Solutions to Overdevelopment
|The County and Cities must
bend over backwards to bring companies like George Lucas' ILM to Marin.
We must go out and bring in
Hi-Tech or Hi-Paying companies. Companies that will meet the need of
the highly trained and experienced residents of Marin. These companies
should be selected based on a certain x% of
employees earning more than a certain $y per
year. (Say, 70% earning over $60,000).
These companies must be offered many incentives to move here (including fast
development approval, property tax relief and other financial incentives).
They must be offered special treatment, unlike that offered to any other
kind of business.
In addition, to meet the current Service-Business employment needs we must
capitalize on the hundreds of thousands of affordable
housing already existing a mere 7 miles away in Richmond.
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Marin has a real attractiveness
"Marin has a nucleus of software companies,'' Coppin said. "Software
companies are going to look real hard at Marin, despite its costs, because
of its intellectual capital.
Only a fraction of the remaining land is still available for businesses to
Development in Marin County is focused within a narrow corridor along
Highway 101. Roughly 85 percent of Marin County cannot be developed under
current zoning rules.
Almost half of the daily 39,000
commuters into Marin County come from Sonoma County,
according to a 1998 study by the MTC
George Lucas's frustration with the
is marked by the departure of the San Rafael divisions from Marin. "We've been
looking to build this digital center for many years," said Radley.
"Unfortunately, the challenges of doing any kind of
development in Marin are such that we couldn't do it there."
Radley can be excused if he sounds bitter. Lucasfilm's latest Marin project, a
five-building, 185,000-square-foot complex first proposed
in 1996, was approved by the county in 2000
only after the company agreed to donate 3,000 acres for public open
1999 A Bay Guardian investigation shows that George Lucas, who has won the
rights to develop a huge office complex on 15 acres of land at the Presidio,
will save more than $60 million in property taxes
and development fees over the next 12 years for moving his
headquarters from Marin County to the park.
The Presidio divisions will employ up to 2,500
San Rafael's Mistake?
San Rafael City Manager said the city offered the filmmaker 20 acres behind Home
Depot looking out to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, "but George Lucas had a
vision, and the Presidio is a unique site in all of the United States."
"It was his visionary decision, rather than a business or financial decision,"
to relocate to the national park, the City Manager said.
"Their move, in my opinion,
wouldn't have a negative affect on our market today, or in 2004,". "I
think that it's such a special property, in a special location, that there's
tremendous demand by various companies of all sorts to be in that area." the
City Manager agreed . He said San Rafael wouldn't be significantly
affected, and commercial real estate brokers said the vacated space would be
snatched up quickly.
Two years later, as the economy spirals downward after the tech bust and
terrorist attacks, some are not so sure.
There is concern about the commercial real estate
market, which currently has a vacancy rate of 21 percent
with more than 1.6 million square feet of open office space, according to
a report from Orion Partners Ltd. in San Rafael.