An $830 million project to transform the former Oakland Army Base into a jobs-producing logistics and warehousing center serving the Port of Oakland is far from a done deal as the City Council races against a deadline to approve it.
With the council's four-member Community and Economic Development Committee scheduled to consider the development Tuesday, community groups are lobbying to win further concessions from developers on local hiring requirements.
The Army base project is the city's biggest -- and potentially its most vulnerable.
If the full council doesn't approve it next week, the city and port risk losing $242 million in state funding, which could sink the project.
There is brinkmanship on both sides. Several council members are questioning whether the developers have enough community benefits to approve the project. Developers and city staffers are warning that the entire project, estimated to create 5,000 construction jobs, could fall apart if the council doesn't approve it by next week's deadline.
The council committee, which meets at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, must decide whether to send the project to the full council next week.
The developers, Prologis and Phil Tagami's California Capital and Investment Group, have agreed to use union labor, give hiring preferences to Oakland residents and establish a West Oakland Jobs Center, but have not agreed to every stipulation sought by the city and labor and community groups.
On Monday, about two dozen community advocates urged Councilwoman Pat Kernighan to oppose stipulations that exempt employers with fewer than 50 full-time workers from local hire requirements. They also want the power to reject any future changes to the jobs agreements negotiated by the city.
"We don't want Prologis or any other company screwing the community," Shirley Burnell told Kernighan.
Kernighan replied that she would try to close the loopholes, but she wouldn't pledge to hold up the deal.
"The problem is that without the developers, we don't have a project, and we don't have any jobs," she said. "If they walk, they are walking away with a ton of benefits for Oakland."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6345.