The long-vacant Paso Robles boys’ school finally has new owners – and they plan to turn empty fields and rusty facilities into a business center with industrial spaces, offices, retail and hotels.
Majestic Realty, a Southern California-based real estate company, purchased the state-owned juvenile center on Airport Road in February. The company is currently under contract for the property and hopes to close the escrow in six months, said Taylor Talt, senior vice president of Majestic.
California’s Department of General Service put the 160-acre property – formerly known as El Paso de Robles Correctional Facility or Estrella Correctional Facility – up for sale to private bidders in December after the failure of the city’s efforts to buy the site.
Real estate company plans to transform boys’ school
The juvenile facility closed in 2008 and has since remained vacant. The state paid at least $ 700,000 a year to maintain the property, which needs more than $ 70 million in repairs.
Motorists traveling to the area may see dilapidated dormitories and overgrown athletic fields as they drive down Airport Road.
But Majestic wants to completely renovate the horror of the community and turn it into a business hub on the eastern end of town. Flat ownership, the local job market, and access to major roads made the state site attractive to developers, Tate said.
The company has not yet decided whether it will demolish all the buildings or possibly reuse some of them.
Tate said his company is looking to develop approximately 1.5 million square feet in industrial, commercial and hotel spaces. He said he sees the site’s potential to become a “smaller industrial manufacturing space, Tin City” destination with offices, retail, entertainment and hotels.
“And then there will be a lot of, you know, the wine industry,” Tate said. “We want them to be an important part of the general type of theme in our development. And so you will see from our master plan, not only do we have the kind of development of Tin City, makerspace. We also have … a potential cellar showroom where different wineries could come and have their space for wine tasting.
The new owner always secures the tenants
Majestic currently has no tenants, Tate said.
He didn’t specifically talk about the types of tenants Majestic is looking for, other than the company working with a variety of Fortune 500 clients.
Discussions in the community have included rumors that an Amazon installation could be among the uses, but Tate said the company has yet to sign any tenants.
“The industrial facility we designed it for is for any number of Fortune 500 companies in our portfolio,” Tate said. “We haven’t reached an agreement with any of them. But as the master plan is designed and studied, we will have marketing materials that we can present to all of our clients.
The company is working with city staff to write an environmental impact report and conduct other studies on the property, a process that will take months, Talt said.
Majestic will present preliminary plans to the town planning commission in a few weeks and then to city council.
Warren Frace, director of community development, called the redevelopment a “transformational project” that could create jobs in Paso Robles, as well as income in the form of real estate dollars, sales and hotel taxes.
It will also bring money for road user fees which will help the city to improve the airport road and continue to improve the surrounding infrastructure, he said.
“It looks like this is one of those projects that has the potential to add a lot of great things to the community,” said Frace.