Over the past week, I have had two in-depth conversations with long-time locals about the future of the Post Office. One conversation was at a gathering of B'gamer parents, some of whom had not seen each for awhile. When the topic of putting 120 residential units on top of retail on the Post Office lot came up the reaction ranged from incredulous to "postal". One long-time couple even said that might be the final straw that would cause them to leave town.......
The other conversation was with someone who is much more of an insider and very versed on the issue. We discussed the need for more city revenue (mostly to support pensions), the range of locations that could support this type of development, whether residential ever covers its costs and how a developer could respect the historic nature of the building (or not). This insider and I have a fundamental disagreement about whether residential ever covers its costs, but there was an interesting twist. This person admitted that they were not including school costs.
I grew up in Massachusetts where the school budget was part of the city budget and the city had a lot more control and responsibility than we do here in California. I am constantly surprised by people who think the city has any control over school funding and such here. (BTW, Keep that in mind as City Council candidates talk about "supporting the schools). We ended up agreeing to disagree, but I still wonder how many people have thought through where 120 units' kids would go to school. I doubt Washington and McKinley can handle anywhere near that many children. Are we looking at a major bond issue to buy and build from scratch? And if so, where? You can see how even reopening Hoover School has more issues than at first appearance.
My conclusions: the City elders have seriously underestimated John Q. Burlingamer's negative reaction to the Grosvenor proposal and the Law of Unintended Consequences will not be voided on this issue.