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On November 17, the Escondido City Council unanimously agreed to lease its old police department building on Grand Avenue to the San Diego North Economic Development Council. The rent? One dollar per year for up to five years.

Charles Grimm of the city manager’s office explained that the economic council would lease relatively small offices to new start-up companies at a low price. To help businesses get started, the agency will offer secretarial work, managerial support, and legal and tax advice.

“Professors from National University and Cal State San Marcos, as well as attorneys and CPAs, have expressed interest in participating [in our program],” said Gary Knight, chief executive of SDNEDC. “Not only can the advisors give back to the community, but the companies may grow and be full-paying clients in the future....

“If and when the fledgling company is ready to expand and move to larger quarters,” Knight continued, “they would commit to stay in Escondido for at least three years after graduation.” If a company were to break that commitment, undisclosed penalties would apply. However, said Knight, “Research shows that 78 to 85 percent of companies stay in the area in which they started.”

Pictured: Former Escondido police headquarters

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2010 @ 5:22 p.m.

On November 17, the Escondido City Council unanimously agreed to lease its old police department building on Grand Avenue to the San Diego North Economic Development Council. The rent? One dollar per year for up to five years.

Charles Grimm of the city manager’s office explained that the economic council would lease relatively small offices to new start-up companies at a low price.

So let me get this right, Escondido literally gives away valuable office space for FREE to a connected firm, so that the connected firm can then rent the same space out for a big profit.

Only in gov.......

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a2zresource Nov. 20, 2010 @ 8:39 p.m.

I've seen this tried before in the San Diego Community College District, in the form of high-tech-oriented enterprise "incubators" at San Diego City College during the 1990s? A number of small start-ups got on-campus demo production-line space and access to students in robotics, quality assurance, systems analysis & design, and other industry-useful majors. When the companies were somewhat viable, they were spun off to their own spaces off campus, but still maintaining ties for future program graduates. I remember the City College high-tech incubator programs were tour-worthy features for visiting dignitaries and worth a fair number of brownie bonus points for accreditation...

If it's pulled off well, it can drive some limited amount of job growth, and that could be a good thing if the smell of small-town nepotism doesn't get too strong... Hopefully, good local oversight can prevent that from happening, just to keep things honest. If CSU San Marcos is well-integrated into the project's employee preparation component, then hopefully the rather low rent won't be an inappropriate gift.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 21, 2010 @ 8:04 p.m.

If it's pulled off well, it can drive some limited amount of job growth, and that could be a good thing if the smell of small-town nepotism doesn't get too strong... Hopefully, good local oversight can prevent that from happening, just to keep things honest.

You have FAR more faith in our gov than I do a2z!

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Michael Mullenniex Nov. 21, 2010 @ 3:37 p.m.

Surfpuppy

You're right, on the surface it doesn't look too good for the business acumen of our local reps in city council.

However, part of the deal is that if there's a better offer or project for the building, the city can give the group 90 days notice to vacate and they could go forward with the new opportunity.

It's a three year lease for $1 per year with two one-year extension options. The idea is to collect sub-market rents from the fledglings and use that money for the secretarial, managerial and other services. Some services will be contributed, but I imagine others will need to receive cash to work there.

Knight also wants to install a broadband connection as an added attraction.

All in all it seems like a worthy endeavor, but oversight is crucial to make sure things work out well. If they misbehave, there's a jail there.

Mullenniex

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 21, 2010 @ 8:05 p.m.

All in all it seems like a worthy endeavor, but oversight is crucial to make sure things work out well. If they misbehave, there's a jail there.

========================= Oh, how I would put that jail to use!

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Michael Mullenniex Nov. 23, 2010 @ 10:26 a.m.

Hi Mindy. Things are going well, thanks. Hope you, husband and dogs are too!

In this slow economy, it does seem worthwhile to use the building for something. The city has to maintain the exterior part of the property regardless so they might as well get some use out of the interior.

Mullenniex

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