A proposal to offer for sale a dilapidated former AIDS hospice named for a hero of San Diego’s gay and lesbian community, along with other excess properties owned by the city of San Diego, was unanimously advanced Wednesday by the City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee.
The Truax House, at Laurel and Union streets in Bankers Hill, was named to honor Brad Truax, a doctor who spread awareness of the disease in the 1980s. He died of AIDS in 1988.
The 22-bed hospice is in one of a pair of aging structures on about two- thirds of an acre. The property was appraised at $2.4 million, but will require about $1.4 million in repairs to be made livable, according to city staff.
Councilman Todd Gloria, who is gay and represents the area, said the property is in a “deplorable” state.
“The main floor is in pretty interesting condition — the bones are still there,” Gloria said. “The other floors are in far worse condition.”
The councilman acknowledged numerous community interests in the property, from LGBT leaders to advocates for parkland and historical preservation.
He suggested that, as part of the process of making a sale, the site undergo a review of its historical value, with proceeds going to pay for a San Diego AIDS memorial and parks under development nearby — one of which could be named for Truax. A nonprofit group created last year is raising funds for an AIDS memorial.
The property was bought by the city for a road extension project that was later shelved.
The University City property encompasses 42 acres at the north end of Campus Point Drive, of which only four acres can be used for development because of species conservation restrictions and terrain issues. The land has an appraised value of $4 million.
City staff recommended that the property be sold to a developer looking for land for environmental mitigation, which is often required as a condition of getting major projects approved. That would maintain the land as open space.
A sale to a private entity would also return the land to property tax rolls, which would benefit the city, staff said.
The committee also gave tentative approval to selling:
— a 0.6-acre empty lot at the southeast corner of Jamacha Road and Cardiff Street, near the city limits with Lemon Grove and Spring Valley, that has an appraised value of $630,000
— 10 acres on the south side of Lusk Boulevard in Sorrento Mesa that was appraised for $3.58 million
— 3.2 acres in the Torrey Pines Science Park, appraised for $1.87 million
The proposed sales require the approval of the full City Council at a later date.
–City News Service
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