Encinal Terminals owner requests six more years of industrial use
The owner of a onetime shipping terminal across the street from Littlejohn Park is asking the city for six more years of industrial uses there because he says the economy is too harsh to allow his development plans for the site to proceed.
City staff is suggesting the Planning Board deny the request, and they’re asking the board to rezone the property to fit the development proposal, which is part of the city’s efforts to revamp its northern waterfront. The board is set to discuss the requests at its meeting tonight.
Peter Wang, who owns the site, had offered a proposal in 2007 to develop homes, a hotel and more on the 24-acre site, plus a massive marketplace at the Del Monte Building, which borders it. He is now asking the city to extend his current use permit, which expires in September, so he can continue to take in money to rehab the Del Monte Building, which sits at the corner of Sherman and Buena Vista.
Wang wants six more years to continue industrial uses at the site, which is currently being used by a company that sells shipping and cargo containers, because he thinks it’ll be that long before the economy turns around.The permit allowing industrial uses at the site was approved in 1994.
Meanwhile, the company – ConGlobal Industries – is asking for 10 more months to conduct limited operations at the site, to help ease their transition to a new home in Oakland. (According to the city’s staff report on this one, they just learned that their lease expires 10 months after the city permit that allows them to conduct their business there.)
“As (with) many businesses struggling in difficult times, Encinal must work harder than ever just to keep business afloat by keeping the existing business uses in order to survive and be ready for the future,” Wang wrote in a June 19 letter to the city. “Despite everyone’s best efforts, the current economic challenges and a general lack of financing makes it impossible to move forward with the development project at this time.”
Wang said that if the cuty doesn’t grant his request, it’ll be impossible to move forward with efforts to rehab the Del Monte Building.
But city planning staff say they’ve waited long enough to transform the site, which sits astride the newly developed Marina Cove housing tract and the Wind River campus. And they want the board to rezone the land from industrial to mixed use so that development plans can move forward.
Some nearby residents, who complained about truck traffic and trash at the site, also said they’d like to see development plans move forward there.
“The property owner has had 15 years to do something creative with the property but instead he has turned his back on the neighborhood not giving a hoot about its public face,” Suzan Kaplan, a neighbor of the property, wrote the city (scroll down to view). “As long as he can put as little as possible into it and reap maximum benefit out of it, he is not motivated to bring his plans to fruition.”
The board meets at 7 p.m. today in the council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. The meeting is also set to be broadcast on public access channel 15.