ALAMEDA -- A federal judge has prevented SunCal Companies from recovering $17 million in what it claimed was out-of-pocket expenses spent on preparing to redevelop the former Alameda Naval Air Station, limiting the company's lawsuit to the $1 million initially deposited with the city.

Judge Charles Breyer's decision, announced Monday, follows his January ruling to dismiss SunCal's bid to recoup what it claimed was $100 million in lost profits when the redevelopment deal fell through.

SunCal representatives maintain the city violated the terms of an exclusive negotiating agreement by acting in bad faith, alleging that former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant wanted to have the city itself become master developer of the former base, now known as Alameda Point.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2010, or a month after the City Council unanimously decided not to renew the agreement.

"I am very pleased by this decision," Mayor Marie Gilmore said about Breyer's move to grant the city's motion for a partial summary judgment. "We understand litigation is a lengthy process, and this is a positive step for us."

SunCal was proposing to build 4,800 homes, a 60-acre sports complex, 140 acres of parks, a ferry terminal and about 4 million square feet of commercial space at Alameda Point. But the plan came under public criticism when the developer proposed sidestepping Measure A, the anti-density ordinance introduced in 1973 that banned the construction of any residence larger than a duplex within the city. Alameda voters rejected SunCal's plans by 85 percent.


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A SunCal representative was not immediately available for comment on the recent ruling.

SunCal is the largest privately-owned developer of master-planned and mixed-use communities in the United States. Among its current projects is 4,000 homes and 3.7 million square feet of commercial space in Prince Williams County, Va.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty/.