County officials are negotiating with the owners of the 35-acre, 455,000-square-foot Marin Commons complex in San Rafael to determine what it would cost to buy the facility.
Acquiring the complex and turning it into a public safety center instead of constructing a building next to the Marin Civic Center is among proposals under consideration by the county board.
County supervisors met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss what an agenda called "price and terms of payment" with negotiators, apparently including representatives of Corac LLC of Delaware and its managing member, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., owners of the Marin Commons at 1600 and 1650 Los Gamos Road. The complex reverted to its lender in a $62 million foreclosure last year.
Although the county board's agenda disclosed the purpose of the closed meeting, and an official pointed it out to a reporter, all were mum when emerging from the private talks.
"We gave instructions to our real estate negotiator," said board president Judy Arnold, declining to elaborate.
"We're seriously looking at all our options," added Supervisor Steve Kinsey. "I can't say any more."
A plan to build a $100 million-plus public safety center near a dog park next to the Civic Center has been a political hot potato in Santa Venetia, where residents fear the move would ruin the neighborhood.
Former Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni, who lost a bid to unseat Supervisor Susan Adams in June, made abandoning the Civic Center
Acquisition and retrofitting of the earthquake-safe complex would save money and provide more than enough space for public safety facilities, allowing consolidation of other county leased facilities as well as the lease of unused areas.
At last report, the "preferred alternative" of the Board of Supervisors was the dog park site, where officials have long envisioned the first phase of an 85,000-square-foot public safety complex costing an initial $58 million. An environmental analysis will review several sites, including the Marin Commons complex.