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Manager lays out fresh Point planning process

Submitted by on 1, September 2, 2010 – 4:50 am10 Comments

Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant laid out parameters for a fresh Alameda Point planning process Wednesday night that could have city leaders making some major decisions about who will redevelop the former Navy base and who will make decisions about what happens there over the next 15 months.

“We’re going to push the refresh button,” Gallant told the City Council, which sat in its dual role Wednesday as the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority, the agency that governs Point redevelopment efforts.

Gallant said the city could hire another master developer to manage the preparation of the base for redevelopment or the redevelopment itself. The city also partner with a developer to work on the base or start a nonprofit corporation to handle redevelopment efforts there. She said a decision about who would develop the site – developer, city, nonprofit or some combination – could be made by June of next year.

Over the next three months, city officials should hold community forums and re-examine the hundreds of pages of planning documents generated on Point redevelopment over the years, Gallant said. They should then reconsider the structure of the body that oversees those efforts, she said, perhaps expanding the ARRA board to include locals and potentially out of town experts, and representatives from the private and nonprofit worlds.

The city should also reach into every available corner for help and funding in pushing a plan forward, she said.

The ultimate goal of this process would be the creation of a strategic plan for economic development of the site, Gallant said.

A trio of candidates turned out Wednesday to offer their take on what should happen next, with council candidate Adam Gillitt saying the city should get the public more involved in the process and mayoral candidate Tony Daysog saying the city should hire a master developer to building housing at the Point, which he said would help pay for improvements like recreational facilities and landscaping there.

Council members said that for the most part, they like what they see so far, though Mayor Beverly Johnson said she’d like the public to have readier access to all the planning documents staff will be reviewing. Gallant said the city is working to create a fresh Alameda Point website to display all of the information.

Gallant said the process will proceed “rapid-fire” through the council’s agendas over the next several months.

The city effectively fired SunCal Companies as its master developer for the Point in late July. The company had hoped to build a new community with nearly 4,845 homes, 4.57 million square feet of commercial and retail space, a sports complex, parks and more.

Separately, council members chose to support the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to earn 549 acres of the Point to build an outpatient clinic and above-ground cemetery. Councilwoman Marie Gilmore said the city doesn’t have official say over whether the land is transferred to the VA, though she said Alamedans should act as both partners for the VA’s efforts and as watchdogs to ensure the process benefits us.

The VA’s plans are separate from the city’s own development efforts at the Point.


  • Mary says:

    Who is going to be for this process to start over? It costs money to have public meetings, to have outside experts come in and to revamp websites… SunCal was footing the bill for these expenses before, does the City have the resources to pay for this?

  • EastBay2010 says:

    Haven’t we been down this road before? And, then again? And, then again? Who is going to pay for this?

  • Scott says:

    This is sounding like a 20 year plan. 5 years to find a developer and get a plan in place. What has been going on for the last 14 years?

  • Tony Daysog says:

    Thank you, Michele, for the write-up above. For all, below is the speech I delivered at last night’s meeting:

    “Let me begin by asking this: how can we best honor the men and women who served at Alameda Point when it was NAS Alameda? No doubt there are many ways to honor the men and women who came through NAS’ gates. The men and women stationed at NAS Alameda who served in armed conflicts – or were ready to do so at a moments notice – did so so that you and I, and generations after us, can lead a life of peace and comfort.

    “With this in mind, I encourage you to continue down the path of finding the right private developer who can help us create that tax base to pay for things like waterfront paths with stunning views of San Francisco, to pay for world-class recreational sports complex, to pay for preserving historic NAS Alameda structures, and, above all, to pay for new infrastructure and new landscaping that entices new residents and new industries alike.

    “I realize 85 percent of the voters shot down Measure B – that’s a huge percentage – but we’ve got to look those same voters in the eyes, speak to their hearts, and tell them that we must move forward with a private developer to build a reasonable amount of new upscale, stylish housing to create a tax base to get Alameda Point going. We can redevelop Alameda Point, and let’s find the right private developer to help us do this.”

    Tony Daysog
    candidiate for Mayor of Alameda

  • In order to get all the recreational amenities we’d like and all of the transportation enhancements that we’ll need, the process of redeveloping Alameda Point will require the presence of a master developer and private capital. Period. Full stop. Municipal self-development is nothing but a politically artful, feel-good non-answer. There are no viable examples of it to be cited in California or the West.
    Moving forward, we need to bring in a master developer who understands that Alameda is a special and unique place where the citizens are going to be right up in their faces and demanding to be active participants in all major decisions.
    The redevelopment of Alameda Point is going be complex and difficult. It’s not a place subject to a cookie-cutter approaches.
    The environmental remediation of the property itself is a mess. I recently sat through a Sierra Club candidate endorsement interview where a questioner told me that the US Environmental Protection Agency is openly distorting how much of Alameda Point has actually been remediated and that the Navy and that most members of her fellow Restoration Advisory Board members didn’t lift a hand in protest or just to correct the record. (I hope our local news organizations check this out.)
    So, we know it’s not going to be an easy. So be it. We just need to have our City Council stay fully engaged this next time out. Likewise, we must insist that whoever becomes Alameda Point’s next master developer understand fully that the community itself will demand a full vote and a permanent seat at the negotiating table — which is the way it should be.

  • Adam Gillitt says:

    ICM Gallant proposed an aggressive plan that would pick up from the knowledge the city has gained from the process so far and solicit input from three community meetings. She also proposed to expand the ARRA board to include more members, but only possibly one member-at-large from the community.

    What I suggested was that there should be more involvement from the citizens of Alameda in this process- not just City Councilmembers and City Staff, but actual businesspeople from the community, residents and other stake holders.

    A couple of other points that were brought up that were of interest and quite valid were to include other stake holders in this process such as agencies responsible and involved at Alameda Point such as the Wildlife Refuge and other environmental concerns.

    Most importantly was Councilmember Matarese’s point that development at the Point needs to focused first on bringing businesses that will help to develop the infrastructure to generate income and jobs for the City. When the need is there, then we can consider building housing. For now, we still have open housing available for sale and rent in Alameda that needs to be filled.

    I have to admit, I was disappointed that other than sitting Councilmembers, Jean Sweeney and I were the only candidates in attendance. Considering the importance of the NAS in this election, and the position of the other candidates caring about the needs of Alamdans, being concerned about transparency in City government and simply getting involved, I was surprised by the lack of turnout.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    I applaud the Interim City manager for identifying lots of logistical and support resources as the City of Alameda enters the next phase of its search for how and when Alameda redevelops AP. Much of what she presented is indeed a recap, and dealt primarily with the mechanics of redevelopment.

    My biggest concern, however, which I presented to the ARRA, is that we need stronger and more committed leadership from our Mayor, City Council, and staff than they have provided to date, especially in failing to present to the voters a sound amendment to the density caps in the City Charter for Alameda Point. We also need leadership from our elected officials and staff to help all of us communicate constructively over the future of AP without the name-calling and misinformation that plagued us during the Measure B campaign.

    We will, for instance, need more than just three community meetings to get ourselves back on track and in a productive dialogue socially and emotionally.

    Without capable leadership that helps us talk to each other better and enables us to make sound, positive decisions together, we will never be able to reach a supportable and lasting consensus on which strategies to follow using all of the resources that the ICM presented last night.

  • ct says:

    Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant says “the [Alameda Point planning] process will proceed ‘rapid-fire’ through the council’s agendas over the next several months.” Like the “rapid-fire” delivery of details about her “Civic Center Vision” plan, promised “30 to 45 days” after springing that idea on us back in March? (Those numbers have yet to appear in public, as far as I know.)

    Whatever matters to Gallant is a top priority, such as developing the Point under her command and siccing the D.A.’s office on Councilwoman Lena Tam. Anything else is inconsequential, as Gallant’s call for “rapid-fire” action certainly didn’t apply to publicizing the Sunshine Task Force’s upcoming meeting on September 11, negotiating with the firefighters union over a benefit dispute, or working with a local nonprofit to keep open the Mif Albright golf course.

  • Former Island Resident says:

    Please support the Veteran’s Administration plan for a hospital to serve the east bay veteran’s.

  • EastBay2010 says:

    Has anyone ever thought about having some of the proposed housing at Alameda Point be made available for Vets returning from Iraq and Afgahnastan? They could use their Veteran Benefits to pay for their houses and also get jobs onsite…seems like a win-win.

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