Sunday, August 28, 2011

Real Estate Deal To Permanently Bar Bail Bond Businesses

On August 25th, the Martinez News Gazette reported yet another incident of prejudice against bail bond businesses. The report focused on the efforts of local real estate developers, Kirsten and David Fischer, to obtain two commercial buildings in the neighborhood near the court house.

The Fischers, representing Southport Land and Commercial, offered to buy the two buildings located at 610 and 630 Court Street with cash. One building is owned by the City of Martinez and the other is owned by the County. The Fischers urged the City to push the County to sell their respective building to the Fischers.

 While the City is working through a deal to sell 630 Court Street to the developers, the addition of 610 Court Street would affect how both buildings were rehabilitated and developed.

The Fischers, Martinez city officials and various subcommittee members met to accelerate the deal's timeline. Mr. Fischer noted that the plans for 630 Court Street is contingent upon what is done at 610 Court Street. For example, to comply the American With Disabilities Act, certain aspects to the building would need to be included to any development. However, if both buildings are sold, some of those requirements can be shifted among the two buildings to create better spaces for the entire project.

The City of Martinez is in agreement with one official stating “it is a more compelling project if both buildings are sold at the same time.”

The City is pursuing a sale to the Fischers based on their compelling vision of the redeveloped space. The local developers are planning to create an upscale restaurant on the ground floor with new office suites above that.

The City of Martinez has had a strong vision for their building's use since they purchased it in 2005. They want certain types of restaurants to locate their, while preferring other businesses to not locate at 630 Court Street.

What is interesting is that the developers have proactively and unilaterally committed to a deed restriction that would preclude any bail bonds businesses from occupying space at 610 or 630 Court Street if the sale is consummated. This restriction would not only prohibit the developers from renting space to a bail bondsman, but also any future owners of the building.

Mr. Fischer has openly said that he feels bail bonds businesses are not good for the area or the greater community. He is on record saying, as a local Martinez resident he doesn't want another “bail bonds shop” in the area.

The sale of both 610 and 630 Court Street are still early in the process. However, one thing is for sure. If the Fischers are allowed to purchase the buildings, bail bondsmen will have a tough road ahead if they want to operate near the court house.