50th District Assemblyman Richard Bloom (Dem-Santa Monica) has announced that after many months of meetings and negotiations, the California Department of Finance has agreed to release six downtown Santa Monica parking structures to the city that were previously in limbo because of redevelopment dissolution laws imposed by the state in 2011.
Bloom said he was pleased the Department of Finance had reversed course on this matter.
“With the Department of Finance finally understanding and accepting that the city is the rightful owner of these properties allows us to move away from some of the frustration and chaos created by the dissolution of redevelopment agencies,” Bloom said.
In 2011, facing a severe budget shortfall, the Governor and Legislature dissolved redevelopment agencies and redirected $1.7 billion away from various community economic development projects.
In response, communities were required to establish a successor agency, governed by a local oversight board, that would take over the projects from the now defunct redevelopment agencies.
However, for projects to qualify and be eligible for bond funding, they had to meet certain requirements pursuant to the new redevelopment dissolution laws and receive the permission from the Department of Finance.
In August, the Department of Finance denied the City of Santa Monica’s declaration regarding a number of properties, including the six parking structures adjacent to and serving the Third Street Promenade. The parking structures had been built without using redevelopment agency funds.
Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould said the City of Santa Monica was pleased that the Department of Finance (DOF) had recognized the six parking structures in the downtown as under the rightful ownership of the City.
“The DOF staff was very receptive to the documents we provided clearly showing the purpose for which they were built and how they were financed, with no involvement of the now defunct Redevelopment Agency,” Gould said. “The State’s decision removes a cloud over the structures and is a welcome development at the close of the year. While there are still hurdles to crest in the New Year and perhaps beyond, likely involving the State Controller’s Office, this resolution of ownership of such key assets is a major step toward conclusion of the dissolution of redevelopment in Santa Monica.”