[Hpn] Placer County, CA - Buyers show interest in juvenile hall site - Offices, Homeless Shelter or Youth Training? - Saramento Bee - July 18, 2002

H. C. Covington H. C. Covington" <icanamerica@bellsouth.net
Thu, 25 Jul 2002 12:28:50 -0500

Buyers show interest in juvenile hall site

By Roger Phelps -- Sacramento Bee - July 18, 2002

Placer County wants to knock down a former juvenile hall, but parties interested
in the building keep knocking on the door.

The county wants to sell 6 acres fronting Epperle Lane and Auburn Ravine Road in

On the site is a former county juvenile detention facility.

For most prospective buyers, county officials think the old building is a
hindrance rather than a help to a sale, said Mary Dietrich, county deputy
director of facilities services.

But three separate inquiries about the property this spring included interest in
the old building, Dietrich said.

An independent special district, the Placer County Resource Conservation
District, is considering acquiring the property for office space.

A consortium of area service organizations, including the Salvation Army, wants
to establish a shelter at the facility for people who are *homeless.* And a
company based in Nashville, Tenn., that offers various services for troubled
youths has asked about the property.

"They all surfaced about the same time, about two months ago," Dietrich said.
"We talked with each and said, 'If you're interested, you've got to let us
know.' "

The county will not disclose the appraisal figure for the property, anticipating
negotiations with buyers, Dietrich said.

A long-simmering plan for the city of Auburn to purchase the site and lease it
for expansion of the nearby Gottschalk's department store has gone cold.

Mark White, management planner for the resource conservation district, said the
district is looking for funding to buy the property.

"We've been leasing office space, so we're asking, 'Could we assume the position
of Auburn?' " White said, noting that the district could purchase the property
and lease it to other organizations or businesses.

The resource-conservation district owns Quonset huts below the old juvenile
hall. It leases that part of the property from the county and in turn leases the
buildings to tenants, White said. The district's current offices are just down
the street, on Auburn Ravine Road.

The district was established in 1947, with the primary function of helping area
farmers prevent erosion of topsoil.

White said district officials should know in two or three months whether they
could position themselves to buy the property.

Representatives of a consortium called the Placer County Emergency Shelter Focus
Group also seek ways to buy the facility, which closed its doors as a juvenile
hall in 2000.

But without maintenance, the building is losing value, said consortium member
Mark Bledsoe.

"I asked for a tour, but I only got pictures," Bledsoe said. "The county has let
it go. There's some serious water damage. They were concerned that mold might be

State grant money could be obtained through a nonprofit organization the
consortium is establishing, Bledsoe said.

"I've got the articles of incorporation and the bylaws drawn up," Bledsoe said.
"Substantial funds out there at the state level can be used for construction or
rehabilitation of an emergency shelter."

Keystone Educational and Youth Services representatives also inquired about the
property, Dietrich said.

Chairman Mike Lindley said his company lost interest, however, when it saw the
amount of work necessary to rehabilitate the building.

"It had been sitting there too long," Lindley said.

The company builds and runs private day treatment centers, correctional
facilities and psychiatric hospitals.

Roger Phelps can be reached at (530) 887-2300 or rphelps@sacbee.com .
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