Pacific Coast Television Operations and Facilities Manager Jason Francisco

Pacific Coast Television Operations and Facilities Manager Jason Francisco poses for a photo inside the organization’s studio in the Crespi Business Center. Staff and volunteers have been concerned that an approved conversion of the property to condo units could leave the production facility out in the cold.

Many tenants at the Crespi Business Center have been there for decades, but things are changing. After the Pacifica Planning Commission approved plans for condominiums on the site, they will be asked to purchase their units instead of renting them.

At least one of the 25 tenants, Bleyle Elevator, is pleased. Deputy Director of Planning Christian Murdock received an email from the owner, Curtis Bleyle, who said he employs 20 people and asked about the timeline for the approvals, which would be important for his decision to buy two of the units.

“We have been there 20 years. We would buy two of the units if the project is approved so we can keep our business in Pacifica,” the email reads.

The planning application was filed by Mark Heavey, of Vertical Ventures LLC, to authorize a condominium subdivision of an

existing business park, Crespi Business Center. The center consists of two commercial buildings and the approval sets the stage for the sale of 25 individual commercial units at 580 Crespi Drive, said Murdock. 

The application was heard and unanimously passed by the Planning Commission on Oct. 18. The Crespi Business Center, approved in 1979, has 84 parking spaces and is zoned service commercial district. That allows a wide variety of retail and limited light industrial uses such as restaurants, services, offices, warehouses, storage facilities and shops, said Murdock.

Tenants there now include Blue Moon Custom Closets, Pacific Coast Television, Kani Kosen and Prints Old and Rare.

The city’s general plan and

zoning standards allow the conversion to condominiums, said Murdock. The parking lot and the landscaping will be maintained for the condominiums, he said. Vertical Ventures did some light maintenance work. One speaker at the meeting asked how extensive that work would be and whether it would cause noise at her nearby home. She was told it was already done.

The tentative map is valid for 24 months after the final determination, Murdock said. Only one final map will be issued, Murdock said. The application indemnifies and holds harmless the city regarding the development, Murdock said. All fees shall be paid before final map approval, Murdock said.

For the city engineering department, the conditions require work to be done to city standards, Murdock said. Improvements would be governed by the covenants, conditions and improvements, Murdock said.

“Small businesses like to customize their space. We are giving them the opportunity to do that,” said Heavey in his presentation to the Planning Commission. “Now they have control. They are building equity. Everyone who wants to buy can buy.”

Heavey said there is a budget to replace the parking lot over time, and the decisions will be up to the owners. He said he agreed with the conditions of approval.

Commissioner David Leal asked if there were protections for the tenants. Heavey said he is honoring the time period of their individual leases, but when that is up he will raise the rent. He said he will work with the tenants who want to buy.

“PCT is obviously concerned that we are able to stay in our home at the Crespi Business Center,” said PCT executive director Martin Anaya. “We have every confidence that Mr. Heavey will work with us in an above-board fashion so that can happen. There is no deal yet, but we believe there will be one forthcoming that can keep community media in our community. We are going to need the community’s help.”

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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