Sonoma County Selects Buyer For 71-Acre Chanate Road Property

SONOMA COUNTY, CA— A buyer has been found for 71-acre Chanate Road Campus property, the former home of Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to select Newport Beach-based Village Partners, LLC, as the high bidder to purchase the property for nearly $7.8 million.

In a deal expected to close escrow Dec. 31, Village Partners, a real estate development company, offered $7,795,000 for the property as-is, including all existing buildings and without entitlements.

“I’m thrilled that the board is moving forward with this bid by Village Partners,” said Susan Gorin, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We believe that we have secured the best deal possible for Sonoma County taxpayers, and while our Board is only approving a land sale and not the development, we do hope to see this property used to address Sonoma County’s housing shortage.”

The sale of this surplus land allows the county to receive payment this year rather than after development plans for the Chanate Campus are reviewed and approved by the city of Santa Rosa, according to County Spokesperson Paul Gullixson.

Once the sale is complete, Village Partners is responsible for working with the city to determine the number of houses, residential units, and other buildings or facilities that may be built on the property, Gullixson said.

The property has been home to a hospital since 1867. The county-owned facility, formerly known as Community Hospital, became affiliated with Sutter Health in 1996. Sutter moved to its new campus on Mark West Springs Road near Highway 101 in 2014.

The highest-and-best offer accepted Tuesday was lower than offers previously negotiated for potential development of the Chanate Campus but exceeds the county’s most recent appraisal value of $4 million, Gullixson said.

The offer includes agreements pertaining to buildings and agencies that are still in use on the Chanate campus. These include:

  • A leaseback of the Public Health Lab for two years at a cost of $1 per year
  • A leaseback of the County Morgue and Coroner’s Office for three years at a cost of $1 per year
  • A lease agreement concerning the Sloan House, a 22-bed shelter, which provides supportive services for women and children and is operated by the Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County. The agreement calls for a short-term lease of $1 per year with a promise to ultimately deed the land to CAP Sonoma for $1.
  • A temporary lease for the Bird Rescue Center of $1 per year for up to two years with the promise of contributing $50,000 toward the relocation of the center.

The agreement also involves only a land sale, which allows the county to avoid costs such as the demolition of aged and vacant buildings on the campus. The cost of demolition has been estimated to be as high at $9 million to $10 million, Gullixson said.

The county also avoids roughly $1.2 million in annual “carrying costs” including expenditures on maintenance of the vacant property and measures to prevent vandalism and potential fires at the former hospital site.

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