The money cannot be allocated until the sale is completed.

John Updike, acting director of the Department of Real Estate, said he expects new bids to come in sometime next month.

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