Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SOS = Save our Substation: Some answers, more questions

Miss V did some digging and I got some answers to the questions I asked Councilmember Mendelson. I located the Department of Real Estate Services District Facilities Plan ("Plan") that lists all the leased and owned properties in the City. (Side note: it is more of an inventory than a plan. Semantics, I know). According to the page 27 of the "Plan", the City owns their police stations and substation, with the exception of the Sixth District substation located at 2701 Penn Ave SE and the police offices located at Penn Branch Shopping Center.

Then I was curious about the assessed value of each property. Granted I know the assessed value isn't necessarily the market value, but I just needed a quick apple to apple comparison. Since DC property isn't in the Real Property Tax database, all the information below comes from the DC Citizen Atlas database.

First District Police Substation, 500 E Street SE
Square Footage: 10,017
Assessed Value (2009): $1,373,460 ($137/sq ft)

Third District Police Substation, 750 Park Road NW
Square Footage: 13,793
Assessed Value (2009): $1,722,740 ($125/sq ft)

Sixth District Police Substation, 2701 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Leased Price: There are discrepancies, but I've seen $250,000 - $500,000 per year
Square Footage: 35,708
Assessed Value (2009): $1,520,580 ($42/sq ft)

All this information leads me to more questions (on top of the ones I currently have)....
  1. If the assessed value of the 6D substation was $1.5 million in 2009, why was the city paying so much to lease versus just purchasing the property?
  2. From my understanding of the history from the Old Guard in my neighborhood, the city has been leasing that space for several years. Did the City ever make an offer to purchase the property?
  3. When were the other substations purchased? It appears their value per square foot is significantly higher than the 6D substation.
  4. Is the owner willing to sell the property? Obviously if the owner isn't willing to sell then purchasing is a moot point.
My mama always said I was a curious child. I just want a better understanding the the issue. Is it a dollar and cents issue? Is it an operational efficiency issue? What is the problem we are trying to solve if the 6D substation closes? What problems do we create if the 6D substation closes? Where is the cost-benefit analysis?

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