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Developers show fresh interest in Alameda Point

Submitted by on 1, March 14, 2011 – 12:02 am4 Comments

More than a dozen developers have expressed interest in opportunities at Alameda Point since SunCal’s ouster as the city’s master developer in July, The Island has learned. The list includes developers with a range of expertise and also some familiar names whose interest level spans from phone calls and e-mails inquiring about the status of the city’s Point development process to an offer made by one prospective developer to pay the Navy’s $108.5 million asking price for the former base.

A list supplied by the city includes developers who have expressed interest in building a new, second campus for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that the city is hoping to win, and others who said they are interested in Alameda Point as a whole. And Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott said she’s talked to more developers who said they’ll check in from time to time, who aren’t included on the list.

Both Catellus and Lennar – the companies SunCal trumped to win the Point developer’s job the last time out – have expressed interest in the base, with the former contacting the city about the Lawrence Lab effort and the latter saying they’re interested in the Point as a whole.

City staffers are working on fresh plans for Alameda Point that they hope to have ready this fall for the City Council’s consideration. City leaders will also have to decide whether they want to hand off the Point project to another master developer or have the city manage it.

NAE Global made an offer to purchase the Point directly from the Navy for its $108.5 million asking price a few weeks ago, but the council took no action on the offer, a representative for the company confirmed this week. (A Navy spokeswoman told The Island that they had not been contacted by the developer; Ott said they weren’t included on the list provided to The Island last week because they hadn’t contacted her directly.)

“We are very interested in wanting to talk with the city about purchasing the property and developing it through the set organizational processes the city has already put into place,” said Barbara Price, a consultant working with NAE Global on the effort. Price said the company, which has offices in San Francisco; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and Beijing, will also submit a proposal to the city for developing a hoped-for second Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory campus here.

Three developers have met with city staffers to talk about future opportunities at the Point: outgoing Alameda Towne Centre owners Harsch Investment Properties; SRM Associates, developer of commercial spaces across Alameda that include the Ascend Communications/Lucent Technologies campus, the Marina Village Yacht Harbor and waterfront office buildings, and the North Loop Center light industrial buildings; and San Francisco’s Mission Bay Development Group, which helped manage that city’s 303-acre Mission Bay development and also worked on Alameda’s Bayport housing project.

Harsch’s Michael Corbett said his company is interested in future development plans at Alameda Point, but that it is focused on other opportunities right now. Representatives for Mission Bay and SRM could not be reached for comment, though Ott said they were interested both in the Point and the Lawrence Berkeley opportunity.

Others who have contacted the city about Alameda Point include Playa Capital Company, which developed the 1,000-acre, mixed-use Playa Vista project in Marina Del Ray; Maracor Development, which has built residential, office and retail projects across California; DMB, an Arizona-based developer that has built commercial projects and master planned communities, including a controversial plan to build on Cargill Salt’s former home in Redwood City; and Edgemoor Real Estate Services, a Maryland developer whose recent projects include academic buildings for George Mason University and the University at California, San Francisco, along with Flintridge Partners, which has managed the redevelopment of several former military bases, and Lansing Companies, which has built and managed properties across the Southwest.

Ott said city officials will soon kick off a six-month visioning process that she hopes will wrap up with a community-supported development plan for the Point. The city is hiring consultants to assist with the process, which will include building community support for a “feasible vision” for Point development. The process will include meetings with residents and with developers.

“We don’t want to move forward on a plan that isn’t feasible or that no one wants to build,” Ott said of the developer meetings, which could take place in late April. Ott said the developers the city wants to meet with haven’t been selected yet.

City staffers hope the city will be ready to begin redeveloping the Point by July 2013, according to a staff report on one proposed consultant hire.

The city had worked with SunCal, its second master developer for the Point, until July, when the City Council chose not to extend the developer’s exclusive agreement to negotiate for a development deal there. The developer is suing the city for more than $100 million, claiming the city breached the agreement.

Separately, Catellus and Lankford & Associates, which has developed government, health care and life sciences projects, have said they’re interested in working with the city on its Lawrence Lab proposal; Keating, a Philadelphia-based developer, submitted a letter saying they will submit a proposal to the city to work on the project.

The lab received 21 proposals for new lab sites, a spokesman confirmed, and finalists for the project are expected to be announced in mid-April. The spokesman declined to identify who submitted proposals for the planned 2 million square foot facility, but according to reports, the list of sites includes SunCal’s planned development at Camp Parks in Dublin; Berkeley’s Golden Gate Fields and two sites near Aquatic Park; four sites in Oakland; the University at California-owned Richmond Field Station in Richmond; the Shadelands Business Park in Walnut Creek; and sites in Emeryville and Albany.


  • Jon Spangler says:

    Despite the City’s failure to choose its development partners for AP wisely, AP is still an extremely valuable and attractive piece of real estate.

    The real question for me is still whether the City of Alameda and our sometimes-fractious community can finally “get it tight.” Is the third time going to be the charm for us?

  • Eric says:

    Why does there need to be a master developer at all? Why can’t the city just sell individual plots of land, first come first served?

  • Richard Bangert says:

    One of the positive messages from all of this interest in Alameda Point is that Lawrence Berkeley Lab would be making a wise decision in selecting AP for their second campus.

    Not so sure about the NAE Global part of the story, however. They are offering $108 million for land on which they will build how many homes? They don’t even know. Plus, the EIR has not even been drafted, let alone completed. It seems like the collaboration would be one-sided. Their website says, “NAE Global is establishing a new standard in high rise concrete construction projects.” I’m happy they are setting new standards. We’re trying to set new standards for sustainable reuse of a military base located on an island.

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