|John Villarreal, Sam Marasco, Jason Hilts|
Enter Sam Marasco of LandGrant Development, a lawyer with a lapsed law license, but a ton of real estate experience and tangible results in large scale commercial real estate projects on the border with $400,000,000 capitalization, introduced by BEDC Director Jason Hilts during Agenda item #3 at Monday's GBIC Board Meeting.
|GBIC Board Meeting, 9/21/2015|
|Las Americas Outlet Mall, San Ysidro, CA|
A more problematic project for Marasco was the Mercado Project at Barrio Logan. Marasco, after obtaining the land for a mere $100, ran into difficulty, including lawsuits and no work completed on the project after years. 3-400 jobs promised and $307 million in revenue to the city did not materialize. The City of San Diego, disputing Marasco'sownership of the property entered into agreement with Shea Properties, who eventually produced a multi-use residential and commercial complex winning design awards.
Just before the GBIC went into Executive Session to talk over an agreement with Marasco, Board Member Ed Sikes expressed hesitancy to enter into anything creating "liability" for the board. City Attorney Mark Sossi, who receives $5,000 per month to lawyer for the board, assured Sikes that the modifications he'd made to the contract guaranteed that both the board and Marascos could "walk away from the deal without liability."
Commissioner Debbie Portillo read a prepared statement in support of the GBIC working with Mr. Marasco. Essentially, she said she'd seen such partnerships work in the past. Commissioner John Villarreal said he'd attended the ribbon-cutting for the industrial park, but not seen any progress since then. He praised Marascos skill in working through problems "on another project with the city."
Footnote: The original Agenda item #3 for the 9/18 meeting concerned Jacobs Engineering and the Small Area Plan. At the 9/21 meeting, Zeke Silva spoke against the plan and its Phase II price tag during Public Comment. But, the board had replaced Jacobs Engineering with the San Diego developer, Sam Marasco in the Agenda #3 slot. Later, when I told a board member that we expected to hear from Oscar Garcia, Jr. during Agenda item #3, the reply was: "We're so tired of him."