If you remember back in September of 2015, McDonalds on the peninsula closed permanently. Afterwards, the building was sold in June of 2016 for $1.975m— and it has been abandoned ever since. Now, the city wants to buy this abandoned property for $4million. Yes, that is a two million dollar appreciation in just one year, on a property that costs less than two million dollars (because believe it or not: sitting abandoned for two years does not increase property value, contrary to what the city believes).
But why is the city going to be burning our tax dollars to begin with? According to Diane Dixon, the McDonalds building is a perfect location to move the Lido firehouse to, for some unknown reason.
You might be asking yourself: Isn’t that the *opposite* direction that a fire station should be moving, if we even need to move it to begin with? Yes, it is. Between the McDonalds and the 7th Street station there are only 19 blocks, meaning that each fire station will cover less than 10 blocks of territory. Yes, I am dead serious.
As approximately 87% of fire department calls are “medical” calls, Lido Isle is in far more need of this fire station than Balboa Blvd, but this proposal will add an extra precious two minutes to response times compared to the current location.
UPDATE: The city proclaims that a study which it had commissioned proved that moving the fire station two minutes away from Lido Isle will not increase response times by two minutes. You can believe that if you want. Here’s a driving map from Google:
THIS IS PUTTING PEOPLES LIVES AT RISK FOR POLITICAL FAVORS.
The city claims that it will sell the current location in order to fund the new location, but they also sold the Balboa Theater for $1m instead of my offer for $1.6m or another offer for $1.7m (the top offer should have gotten the deal)– that means they sold the property for nearly half of what they had ACTIVE OFFERS FOR, costing the taxpayers the better part of a million dollars.
The up-and-coming hotel which is occupying the old City Hall site is paying somewhere between 1/6th to 1/12th of market rates, according to all estimates I have ever heard from anyone who isn’t the City of Newport.
The old Blockbuster was purchased for more than 3x what it was worth and torn down and repaved for a cost to taxpayers of $10.5m to turn it into a parking lot. How many spots did we get out of that deal? We actually have two *fewer* spots, because the decision was made to put a right-hand turn lane in. So we lost a huge building, two parking spots, and $10.5m to put a turn lane in which *might* save *some* people a few seconds in their commute which they knew they were going to be making when they bought their property to begin with.
So will “Team Newport” vote to blow this money and move a firestation further away from Lido Isle, where medical calls are frequent, and to put that loud firestation in front of a residential street, on some of the last remaining areas to even consider a drive-through on Balboa Blvd?
If they do, there will probably be a price to pay that is far more than giving their friends millions of taxpayer dollars above market value for their property.
Think this is a bad idea? Tell city council, at firstname.lastname@example.org