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Alameda City Council Denies SunCal’s Modified Plan for Alameda Point

In a meeting that began last night and ran into the wee hours of this morning, on a 4-0 vote, Alameda City Council approved a resolution that denied SunCal’s so-called “modified optional entitlement application” plan for Alameda Point, effectively ending the City’s continued negotiations with the developer. As a result, SunCal’s exclusive negotiation agreement (ENA) with the City of Alameda expired at midnight.

Except that, before the vote, an attorney for SunCal, Louis “Skip” Miller said that the vote was “not legal” and that SunCal had not had their full due process under the ENA, and warned the City to let the process run its course, “otherwise, we’re going to be in court…seeking very substantial damages if we have to.”

After countless public speakers on both sides of the issue – Council Chambers, two overflow rooms in City Hall, and a room at the Alameda Library, were packed with both opponents and proponents of SunCal’s plan – Council had a discussion, wherein Mayor Beverly Johnson said, “I don’t really think it was a very good tactic to come in here and bully and threaten not only the council but the community…basically telling the community if we don’t do what they think is the right thing to do from their perspective, they’re going to bankrupt the city.”

Vice-Mayor deHaan stressed that he, and all council members, worked hard with SunCal to make it work and that no single issue convinced him to reject SunCal. It was the millions of dollars of money that SunCal poured into the Measure B campaign, deHaan said, that was an indication for him that something was wrong. “Money doesn’t buy our loyalty, and our trust,” he said.

Ultimately, Councilmember Frank Matarrese, saying that the modified plan had “the same flaws as the project that went before the voters,” in February, motioned to approve the proposed resolution and deny SunCal’s plan. Vice-Mayor Doug deHaan seconded the motion. In a role-call vote, Councilmember Lena Tam abstained, and Mayor Johnson and Councilmember Marie Gilmore voted in favor of the motion, making it a 4-0 vote.

SunCal Opponents at Alameda City Hall (Joe Woodard)

Councilmember Matarrese, who is running for Mayor in this November’s election, wrote on his campaign website today, “As an alternative to having a Master Developer, I am requesting the Council/ARRA to evaluate an approach that has a non-profit local development corporation, chartered and mandated by the City of Alameda, to facilitate implementing the plan for Alameda Point.”

The resolution approved by Council last night calls for “lessons learned” community outreach meetings, meetings with Alameda Point tenants and stakeholders, and a recommendation on a “moving forward” Alameda Point Project Team.

7 comments to Alameda City Council Denies SunCal’s Modified Plan for Alameda Point

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  • Barb

    Much better approach to have a non-profit take the lead. We have enough proven and successful persons in town to do this ourselves. And we can go with the flo of the economy and traffic. If something starts to create too much traffic and public outcry, we can stop, until its fixed. Or just plain stop. And keeping the profits here it town for the citizens, means that both the City and the school district can benefit from the additional income.

    Sounds like we can make hundreds of millions of dollars for the years to come if done right.

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  • richard

    I fear that Alameda has taken a great and costly step backwards.
    It is terrbly naiive to think that a DIY project of this magnitude would be less than a disaster.
    What further risk would there have been to continue negotiations AND the EIR to get a true evaluation upon which to base a project?
    I am sorry for Alameda.
    I am sorry for the Bay Area. [We are in this together, you know]


  • DIY development, without a Master Developer, was exactly what all those citizen groups back in the ’90s thought would be the best fit between viability and authentic conformity to the Alameda architectural culture and identity. SunCal was way off. What stymied Aidan Barry was the sudden elevation of the price tag for transfer from the Navy, from a dollar to $100 million, and the decaying economy for any sort of real estate, but especially commercial first, and residential next. A little reality therapy is now in order.

    Obama can order the price tag for transfer returned to the original buck, but that won’t happen without serious lobbying by Alameda citizens and leaders. We can also wait until the real estate market recovers, even a bit, and that will mean after a horrible consequence in commercial, with more and more buildings going vacant, and more and more local banks, which tend to be focused on commercial RE, to fail and go down.

    But don’t blame all that on “Short-sighted City leaders.” Take a wider view.

  • Betty

    Please don’t feel sorry for Alameda.
    For one thing this land is toxic and will never be safe and
    two Sun Cal never had any intentions of building anything.
    Look at their record. It wasn’t going to happen.

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