ALAMEDA -- Creating a sense of place, improving infrastructure and capitalizing on existing businesses should be part of any strategy by city officials to boost economic development at the former Alameda Naval Air Station, the Planning Board will hear Monday.
A goal behind drafting a strategy -- which will feature input from the board when the City Council reviews it next month -- is to create jobs in the area now known as Alameda Point. The 918-acre site covers about one-third of the Island.
Attracting new businesses will also boost the city's lease revenue, helping to finance overall redevelopment at the former base, according to Lori Taylor, the city's Community Development Department director.
But Taylor also noted that the strategy guidelines will not be "a land use, an infrastructure or a financing plan for Alameda Point" in a background report for the board.
The U.S. Defense Department awarded the city $225,000 to draft the strategy in September last year, which in turn led city officials to contract with Keyser Marston Associates, a real estate advisory firm that has worked on redevelopment at the former Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato and at the former Fort Ord in Monterey.
Among the firm's recommendations is that the former Navy base be parceled into between 15 and 25 acre sites as a way to promote redevelopment, and for the city to offer potential tenants the option of at least a 10-year lease so that anyone launching a business can secure easier financing.
The firm also found that the current surplus of vacant commercial space in the East Bay -- due to the overall sluggish economy -- will likely need to diminish and market rents adjust before city officials can expect that upgrading existing buildings will be financially feasible.
But the firm also says many buildings, which include former aircraft hangars, could attract manufacturing, maritime and other businesses if they were given a makeover.
Other recommendations by the firm include enhancing the main entrances of Alameda Point, more signs so that visitors can find their way around easier, and "pop up" stores to serve people who work in the area.
When the former Navy base closed in 1997, the city lost about 14,000 military and civilian jobs.
Alameda officials now believe up to 6,000 permanent jobs will be created and millions of dollars in local and state tax revenues will be generated as the former base is redeveloped.
Two years ago, a proposal from Irvine-based SunCal Companies to become a master developer and build up to 4,500 homes at Alameda Point fell through after coming under fire from some residents, who said the ambitious plan would cause too much traffic and create other problems in the city's West End.
City leaders were also hoping that representatives of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory would choose the former base for their second campus, but that fell through in January when they picked Richmond.
The Planning Board is expected to hear on Monday, however, that city officials can still build on their lobbying efforts for the lab, especially by parceling out the area to promote redevelopment.
The City Council is set to consider the strategy plan on Dec. 5.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-749-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.
The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda.