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Former prison in Whittier is up for sale

October 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former prison in Whittier is hitting the auction block and it could draw $70 million for the state of California. Officials are accepting bids on the property until November 20.

The Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Institution operated as a youth prison until 2004. It finally closed after being open for 113 years.

In 2006, developer Meruelo-Maddux Properties Inc. agreed to buy the land for $104 million, but the state wanted to use the space as a prison hospital, which ended up never being built.

"The prison is the largest property to go on sale since the mid-2000s when a corrections department facility in the Silicon Valley was sold to Cisco Systems Inc.," said Jeffrey Young, a spokesperson for the Department of General Services.

The state is also trying to sell a 5,400-square-foot vacant lot near downtown Los Angeles and a 5.5-acre orchard in rural Humboldt County.

The General Services Department is also looking into selling properties such as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and San Francisco's Cow Palace exhibit hall.

So far, state legislators have only approved the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds.

The General Services Department has identified another 17 state-owned buildings to sell. Officials say the new owners would then lease the office space back to the state.

"We're rethinking what buildings we have, what we're doing with them, whether we should own them, because we're in an unprecedented financial situation and we need to raise capital," said Young.

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