One of the criticisms offered in my story last week about the city’s impending land sales was that officials hadn’t offered a clear strategy for which of the city’s 3,400 holdings would be put up for sale.

Jim Waring, Mayor Jerry Sanders’ top real estate and development aide, talked with me after the story to try to add more detail to the strategy.

He broke the city’s land holdings into these categories:

  • Mission critical. For example: the four blocks surrounding City Hall, multi-species conservation program lands, water pump stations.
  • Strategic. For example: Qualcomm Stadium, the Sports Arena area, and the city’s airports.

After that there’s surplus land — that which the city is in the process of evaluating and selling. “As an organization, a private company or individual, you look up and say why do we own this? Because everything you own costs money” in such things as insurance and maintenance, Waring said.

“We don’t have to sell. We’re going to try to price things reasonably and intelligently… and we’re going to price it to value,” Waring said. “It’s not going to be a fire sale. No sales will be conducted that aren’t done either on a listing or an auction system.”

The mayor plans to sell $20 million in real estate annually for the next five years. But Waring stressed that he would be conducting this same exercise regardless of the city’s financial situation.

“If we were flush with money, I would still recommend that we dispose of these assets,” he said.

(Update: In my original post, I didn’t note that Waring’s examples for “mission critical” and “strategic” were just that — examples. They weren’t definitive lists of what he considered “mission critical” and “strategic.” I apologize.)

ANDREW DONOHUE

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