$26.5 Million For 30 Acres of Bonfante Land

The land includes five acres on the north side of Hecker Pass,
with the rest on the south side
Gilroy – Bonfante Gardens, the area’s nonprofit horticultural park, is asking $26.5 million for 30 acres of land surrounding its entrance off Hecker Pass Highway.

An online listing of commercial real estate says the value equates to $20 per square foot.

A park official confirmed earlier this week that the property had been listed with a commercial Realtor in August, just two months after a financial restructuring that reduced the park’s debt load from $70 million to $13 million.

The debt reduction that saved the park from bankruptcy was made possible by the sale of 33 acres of land to developer Shapell Industries, which is using the land to add a northern adjunct to its gated Eagle Ridge housing and golf community.

The land now up for sale includes five acres on the north side of Hecker Pass, with the remainder to the east and west of the park’s entrance on the south side of the road.

The property was designated as Highway Commercial when the city annexed it more than five years ago.

City Planning Manager Bill Faus said the zoning category “essentially caters to highway traffic – restaurants, hotels, gas stations – things that would cater to the motoring public, somebody coming to the City of Gilroy for Bonfante Gardens or the wineries.”

Bob Kraemer, president of the park’s board of directors, said officials are in no rush to sell the land and do not plan to entertain bids significantly below the asking price.

“In no way do we intend to sell it in a fire sale,” Kraemer said. “We believe those parcels of land, at some day in the future, will have good value. We’re not prepared today to sell it to somebody else at a low price.”

He said the proceeds of any sale would be used to replenish the park’s reserve fund. Officials have relied on that pool of money in recent years to keep creditors at bay while the park put its finances back in order.

In November, officials issued $831,000 in bond payments to investors, the first of two annual payments.

The figure is half the amount paid under the park’s previous debt load, according to Kraemer.

Bondholders would have to sign off on the deal before any sale, and city council members would have to approve any development proposal for the land.

Possible Land Uses

– tire shop

– antique store

– gas station

– bakery

– bed and breakfast


– liquor store

– restaurant

– theater

– bakery

– bed and breakfast

– truck stop*

– auto parts*

– car sales*

*on a temporary basis