|Point Transfer Complete|
Published: Friday, 26 October 2012 06:58
Photos by Dennis Evanosky
Above, just down the street from the former Naval Air Station chapel sits the burnedout wreck of a building in an obvious state of neglect. Below, just southwest of the USS Hornet, overgrown grass and a wrecked garbage can speak to the condition of the property the city of Alameda just inherited.
City receives ownership of long-neglected Navy property
Alameda officials are praising a new land exchange agreement they made with the state of California on Friday, Oct. 19 that will place the Alameda Point waterfront area into a public trust.
The California State Lands Commission, which protects, restores, enhances, and preserves resources on state lands, approved the agreement with the city.
City officials are more than pleased with the agreement. The agreement marks "a momentous step toward the future development of Alameda Point," stated Deputy City Manager Alex Nguyen in a memo.
"Aside from the conveyance agreement with the Navy, the exchange agreement with the state of California is the single most important regulatory approval needed to move the Alameda Point project forward," stated Jennifer Ott, chief operating officer for Alameda Point.
Placing the tidelands and wetlands area into a public trust limits the allowable development on certain lands to maritime-related uses, water-oriented recreation, visitorserving facilities, habitat preservation and scientific study.
The deal has been 12 years in the making. The California Legislature enacted legislation in 2000 that authorized the exchange of property between the city and state.
"After more than 12 years as a work in progress, the agreement paves the way for the cohesive and orderly development of Alameda Point," said Nguyen.
The agreement also turns over interior land at the former base to the city, a key step for redeveloping Alameda Point.
This change over could not come at a better time for the 918- acre Alameda Point area that houses 60 commercial leases and 66 residences.
The revitalization of the Point area has stalled several times due to exchange issues in the past, which has caused some buildings in the area to be in bad condition.
"I'm mopping up a lake right now," said one business owner at the Alameda Point who has a leaky roof. "I have been working with the city on getting a new roof done for almost nine months, but I have to wait for a lease agreement with the city to put it in place." The business owner said he offered to pay $50,000 for the roof and asked the city to pay the company back over five years with no interest, but he has had to wait months for the city to get a lease agreement in place in order to move forward.
"I think the city has neglected this area," said the business owner. "I don't understand their attitude in letting this area rot."
If you enter Alameda Point right now, mixed in with businesses are burned abandoned buildings, unkempt grass and trashcans filled with old trash.
"I live in Oakland, so when I drive into the Point I see lots of businesses, but if I continue to drive I run into some decrepit housing," said Shauna Rosenblum, wine maker for Rock Wall Wine Company, located at 2301 Monarch St. "We have patrons that come here from Napa and Sonoma and they ask me, 'why would you have a wine company in this area?' Then they look at the views."
Rosenblum also feels the area is being neglected.
"It's sad," said Rosenblum. "I think there's a lot of beautiful space here."
It is unknown if this agreement will impact the conditions of Alameda Point.
The city expects that the initial closing of the exchange under the agreement will occur within six months of the city receiving the first phase of land from the Navy, which is anticipated early next year. Following further conveyances from the Navy, subsequent exchange closings will occur consistent with the agreement.