In her State of the City speech Tuesday, Mayor Marie Gilmore signaled her eagerness to start redeveloping the Alameda Naval Air Station after a 17-year wait. While the city has secured the deeds to hundreds of acres of land and cleared a slew of planning hurdles in an effort to speed development, a key task remains: Figuring out how to tame the traffic that 1,400 new homes and hoped-for new businesses, shops and restaurants could create.
City leaders signed off on a pile of planning documents Tuesday night that will ease the way for development at Alameda Point.
Alameda Point’s Spirits Alley is about to get a little more spirited. The City Council is poised to grant a lease to New Jersey-based distiller and importer Proximo Spirits for half of a Monarch Street airplane hangar that’s also occupied by a brewery.
Proximo, which purchased Hangar 1 Vodka from the Point-based St. George Spirits in 2010, will take over and triple production of the craft vodka in the new facility. The company also plans to develop a “brand/tourism center” with a tasting room.
Governor Jerry Brown may help City Hall attain one of its key legislative objectives this year: Reclaiming the right to use property taxes to help finance the redevelopment of Alameda Point.
In a budget plan released Thursday, Brown began backtracking off his 2011 elimination of the state’s redevelopment program by offering to expand the use of existing special districts that allow cities to leverage future property taxes for military base reuse.
More than a decade ago, Oakland’s city attorney sued Alameda over plans to redevelop Alameda Point. In the suit, his office claimed Alameda’s analysis of the proposed development’s impacts failed to adequately study and propose solutions for the traffic it would pump into Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood.
Today that onetime city attorney, John Russo, is spearheading efforts to redevelop the Point as Alameda’s city manager. And as Alameda finalizes a new study of the development’s potential impacts, he is facing some of the same charges he lodged in his 2003 suit.
How much will it cost to provide police and fire service, parks and libraries to new residents and workers at Alameda Point? The city commissioned a study to find out.
The City Council on Tuesday tackled the impacts of anticipated sea level rise at Alameda Point – and specifically, the task of figuring out how much protection to erect, and when.
“You’re essentially buying an insurance policy. And the City Council needs to decide how much you want to pay up front, and how much you want to pay over time,” Alameda Point Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Ott said.
City Council members are calling for more transparency as the city selects developers for Alameda Point, saying the public should be given more of an opportunity for involvement in the process.
City staffers have been moving a mountain of paper this year to prepare Alameda Point for development in 2014. But on Saturday they mounted their bicycles, leading more than 100 cyclists on a three-hour tour intended to help them visualize the city’s plans.
The City Council will be considering a pair of key decisions Tuesday with implications for the both the near-term and farther-flung future of Alameda Point.
The council will consider whether to hire a new company to manage and lease all of the city’s property – including Alameda Point – and also, whether to approve a proposed list of evaluation criteria for assessing development proposals for the former Navy base.
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