Navy Hands Over Point

Sam Felsing

Navy Real Estate Consultant William Carsillo hands the terms sheet of the no-cost conveyance to Mayor Marie Gilmore.

It all comes down to jobs. In a ceremony at Alameda Point on Thursday, Sept. 29, the Navy officially presented the city with the terms for transferring 918 acres of the former Naval Air Station Alameda, known as Alameda Point, into city hands. Though the Navy had been asking for $108.5 million for this property throughout most of the last decade, it recently decided that it was in the best interest of economic development to transfer the property to the city under a nocost conveyance.

"I think it's not necessarily that the Navy changed their mind," said Jennifer Ott, the city's chief operating officer of Alameda Point. "I think both parties (the city and Navy) just had a recommitment to a previous agreement that we had that focused on job creation. Obviously the economy has changed, it's calmed down dramatically over the last 10 years, so I think that there was some sobering of the economic realities of today."

Though the Navy presented its no cost-conveyance terms to the city on Thursday, the lack of $108.5 million didn't come as a surprise to city officials. The city and the Navy had been in talks about a zero-fund base transfer since June 16. The city asked for the no-cost conveyance at the June meeting, and shortly afterward the Navy agreed to negotiate terms for the transfer.

Even with the new no-cost conveyance terms, the city still must do some negotiating with the Navy before it can officially own Alameda Point. "This term sheet commits us now to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)," Russo says, "We anticipate the MOA by the end of this calendar year. That's really the contract. This is the agreement and the broad terms of the agreement... and the MOA talks about more detail."

Once the MOA is signed, parts of Alameda Point that have been cleaned up by the Navy will start to be transferred to the city in June 2012. If all goes well, the city should own the 918-acres on Alameda Point in December 2019.

Once the Point is fully developed, Alameda residents could see between 6,000 to 9,000 permanent new jobs come on the island. Countless more jobs could be created from the estimated construction of 2,700 housing units and 5.5 million square feet commercial property on the old base.

"I feeling very hopeful that this will be very beneficial to businesses in Alameda," said Alameda Chamber of Commerce member Robert Cullmann. "I mean, hopefully we will be able to attract some good businesses like the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL). And the fact that there is so much land to be developed here means that there is great potential for businesses to come here."

The LBNL was a big topic among city officials regarding job creation. The first piece of land to be conveyed to the city is the proposed site for the second LBNL. The city officially owning the land to hand over to the LBNL would remove one obstacle in the city's attempts to secure the deal with LBNL. Russo said the city not owning the land has not been a major consideration of the second LBNL selection committee. "I mean it was a factor in whether you could really deliver this site, but that's off the table now," said Russo. "But, I don't think that was evever a critical piece of their thinking."

The LBNL selection committee will announce its choice for the location of its second site next month. If the city fails to secure the lab, it won't have an attraction in hand to spur job creation.


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