This past weekend I finally had a chance to read the Fiscal Sustainability Committee’s just-released long-range financial forecast for Alameda. Among the report’s many interesting offerings is a recommendation that city leaders come up with a Plan B for Alameda Point pronto, in the event that things don’t work out with the city’s current master developer, SunCal.
The folks from SunCal have indicated that they don’t have a backup plan if their current development plan, which includes around 4,800 homes, more than 3 million square feet of office space, retail and much more, isn’t okayed by Island voters in November. But the committee, which has been billed as the city’s financial dream team, says that needs to change. From the report:
If SunCal terminates the agreement with the City, the City Council should consider hiring its own land planner and develop its own reuse plan, with community input. If voter approval is obtained, the City can then offer an approved plan to the market place on a bid basis with a plan that is acceptable to the Public and has the zoning, mix, and density in place.
I checked in with Mayor Beverly Johnson, and she said that city leaders have talked about putting a backup plan together. But the city, which still has an exclusive negotiating agreement with SunCal, isn’t actively putting together one right now.
“If (SunCal) were to notify us they were not proceeding forward, then certainly (we would pursue a plan),” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, the report’s authors have laid out strategies for increasing rent revenues at the Point. They say the former Naval Air Station is home to nearly 1.3 million square feet of unusable space due
to “environmental, structural and/or infrastructure concerns.”
Fixing up the space to make it usable could cost upwards of $78 million, according to one contractor’s estimate. And the report’s authors say the city should consider applying for federal stimulus money to help cover the costs.
They say they think the city could take in an additional $8 million to $10 million a year in rents if these and other changes designed to provide a more stable, long-term environment for tenants were undertaken. The base currently nets the city about $12 million a year in rents, most or all of which staff has said is used to keep up with basic maintenance there.