The Oakland Army Base Project – the long-dreamed of plan to redevelop a long-dead 366-acre land assembly that was once the home of the U.S. Army for the San Francisco Bay Area, and the focus of a competition won by Oakland-based California Capital Group two years ago – has moved a giant step closer to reality after the Oakland City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would accomplish the following:
1) Approve the city administrator to complete agreements with the Port Of Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), and a set of developers, firmly establish the use of $242 million in State Of California funds, and commit $22.5 million in City of Oakland funds to match a grant from the Trade Corridor Improvement Fund, which would total 54 million for the project in addition to the state funds mentioned.
2) Approve a plan that essentially transfers all land development control to the firms of Prologis CCIG Oakland Global, LLC, but under the City Of Oakland’s watch as the land owner, and after negotiations with the Oakland City Administrator’s Office.
3) Approve an agreement to have a system in place that allows the City of Oakland to monitor job creation rates, and job distribution rates to make sure that Oaklanders are employed. In this, Councilmember Desley Brooks pushed for an online monitoring system. Fred Blackwell, the head of the Oakland Redevelopment Agency such as it exists after it was gutted by Governor Jerry Brown, said that such a reporting system in San Francisco costs “$1 million to $2 million” – Brooks rightfully said that a system online template could be installed for far less cost. She’s correct; that Blackwell would be caught saying that isn’t an attempt to be tricky; it’s the result of a person who’s speciality has nothing to do with the Internet.
Overall the project managers have agreed to limit the employment of temporary workers, use union labor, maintain “hire-Oakland-first jobs” for half of the total number of workers, and provide money for a planned West Oakland jobs center.
Oakland Army Base Project Will Remake Oakland
I’m not sure a lot of people realize that that part of the City of Oakland is about to be totally transformed if approved, and for a time will be perhaps the largest public / private construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area. In total, the “Working Waterfront” plan will employ 2,810 people, and substantially improve Oakland’s already lofty place as a World port / container handling terminus.
Two videos will give you a good idea of what’s being planned. The first one below is a four-minute animation that starts with the land as it looks today, then takes you through a transformation, adding sewer lines, roads, and power lines, then building platforms, and then the buildings, new I-80 Freeway connectors, and a brand new railyard with state-of-the-art container-handling equipment. Here’s the video, which to this date has been seen just 73 times – that’s about to change:
The second video is a March 11, 2011 video interview with Phil Tagami, the head of the Oakland Army Base Project and its visionary, who is Managing Partner of California Capital Group. At this point, Phil was giving us an update, and the book he mentioned and that I have is now old, but still served as the foundation for what you saw in the first video.
The Oakland Army Base Project ordinances return to the Oakland City Council July 3rd for the second and final reading.