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Progress at the Point?

Submitted by on 1, July 10, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

The City Council did its own version of the Late Late Show last week, though the subject matter was far more interesting: Possible progress on development plans at Alameda Point. Base reuse manager Debbie Potter told the council (sitting as the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority) that the Navy “embraced” a timeline for renegotiating the terms for sale of the land, while developer SunCal’s project manager, Pat Keliher, said that the Navy “acknowledged we need to re-evaluate what we’re doing with the Point.”

Last month, John Knox White over at Stop, Drop and Roll reported on a provision in the defense bill for next year, pursued by the city, that would change the terms for the sale of Alameda Point: either a new deal by July 2009 or $10 million plus 12 percent of sales of anything built there, as opposed to the $108.5 million price tag for the land right now. If things don’t work out with SunCal, the city could auction off the land and the city and the Navy would split the proceeds, which could be a lot simpler than the mess that would ensue under the current terms, if SunCal walked away.

Potter recently told us that the intent of the bill is to speed up development of the Point. The bill has passed the House of Representatives and is awaiting action in the Senate. Meanwhile, SunCal has said it needs to rethink the current development blueprint for the site, which might not be entirely feasible when you consider the current economic environment and the site’s main features, which include crumbling buildings, wrecked infrastructure, the seemingly growing extent of the contamination out there and a huge flood plain.

Even if the bill does pass, there’s plenty of things that could stall any development plans (see aforemetioned challenges). And Keliher said SunCal is still talking with the state Department of Toxic Substance Control and federal Environmental Protection Agency to see what they will allow his company to build out there. But, on a possibly more positive note, the company has taken on a potential financial backer, which we reported recently. They may talk with the council on this next week.

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