SAN LEANDRO — After more than a year of discussing what should be done about developing the San Leandro Marina, the City Council Shoreline-Marina Committee on Tuesday finally reached a decision.

The committee recommended selecting a Southern California firm as master developer of the 40-acre marina shoreline area. The recommendation will now go to the full council, which will ultimately decide whether the company will revamp the bulk of the city's "crown jewel."

For several months, city staff and a council ad hoc committee have been interviewing prospective developers, eventually winnowing a list of 50 candidates down to two.

Gardena-based California Coast was chosen over The Innisfree Companies, a private real estate developer based in Sausalito, mainly because it had more experience developing marinas that include a mix of hotels, conference centers and office space, city officials said Tuesday.

California Coast, which developed the Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro (Los Angeles Harbor), also has an architectural firm with "green building" experience and promised to work with the community during the planning process, said Cynthia Battenberg, the city's business development manager.

That factor seemed to impress the committee the most.

"During the interviews, Cal Coast said they had read the minutes from our town halls," said Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak. "That shows they recognize they have to understand our community to be successful."

Members of the public who attended the meeting Tuesday were generally supportive of the committee's decision to move forward with the marina, which has been in flux since the city decided it could no longer afford to dredge. But some challenged city officials to be wise about the next steps.

Several labor groups pressed the city to include labor peace agreements early in its negotiations with the firm so that the project represents a fair public-private partnership and moves along smoothly.

As usual, several residents also accused the council of abandoning the harbor — which the city claims has become too expensive to maintain — by selecting a master developer.

But the committee assured people that all of their concerns have been considered as the city looks to move the marina in a new direction. The committee also recommended creating a citizen advisory committee to help shape the shoreline plan.

Reach Martin Ricard at 510-293-2480 or mricard@bayareanewsgroup.com.