Features ~ Sonoma Valley Sun


An arresting development

Posted on January 27, 2011 by Sonoma Valley Sun

2 bedroom, 2 bath, office, drunk tank… If you think offering a house is hard right now, try selling a sheriff’s station.

Empty since 2006, the facility sits on a prime acre fronting Sonoma Highway just north of London Way. It served as the area substation for the Sheriff’s Department for nearly 30 years.

Now it’s as empty as a false alibi.

Except for the giant radio tower and the large parking lot, the unassuming building has a hint of 60’s suburbia. And how about that back yard – a huge expanse of grass and old-growth trees sloping gently up the hillside.

Inside, you’d never know the building’s history. The current layout appears friendly for use as office or retail space, but the zoning prohibits any commercial use. The options are to rehab the structure, or tear it down to make way for something more spacious.

You could live in it. You could park your Ferrari collection (or mother-in-law) there. Because it’s zoned for both residential and agricultural uses, a small farm or vineyard would conform as well.
The land and building is owned by the area redevelopment agency, which bought it for $455,000. The current asking price, before any plea bargaining, is $390,000.

But where cops, miscreants and hooligans once tread, prospective buyers are few and far between. As far as realtor Isaac Raboy is concerned, the lack of interest is nearly, well, criminal.
It doesn’t take a CSI team to spot the problem.

The only recent nibbles have come from investors looking at the facility, and its welcoming parking lot, as a prospective office suite or a winery tasting room. When they learn the zoning prohibits such uses, not even Judge Judy can order them to stay interested.

But maybe it’s time to build that mansion, or personal baseball stadium, you’ve always wanted. Plant a garden or six. Turn the drunk tank into a wet bar and throw great parties.

Interested? Raboy is one phone call away, at 939.2521. Be sure to ask him about the escape clause.

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