City of Marina Sues FORA, Judge Temporarily Halts Planned Sale of Preston Park
July 11, 2012
A judge today temporarily halted the Fort Ord Reuse Authority's pending sale of Preston Park, a 354-unit housing development in Marina.
The city of Marina on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against FORA over the sale asking the court to block the sale, and Monterey County Superior Court Judge Lydia Villarreal on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order as the lawsuit proceeds.
Marina contends FORA should transfer Preston Park to the city at no cost. "Despite repeated demands from the city, FORA has refused, and continues to refuse, to transfer the Preston Park property to the city at no cost to the city," the suit states. "FORA has demanded the city buy FORA out by paying FORA half the value of the property."
Today, the city and FORA split $3 million a year in rental revenue. After years of negotiation and mediation failed to resolve the disagreement over whether FORA is obligated to transfer Preston Park to Marina or able to put it on the market (with the intent to split proceeds), the city resorted to legal action.
"It’s unfortunate, but it's possible [the lawsuit] will give us the opportunity to settle the issue for once and for all," FORA's Assistant Executive Director Steve Endsley says. "We’ll abide by what the court decides."
Since Preston Park went on the market about a month ago, Endsley says roughly 20 prospective buyers have responded with interest. The appraised value of Preston Park, which includes 51 affordable units, is about $60 milion.
Endsley says as FORA prepares to sunset, either in two years as stipulated by current law or an additional eight years under a pending bill by Assemblyman Bill Monning, a sale would provide needed funds for reuse.
"As FORA begins to get to the end of its life, we need to complete the reuse project and settle accounts," Endsley adds.