The audacity of hope?

On Wednesday, the ARRA (city council sitting as a redevelopment agency) heard a report on a bill moving through congress sponsored by Duncan Hunter. Now I’m not a big fan of Hunter’s, but the city has a lobbyist working on issues surrounding the Alameda Point transfer. (paid for by SunCal who is required by contract to expend money on the project each quarter at the city’s behest.)

The issue is this, the current deal that has been negotiated with the Navy was done by a consortium of single family home builders, it was written by the developers to meet their direct needs, specifically that none of the residences that they build would be anything besides SFH. (Take a look at the PDC, they have put SFHs on every available plot of land that they could). As a part of this deal, the city, via the developer, is on the hook for $108 million for the Alameda Point land (if they build all ~1700 houses in the PDC) AND then $75,000 per unit for each unit over that.

On top of that they city is requiring 25% of the housing to be subisdized, which adds further costs to each market rate house. The combination of these two factors (but mainly the $75K) makes the building of any additional housing units highly unfeasible.

Which brings us to Duncan Hunter’s bill, which includes language that would set up a three-tiered agreement for the transfer of Alameda Point:

  1. SunCal and the US Navy would have until mid-2009 to renegotiate a new agreement for the Point.
  2. If no agreement is reached, the Navy will accept $10 million PLUS 12% of any net profits from the development that is created.
  3. In the instance that neither #1 or #2 is attainable, then the US Navy will give the land to the City to auction off and the City and the Navy will share in the proceeds (City 20%/Navy 80%) and the city will have some decision power in who is chosen.

This is a necessary process to redefine for the city, because right now, the Alameda Point agreement is one that was written for another time, to benefit a different company (one of the problems of past council’s abdicating its proactive oversight of the process and allowing the developer to drive the process towards its own specific needs in order to avoid dealing with contentious issues like Measure A, but that’s another story entirely).

The current (and most likely only possible) master developer has said that the city’s PDC is unbuildable. And so, this proposal will allow the city and the developer the flexibility of building a more community driven (and yes possibly more “new” developer driven) plan. It gives flexibility where it’s needed. It allows SunCal to walk away and not leave the city wondering where the process is headed. It’s a big development for Alameda, and appears to be a very positive one.

It will be interesting to see if our Congressional Delegation will support this as it’s offered by Rep. Hunter who is not exactly aligned with Stark, Boxer and Feinstein.

On a completely unrelated note: Huge props to fellow Alamedans.com bloggers Michele Ellson and Eve Pearlman for their solid, fact-based, coverage of the unfolding Measure H ballot count. Their professional work over the last few days has been a joy to follow and has kept many of us informed as to what is happening at the Registrar of Voters. Their work shows the power of blogs to provide important information on critical issues. Information that has not been available, in a reliable fashion, in the past.