Update: As of July 1, 2009, Peebles Corp. has defaulted on its 2008 property taxes. A search for one of the quarry parcels now includes the the notation:
One of the constants in the Peebles Corp's ownership of the Quarry property is the way the company's public statements constantly change. Another example of this recently appeared in the news.
A June 17, 2009 article by Julia Scott titled "Economy making it difficult to sell Pacifica quarry", quotes Peebles Corp Vice President Daniel Grimm:
Peebles made a small fortune on the Bath Club, by exploiting a loophole that let him get the property rezoned.
"The owners were asking for $25 million to $30 million, but no one was willing to pay because it wasn't going to make money unless it got rezoned -- the building couldn't be taller than 40 feet. The rezoning would take two years. I found a loophole that would allow us to go up to 200 feet in height and offered $10 million, contingent on the rezoning.
After the Bath Club got rezoned, a brokerage firm offered me $42 million for the property."
After only 5 months, Peebles' posted his financial analysis. It assumes:
Even with those inflated numbers, he still has to include $500,000 in sales tax (which at the charrette he said he couldn't estimate) and $100,000 in business improvement district fees in order to reach the promised $17 million. (Actually, $16.7 million.)
Mr. Peebles claims that he can build in the Quarry a viable luxury hotel targeting corporate events. I don't doubt his expertise in the hotel business. Neither should he doubt mine: I am his customer.
I must take gentle issue with my friend Gil Anda on two points in his last letter. He suggests calredevelop.org as a source for information regarding redevelopment, and I agree that much is available from that source, including a link to the body of law that governs California Community Redevelopment. However, to suggest that they are not an advocacy group, i.e., "they don't have any agenda," is wishful thinking. The CRA web site states: "...California Redevelopment Association is comprised of over 340 Redevelopment Agencies and 260 private sector companies such as financial institutions, redevelopment consultants, developers and law firms..." This is not an impartial source of non-partisan analysis.
The attached Letter to the Editor was found in my father's papers (again) in a recent search of "treasure trove." I don't know if then-editor Bill Drake printed, although he may have. This fragment from the old man's files shows how little some things change. (Howard Edminster was on Pacifica's first Planning Commission, aside from his other contributions to the commonwealth.)
As expected, the City has confirmed that there is no plan, there is no project, there are no tangible benefits to the City nor to us, its citizens, in this ballot measure, nor any way to determine prior to the November 7th election what damage 355 houses in the Quarry would cause to our traffic or our environment.
Mr. Peebles' recent column in the Pacifica Tribune conveyed a veiled threat to Pacifica voters: Approve his proposed project of 355 residences and 500,000 square feet of commercial space or he will build our worst nightmare, a big box store or industrial/manufacturing center.