UPDATED On Point: A recap
Last Tuesday, Measure B took a decisive drubbing at the polls – putting the decisions about what to do with Alameda Point and whether to move forward with SunCal back into the hands of city leaders. SunCal still has an exclusive agreement with the city to negotiate a development deal at the Point, and they have submitted the same plan voters rejected directly to the city for its consideration. Would city leaders try to work out a deal, or walk away?
Just three short days later, Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant offered her answer in the form of a notice of default to SunCal. She’s saying the developer should have submitted a Measure A-compliant plan for the former Naval base. If SunCal fails to “cure” the default within 30 days, the city can terminate its agreement with SunCal. SunCal’s Pat Keliher responded Sunday by challenging the notice and by questioning whether the city is complying with the agreement. So we have a showdown, folks.
So what happens next? SunCal could submit a Measure A-compliant plan. The developer has intimated that they could build their 4,841 units of housing using the city’s “density bonus” ordinance, but they have not yet said how this could be done. SunCal could also walk away, though the company – which has invested an estimated $10 million to $15 million in the Point project to date – has shown no signs it wants to do that. And if the developer feels the city has not negotiated in good faith or has breached its agreement, the negotiating agreement does allow SunCal to sue to get its money back.
If SunCal exits the picture, city leaders will have to make some fresh decisions about what to do with the base (provided the Navy doesn’t decide to auction it off, which is a whole other story for another day). I talked to council members this week who said they think Measure B’s loss at the polls showed that they need to take the reins on Point development, and they are generating some new ideas about what should be done there.
But will those ideas include a smaller development? Not necessarily. Keliher’s letter contained an interesting claim, which I’ll leave you with: Keliher’s letter claims Gallant:
On numerous occasions, the Interim City Manager maintains that a Measure A compliant plan is not financially feasible. At several of our meetings, she has frequently sought additional residential and commercial densities in excess of the OEA plan, rather than a reduction in density.
Not true, says Gallant, who was working to draft a response to SunCal on Monday afternoon.
As always, more to come.