Council to explore new business plan at waterfront, Point
Facing uncertainty at Alameda Point and what they called blight along much of the Island’s waterfront, the City Council has agreed to consider a sweeping, new strategy for attracting business in those areas.
Interim City manager Ann Marie Gallant said city staff could put together a draft plan over the next few months for the council and the public to consider.
City Councilman Frank Matarrese, who asked his fellow dais-mates to consider a new plan, has proposed longer-term leases at Alameda Point in an effort to build a business base there, and intensified efforts to build on existing industries there and along the waterfront.
“We have a strategy for retail in the City of Alameda. We don’t have one for the commercial sector,” Matarrese said during a meeting Wednesday of the council, which was also sitting as the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority and the Community Improvement Commission.
Matarrese – who complained about “sweetheart” 50-year leases granted some businesses on Tidelands Trust land controlled by the city with, he said, little to show for them – wants the city to have a plan to extend the city’s marine industry and others that are already up and running in Alameda, including food and wine, entertainment production, green tech and environmental cleanup.
Businesses at the Point have long operated on short-term leases in anticipation of development there. But Gallant said longer-term leases could be written to include provisions for capital investments that businesses might otherwise be reluctant to make.
Councilwoman Marie Gilmore said the pending approval of a 66-year lease with the Water Emergency Transportation Authority for a $20 million ferry operations hub on Pier 5 could provide a template for future lease deals. When approved, the lease will bring in $58,908 a year in rent.
The city controls waterfront land it holds under the state’s Tidelands Trust. The Navy still owns most of the rest of Alameda Point, but it has an agreement with the city that allows us to lease some of it out while negotiations to transfer the land continue. The lease rent is used to maintain the crumbling infrastructure at the base.