San Mateo County Harbor District officials have again turned a longing eye to a three-story office building in El Granada only this time it will rent, instead of buy, the site of its new headquarters.
Moving out of its current South San Francisco locale was in the works last year when district officials approved spending $1.8 million on the property at 504 Avenue Alhambra. But after realizing the site would need nearly $200,000 in improvements, officials opted to keep looking, and ultimately approved renting part of the building instead.
On Wednesday night, the Harbor District Board of Commissioners unanimously approved leasing the second floor of the building to house a handful of employees. The floor also includes a much-needed board meeting room.
The special district was created nearly 70 years ago to oversee Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay and has a joint powers agreement with South San Francisco to manage Oyster Point Marina/Park.
After a more than 10-year hiatus from its harbor of refuge where it used to share the current Pillar Point Harbor Master building for nearly 40 years, the district’s administrative offices will move back to the coast in June.
“The district office’s move to Oyster Point was made for a short period, but it’s been 11 years now. So I think it’s important that the district moves back out to the coast,” said Harbor District Commissioner Nicole David. “I was hoping we could find a property to buy instead of rent, but there really are no good opportunities right now.”
Not only will the district save money on a lower monthly rent, district officials have wanted to be closer to its main charge, Pillar Point Harbor, since it originally moved in 2004.
“Looking at the numbers and doing the math, we just felt that renting on the coastside would be a better option right now. In the future, who knows, we may want to purchase something someday but right now this is the best option because it brings us closer to the coastside and has a better rent price,” said Harbor District Commissioner Robert Bernardo.
Currently, the district is paying $8,085 to rent space in South San Francisco and likely spends nearly $10,000 a year paying staff to set up meetings at off-site locations, board President Sabrina Brennan wrote in an email.
The district has been rotating between holding meetings at the South San Francisco Municipal Services building and at Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay, but renting in El Granada will avail itself to on-site meetings.
The new building is running the special district $7,000 a month for the first year and is expected to increase by $300 annually for the duration of the lease.
However, once the district gets settled in its second-floor space, part of the office may be sectioned off and leased to someone else thereby saving the district $600 per month, said Interim General Manager Scott Grindy.
The Harbor District will also share the 8,050-square-foot building with the recently revamped El Granada Community Services District, formerly the Granada Sanitary District.
After deciding not to purchase the same property last year, the Board of Commissioners signed another lease for its South San Francisco headquarters and will incur about $3,000 in fines to opt out early, Grindy said.
Brennan was disappointed when the board opted not to follow through with the original purchase, but is satisfied it will finally be relocating.
“I would have preferred to buy the building when it was on the market, however, the current landlord is not interested in selling at this time,” Brennan wrote in an email. This time, “I think the board made a positive decision.”
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