Local Business

City Oversight Leaves Out Previous Proposals for the Hunt Library

The original Request for Proposals (RFP) for renovation and reuse of the Hunt Library sent out in late November 2019 resulted in numerous responses from interested organizations, including: Arts Orange County, Heritage Future, Olive Community Services (AKA: Hunt Library Gardens), Access California, Arbor Land, FJUSD, Faruk Zia & Associates, Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Bonnie Hall. All proposals underwent a rigorous round of questioning by the Ad Hoc Committee formed to oversee the Hunt revitalization project.

In the end, Arts OC partnering with Heritage Future won the Ad Hoc Committee over and was recommended to City Council, where they met with a unanimous vote to approve. Unfortunately, negotiations fell apart, and the Hunt remained vacant.

The city sent out a new and revised informal RFP in October 2022 to selected organizations by email and through notices on city bulletin boards and social media but failed to directly contact the majority of those who had responded to the original RFP. Later, after the city staff discovered the error, the city contacted the previously interested parties, and several expressed interest in re-submitting their proposals before a decision was made. Plus, with the $5.25 million state grant now funding the renovation improvements, many groups that found the affordability of making renovations a problem may wish to submit proposals.

“We did not receive an invitation to resubmit for the second informal RFP. We were only approached after the proposal submittal date had passed,” said Rubina Chaudhary, founder of Olive Community Services, “Furthermore, we were not informed that building on the adjacent parcel is now a possibility. We came in second the first time around because our proposal had a building component on the dog park site. We wanted to build Senior Living homes. Seniors can enjoy the library and the gardens and maybe volunteer for some of the programs as they have so much to offer our community still.”

The inadequacy of the method of notification this time was demonstrated by responses from only two organizations: the Museum of Make-Believe and Korean Community Services (KCS). Of those two, only KCS met the financial requirements to continue the bid. (See the article “A Proposal for the Hunt Library”)

According to the original RFP: “Qualified partnership teams must have significant experience and demonstrated ability to develop successful and high-quality literacy, educational, cultural and/or entrepreneurial programs. Qualified teams will have experience collaborating with various organizations and managing educational programs and services. The selected partner(s) will be responsible for programming and operations at the Hunt Library building.”

The new RFP has dropped the requirement for library services and the clause prohibiting building on the grounds.

California State Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, who secured $5.25 million in state grants to help renovate the historic Hunt Library, said that the city is using the funding and making progress with the renovations to the building, which she witnessed in her February 25 visit to the site.

“Any proposal that is accepted must have a library component to satisfy the parameters of the State grant,” said Quirk-Silva, “The applicant now being considered seeks to build an entirely new building on part of the Hunt Library campus. The intent is to add a medical services center and operate the Hunt Building as part of a package. Let me be clear; this is absolutely not something that I support.”

The Assemblymember pointed out that the city RFP did not indicate any applicant could build on the historic property, that the public had not been informed, and that accepting such a proposal would be a public land giveaway.

“There has been no appraisal of this public land, and it should be put into the surplus land property act,” she said.

Quirk-Silva said that the claim that operating the Hunt would cost any group $30,000 a month was inaccurate. She pointed out that the City had previously leased the 10,000-square-foot building to Grace Ministries for $1500 a month for nearly a decade.

“This is less money than you would pay for a one-bedroom apartment in Fullerton and, in essence, was a giveaway. Now we are talking about giving away Hunt property with a 50-year lease. The City is moving quickly and trying to lock down a private group to build and access this building for 50 years – while most municipalities are creating 10 or 20-year leases with a review clause. Once we privatize our public spaces, we will not get them back,” said Quirk-Silva.

4 replies »

  1. The plan KCS has put forward should not be considered for the Hunt Library. KCS needs to build in a location that has visibility, parking, and is close to bus routes to serve their clients. Hunt Library has none of those. The wonderful thing about the Hunt is that it’s a hidden gem. The Ad-Hoc Committee decided that the Hunt should be a center for literacy and the arts. Building a medical clinic on the grounds is completely incongruous with that vision.

  2. Plus, why are we currently renovating the Hunt with no one yet attached to it?
    What do you think is going to happen the minute all the windows get replaced and there is no tenant?
    If the city of Fullerton didn’t make mistakes, they would not make anything at all.

  3. KCS currently has a facility at Brookhurst and Orangethorpe. Why would they need the Hunt property?
    I’ll tell you why, because it will be given to them for a song for 50 years. The same ridiculous rent deal the church had. Who wouldn’t want to lock down a 50 year deal for a grand a month?
    Something doesn’t smell right here to me.
    And they have no plan for the Hunt. The plan is, give us a 50 year lease, so we can build a rehab center next to a school and we will (maybe) figure out something to do with the Hunt.

    • And KCS says “perhaps” they will build affordable units there. I’m sure they will–it’s quite profitable to do so.