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Emeryville Gets Biofuel Center, Alameda Gets None

The East Bay Express is reporting that a new biofuel research center has opened up in Emeryville. Yet there is no similar leadership in Alameda from City Council or the Economic Development Commission. Acres upon acres of vacant light industrial buildings sitting vacant at Alameda Point, perfectly suited for a biofuel research center, and nobody from Alameda City Hall trying to lure one there.

4 comments to Emeryville Gets Biofuel Center, Alameda Gets None

  • Joe Citizen

    Play fair. What company would want to locate to a piece of property that is not even owned by the City and has terrible infrastructure? Until the Navy turns over the property over to the City and citizens realizes that converting the land will require substanial bond financing for infrastructure all of this chatter about not “luring” companies is meaningless.

    If your vision for Alameda Point is some combination of “technology forward” commercial ventures along with Measure A compliant housing, then lay out how you would pay for the infrastructure upgrades without having to “bailout” a developer.

    All I see here is what is wrong with the process at Alameda Point. So I will appoint you “czar” for a day. Publish a roadmap to your conversion of the Naval Base that does not use the dreaded redevelopment financing.

    Ultimately, I believe Action Alameda would be happy if nothing ever gets done at Alameda Point. No more housing, no more traffic and no more threats to Measure A. However, the City will bear cost of having to maintain a piece of peoperty that has not been redeveloped and suffer more financially in the long term.

  • Actually, we are working on this – and we have published several ideas in the past about alternate plans for Alameda Point.

    For example… a green technology research center to tackle the energy crisis and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

    Establish a green/clean technology cluster, partnering with a major university, and drawing on some federal funds that Obama is promising to kick off research. Re-vive the “science city” incubator/cluster idea from about 10 years ago that swept aside after housing builders bought City Council. Instead of destroying the existing 8 soccer fields at Alameda Point, expand them so that more kids can play and charge use fees for out-of-Alameda teams to help pay for it.

    Another idea is to put the land in a public trust, just like the Presidio in San Francisco. Trust money could be used to fund part of the infrastructure upgrades. What we object to most about the use of redevelopment is that a) City Council doesn’t put the issuance of bonds to a vote and b) they plan is to issue $700 million in bonds to enable a private concern (SunCal) to make private profits from what is now public land. If Council would put the issuance of bonds to a vote, and issue redevelopment bonds in the name of keeping Alameda Point to benefit all existing Alameda citizens, rather than just enabling SunCal to make profits, that would be a different story.

    As for what businesses would locate out there? There are many existing businesses at Alameda Point today – Revolution Foods, making healthy school lunches; NRC, doing environmental response; an artists collaborative including a kayak/woodworking shop and a metal forger, just to name a few.

    It costs a municipality more to service houses than it does to maintain parks and open space – this is proven time and time again. This is why it’s necessary to implement a municipal services district (Mello Roos) on top of Bayport and Alameda Point to generate additional tax revenue to fund the services the people living there will need. Parks and open space cost less to maintain and will increase the property values of everyone in Alameda, and generate more property taxes. (See Harnik, “Inside City Parks” and related reading.)

  • Joe Citizen

    Thanks. For some reason your link to Save Our City is not working. I will check it out when I gain access.

    Kinda confused how a Public Trust would generate enough monies to pay for infrsatructure.

    As for getting public approval of $700 million in bonds, the public approved the APT deal so I am not clear on why the public would be anymore able to evaluate the viability and benefit of the bond purchase then the sitting City Council.

  • The link works for me, I just tried it.

    Here’s an example of land trust that just got done:

    The Mayor has hornswoggled the citizenry into thinking that the only viable way to redevelop Alameda Point is to build houses – not true. People “believe” that if only because they’ve never seen an alternative.

    The San Francisco Presido is tasked with making itself pay for itself – they have Lucasfilms out there. We already have film studio activity on Alameda Point. One travel agent resident from Alameda Point put forth the idea of a cruise ship terminal at the deep water port – as an embark/dis-embark point for cruises. There’s another source of revenue. Of course, the Mayor had the City Manager bury that idea. There’s no shortage of ideas to bring in business to re-use the buildings there and make it pay for itself.

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