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City makes pair of land deals

DEL MAR — With a unanimous vote at the Nov. 8 meeting, council members closed two land deals in which one city-owned lot was sold to purchase another and help fund a new beach safety center.
A 22,215-square-foot parcel on Balboa Avenue was sold for $4.4 million during a public auction Sept. 29. Escrow closed Nov. 3, about a week sooner than the required 45 days, allowing the city to retire its debt on the Shores property one year early.
The city bought that 5.3-acre lot from the Del Mar Union School District in 2008 for $8.5 million to preserve what has been called the “last remaining open space within city limits.”
Once home to Del Mar Shores Elementary, the property sits on the corner of Camino del Mar and Ninth Street and currently houses the district administrative offices, recreational areas and the private Winston School.
Friends of Del Mar Parks and the Winston School raised about $5 million for the purchase, but fundraising efforts have since slowed dramatically.
The city borrowed money to pay off the school district and avoid higher interest payments. A balloon payment on that loan was due in November 2011.
Before the purchase, city officials discussed selling the Balboa lot as an option for paying off the Shores debt.
From the Balboa sale proceeds, the city will pay $200,000 to the real estate agent and auctioneer. Another $40,500 will fund marketing services and property-related expenses such as the title report, survey and appraisal, which the city has not released.
The final payment on the Shores loan was $3,451,398. After making that the city had $708,102 remaining. Council members authorized that money to be used to help fund construction for the aging lifeguard station, a priority project estimated to cost about $3 million.
By paying off the Shores loan a year early the city was able to save about $175,000.
Friends of Del Mar Parks will continue its fundraising efforts to help pay for planning and improvements at the site.
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