Alameda Community News Project: Council balks at latest Point strategy, May 10, 2012


A deeply divided Alameda City Council may end up walking away from the city’s latest proposal to prepare Alameda Point for development, with some council members saying they think the city should focus on existing tenants and forget about moving forward with new development plans for a few years. The development strategy has been in the works since the council fired former master developer SunCal in July 2010.

After a failed vote to implement the proposed strategy and another to focus on existing tenants, Vice Mayor Rob Bonta asked city staff to come back with a revised version of the strategy, which calls for taking out $5 million in bonds backed by lease revenues to cover the cost of creating entitlements that would lay out what can be built at the Point, how much, and where, and also the environmental review required before development can move forward.

“I don’t want to throw this out, that’s not what I have been saying. I’m saying it needs some tweaks in certain areas,” Bonta said at the council meeting Tuesday night.

But City Manager John Russo, who called the suggestion “demoralizing” for city staffers who were on their third presentation of the plan to the council, said the scaled-down version of the proposed strategy Bonta requested wouldn’t push Point development efforts forward and could end up costing the city more money in the long run.

“If you’re asking whether we think that will succeed, we don’t think it will succeed,” Russo said.