ALAMEDA -- City officials are going forward with plans to ask developers to offer their qualifications for building homes and businesses on 150 acres at the former Alameda Naval Air Station, projects that they say could generate thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.
The City Council unanimously approved the move Tuesday to solicit qualifications from those interested in redeveloping the two parcels at the former navy base now known as Alameda Point, as well as to require the successful candidates to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with the city.
One site totals 68 acres, would be a mix of at least 800 homes and retail space and is near what city officials call the Waterfront Town Center and the former Seaplane Lagoon.
The other 82-acre parcel is just south of that site and would be redeveloped with commercial projects that are expected to be major sales tax generators, such as a premium retail outlet, although city officials also noted they want no "big box" stores at the location.
Among the reasons why the two sites were selected is that both are set for new development instead of reuse and both are near what will be gateways to Alameda Point and its future waterfront center, where a marina with ferry service docks, bike/pedestrian paths and other amenities are planned.
The sites also provide proximity to Main Street, where key utilities are located, and each includes significant portions of land away from a toxic groundwater plume, which still must be cleaned, and are hence better for earlier development, said Jennifer Ott, the city's chief operating officer for Alameda Point, in a background report for the council.
"This construction has the potential of generating thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in tax revenue and over a thousand housing units," Ott said about redeveloping the two parcels. "Additionally, the regional economy is currently very strong. The city must take advantage of these favorable market conditions to take the community's vision for Alameda Point from mere plan to concrete reality."
Any developers interested in taking on one of the sites will be required to demonstrate that they have completed similar projects. Each developer also must pay a "fair-share" fee toward infrastructure improvements, such as offsetting projected sea level rise, replacing sewer pump stations and for a future fire station.
Developers will have six weeks to respond to the request for qualifications, Ott said. City staff will then recommend no more than three of them per site for follow-up negotiations during a public hearing before the council. The goal is to have a council decision in early September and exclusive negotiation agreements in place by November, Ott said.
The launch of the effort to secure developers follows the city taking ownership of about 1,400 acres of Alameda Point in June last year through a no-cost conveyance agreement with the U.S. Navy. The agreement, the first phase of the base's overall transfer, provided the city with about 500 acres of land and nearly 900 acres beneath San Francisco Bay.
The complete transfer of Alameda Point is projected to be complete by 2019. In all, about 1,425 homes are planned at the former base, as well as stores, offices and parks. A veteran's clinic and national cemetery ARE also in the works.
In other matters: The council Tuesday held off on a proposal from the Public Works Department to call for bids to repair and resurface some streets so that it could gather more public input, especially since the work would involve paying for deferred maintenance against the backdrop of the city's other financial challenges.
"It's very important that we get their input on the state of our roads and whether they should be a priority," Mayor Marie Gilmore said.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.