Tuesday Night in Alameda: New public safety contracts on tap

Tuesday Night in Alameda: New public safety contracts on tap

Michele Ellson


Richard Bangert's picture
Submitted by Richard Bangert on Wed, Apr 8, 2015

Regarding the vacant buildings at Alameda Point that were recently fenced off, I included video footage of the demolition of eight of those buildings in a 2011 news update: https://youtu.be/w1PNy_OhH_0 Oddly, after the eight buildings were demolished, fencing was put up around the foundations and slabs of the demolished buildings for safety reasons. But no fencing was put up around the remaining buildings. Only now, after four years - after a TV station did a story - has fencing gone up around the block. (Three buildings on a nearby block have yet to be fenced.)

Furthermore, four years have elapsed during which there could have been a phased demolition of the remaining unsightly, unsafe, unhealthy, attractive-nuisance buildings. Councilmember Ashcraft urged people not to go to the media but instead come to the city council with these concerns. Perhaps the city council should have gone to this piece of real estate and talked with the nearby residents, and then the council might have appreciated the importance of removing the buildings and taken care of the matter long ago.

The fact that these buildings have remained standing for so long is a statement about the insensitivity of the city council to the nearby residents. And the argument that "we were expecting a master developer to come in and demolish everything" is only true up until 2010. In 2010, following SunCal's departure, the city changed strategies and embarked on our current course, which even today does not have a Specific Plan for the Main Street Neighborhood. So, no one "was coming" in 2010. The token demolition happened in 2011. If someone "was coming," why spend precious block grant money on demolition?

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on studies about this, that, and everything at Alameda Point. Why hasn't money been allocated for removing the embarrassing blocks of apartment building eyesores in the Main Street Neighborhood? Plenty of grant money to design a new "town center," but no grant money for where the low-income residents live.

Submitted by Karen Bey (not verified) on Wed, Apr 8, 2015

Had we hired a master developer to develop the base, they would probably have been under construction by now, and demolition would have been their first project on the list.

But we/the community decided to be our own master developer – so the first order of the day was to zone and entitle the property, and next was to seek developers to purchase blocks of land for development. Site A has been entitled and is the first block of land up for approvals, so the city is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing as master developer. The city’s job as master developer was planning and entitlement not demolition and construction.

Demolition costs are bundled together as part of the construction of backbone infrastructure – and it is the site developer who is responsible for their demolition costs. Demolition cost millions of dollars – so it’s unreasonable to think that the city should continue to take on these construction costs. Back in 2011 more funds were available for development, but our limited funds needs to be managed and used to pursue development of the base.

If anything, this incident strengthens the argument that we need to move forward with the development of the base so that these types of costs can be transferred to the developer who has the financial capacity to take on the full risks of development and construction.