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Fremont: The Unluckiest City

There’s been a depressing pattern for Fremont over the past year. Something bad happens, city folks try to make the best of it only to have fate spit on them again.

It happened with NUMMI. After the plant closed, the city was all gung ho on making area a hub for high-paying jobs. Then UP came along.

And now it might be happening with redevelopment. The city last year secured about $400 million in redevelopment projects, only to have Gov. Brown propose doing away with redevelopment. The city tried to make the best of it by racing through $140 million in redevelopment bonds that would at least pay for a BART station in Irvington.

The city was scheduled to issue those bonds this morning and sell them on the 28th. But what happened? More bad luck. The state late yesterday issued a 27-page framework for how it would do away with redevelopment. It includes a prevision that would give the state up to three years to review the validity of redevelopment projects approved after the start of the year.

Attorneys for the city are reviewing the document for items that need to be disclosed to investors. The city is hoping this is just a bump in the road and that it can issue and sell the bonds next week.

But there are a couple of reasons for concern.
1) The city was hoping to get the bonds sold before March 1, the date Gov. Brown had set for terminating redevelopment
2) Even if Fremont’s bond offering is solid, there’s no way to know how investor’s will respond to the state’s plan. If the pool of willing investors shrinks, the city could find itself paying a higher interest rate on the bonds, which could make them unfeasible.

And if the city can’t sell the bonds, there’s no money for that BART station

Matt Artz