Manager lays out fresh Point planning process
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.