I ran across an interesting news item last night. The City of Palo Alto is studying entering into a public/private partnership with developer Jay Paul, in which Jay Paul would provide the city with land for a new police station and build that new police station, in exchange for being permitted to exceed existing development standards when building a new office complex nearby. Palo Alto is only just getting into this issue, but the reaction to the proposal seems to be positive.
Why is this relevant to Sunnyvale? It applies to the public/private partnership that we’re beginning to research for possible replacement of the civic center buildings. It will be very nice having Palo Alto pursuing a similar initiative, but out in advance of anything we might do, because we can see what they’re doing and use their lessons when we consider our own initiative and the value of our own assets versus what a developer may ask for.
It was also really surprising to me to learn of the terms that are being discussed. Note that Jay Paul isn’t just being asked to construct a new building for Palo Alto – he’s also being asked to give them the land for it. That’s a significant sacrifice, much more than I would have expected. And it bodes very well for our own concept. It certainly changes my perception of how strong Sunnyvale’s negotiating position really is, and what we might or might not have to give up to get what we need, if we do end up pursuing this.