Alameda Point project approved to proceed at former naval station
City to sell or lease commercial buildings at Alameda Point
Strategy would lease some buildings at the former naval base while selling others
To sell or lease the commercial buildings on Alameda Point — that is the question that faces the East Bay city.
Alameda now favors a site-by-site approach to its commercial buildings at the former naval air base, selling some and leasing out others, the San Francisco Business Times reported.
The City Council informally supported the strategy at a public workshop this month, moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach it adopted at the end of last year.
The city hired Keyser Marston Associates to determine whether it would be best to sell off its holdings at Alameda Point or continue to serve as the landlord.
Based on the results of KMA’s analysis, Alameda will continue to lease out certain buildings at the base while selling off others, City Manager Jennifer Ott told the Business Journal.
She said Alameda could move to sell the first buildings under the policy within the next 12 to 24 months. The city hasn’t identified specific buildings it will seek to sell under the policy.
But it will do so with price maximization in mind. Proceeds from the sales will help fund the estimated $700 million worth of new infrastructure the base needs to adequately support private businesses and new residents, city staff said at the workshop.
The base’s World War II-era infrastructure is no longer up to par.
“Given the $700 million price tag,” said David Doezema, senior principal with KMA, “maximizing what you get out of these properties will be very important.”
The city’s decision to pursue a case-by-case approach comes as the former base was recently declared exempt by Assembly Bill 2319 from the Surplus Lands Act, a state law requiring cities to offer excess land to affordable housing developers before it can be used for other purposes.
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Mia Bonta, D-Alameda, went into effect Jan. 1 and allows public land at Alameda Point to circumvent the surplus property law, expediting its redevelopment for commercial use.
The new flexible strategy could help hasten Alameda Point’s redevelopment, granting the city the capital it needs to make infrastructure improvements while encouraging private investment from buyers of commercial buildings.
Alameda Point’s redevelopment has been underway since the U.S. Navy closed Naval Air Station Alameda in 1997.
Alameda, working with private developers, has helped usher in the base’s first construction of new homes. Also, it has cultivated a small but growing nucleus of commercial tenants, many of them in the aerospace industry, in the adaptive reuse district on the former base.
Some of those tenants, including Astra Space, have expressed interest in buying their facilities at Alameda Point, according to the Business Times.
Alameda sold several commercial buildings in the reuse district, before the case-by-case policy. Proceeds from those sales in the registered historic district helped fund roughly $30 million in infrastructure improvements at the base.
— Dana Bartholomew
Alameda aims to build state-mandated housing on former naval base