The County of San Diego on July 19 published a request for proposals to develop 31.47 acres of industrial property at Gillespie Field, vacant land located at the northwest corner of Cuyamaca Street and Weld Boulevard.
The Weld Boulevard RFP for county-owned airport land assesses a $500 nonrefundable proposal fee and requires that the developer selected by the county spend a minimum $8.65 million on capital improvements. The arrangement includes a 55-year lease and minimum initial monthly rent of $45,000.
The $8.65 million figure is based on a formula of $5000 per acre per year multiplied by 55 years, according to the draft document that the Gillespie Field Development Council discussed at its July 16 meeting. The council is an advisory committee representing a joint powers agreement between the county and City of El Cajon.
Councilmembers discussed the prospect of the county receiving a proposal similar to an earlier plan, which was cleared by the FAA for non-aeronautic use; that plan, the Forrester Creek Industrial Park proposed by Pacific Scene Commercial, consisted of four buildings encompassing more than 440,000 square feet "of office, light industrial, and warehouse space," according to a county "Business Parks" web page.
According to council meeting minutes, the council recommended Pacific Scene's lease and development agreement and option to lease, and county supervisors in 2008 approved both. The following year, El Cajon certified an environmental impact report for the development.
The agreement gave Pacific Scene two years to complete the lease and allowed for an extension due to "force majeure," a term indicating an unexpected event. This was defined to include economic recession, and Pacific Scene in March 2010 requested an extension because of the recession. The development agreement did not provide any payment beyond the original $75,000 given to the county for extensions, according to the minutes.
“Following Pacific Scene’s last request for an extension, the county informed Pacific Scene that it would be the final extension, and would expire on January 31, 2013. The period expired without Pacific Scene executing the lease," according to the minutes.
At this month's meeting, councilmembers discussed the destination of money paid by a future developer. Payments to submit the request for proposals go to the County Airports system, which will also collect rent. El Cajon would receive payments such as permit fees. Property taxes would be paid to the city, county, and state.
The RFP schedule calls for the selection of a developer on October 31, with negotiations on issues such as the lease concluded by November 30. Documents related to those issues would be presented for review by the Gillespie Field Development Council on January 19, 2014, and scheduled for county supervisors' approval in February.
Gillespie Field is the oldest and largest of the eight county airports. In addition to the aviation facilities and infrastructure located within the airport, Gillespie Field includes three business parks. According to the county website, these provide more than 3000 jobs in El Cajon and "generate a $110 million boost to the local economy in direct, indirect, and induced revenues."