.

What Would You Like to See Here?: The Commanding Officer’s Quarters

There are some empty spaces, vacant lots and occasionally a few abandoned shops around Benicia. This new feature gives you a chance to chime in on what you'd like to see in place of the open space—if anything at all.

The city has spent $3.6 million rehabilitating the Commanding Officer’s Quarters in the Arsenal.  Of that amount, $900,000 was grant money and the rest came from the general fund.

The building looks great but it still sits empty.  There have been some City Council meetings held there and it was the site of the city manager interviews but it is woefully under-utilized.

What would you like to see in the Commanding Officer’s Quarters building?  Please note that a Trader Joe’s is not an option for this building.

Karl Voigt March 02, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I'd like to see a business or businesses that pay rent and taxes. I'd like to see tax payers get something other than feel-good esthetics back from their two and a half MILLION $$$$ "investment" I've got several questions. How suitable is the building to various professional activities. Is it suitable for say Doctors and Dentists? Lawyers? IT folks? How do zoning and other regulations limit it's usage? Has the city made any effort at all to determine it's marketability ? I think we could all make much more intelligent suggestions about suitable uses if we had answers to these questions and more.
Krollpfeiffer & Co. March 02, 2012 at 06:09 PM
How about a center that serves the community through services the city and county needs along with as suggested, revenue producing taxable businesses. A conference room, attorneys, CPA'S, fraud investigator/private investigator and a small business support company or organization. Supporting local needs while benefitting businesses is a win-win. Krollpfeiffer & Co.
Lois Requist March 02, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Good questions, Karl. I'm going to address some of those in my column next week. The place most of those questions are addressed are in the Reuse Study, Final Report dated April 27, 2009. They'd hoped to rent it to a commercial entity, but won't rent it for an event to anyone but a governmental body or an NGO. Seems like taxpayers are left out. The actual money spent was #3.6 million.
Lois Requist March 02, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I meant to add the Reuse Study can be read at: http://www.ci.benicia.ca.us/vertical/Sites/%7B3436CBED-6A58-4FEF-BFDF-5F9331215932%7D/uploads/%7BC82AF887-D23E-443E-BB96-C635D56B909D%7D.PDF
Dennis Lowry March 03, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Most landlords establish a Tenant improvement amount to allow a tenant to develop the property he/she is leasing in a way that best suits their business in return for a long term lease. The City proceeded to invest $3.6million to restore the building, very nicely done, without any such tenant or lease. While the building is nicely restored it will most likely not meet most tenant requirements without additional modifications that will cost the taxpayer more money. It was an unwise decision to make improvements to this building without a signed long term lease to allow the investment to pay a true dividend. The $800,000 grant money, in this case seed money, that had to be spent led to the balance coming out of the General Fund. The core question that must be asked is, has the City Staff and City Council learned from this mistake or do they continue to do what they seem to always do, waste taxpayer money? Unfortunately, I fear little will be learned or applied in the next case.
Fred Schlatter March 04, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Benicia Fine Art Museum
Robert Livesay March 04, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I would like to see it used as a commericial revenue producing building. Law offices, real estate offices along with meeting rooms. It would also be perfect for a learning center or college extension site. No Fine Art Museum is needed. We have art all over the city.
T. Gunter March 05, 2012 at 03:04 AM
B&B/Tattoo Studio/Record Label Office
Robert Livesay March 05, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Fred your idea does have some merit. Now here is the big problem. How is it funded. Grants, city, donations, Arts Benicia funds? This could with any combination of renters cost close to $20,000 a month in rent and up keep. Now in this tough economic times stable renter income would be the answer. You could rent it at a sliding scale going up over a five year period. Something is better than nothing. By the way T, how about an escort service.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something