What to do with the NUMMI land?

April 2, 2010 6:21:46 PM PDT
Many in Fremont are wondering, now that the last car has rolled off the assembly line at the NUMMI plant, what will happen to the land.

City officials have already applied for a grant to study what to do with the property, which is surrounded by undeveloped land.

Fremont's worst fear is that its newly-vacant NUMMI plant might stay that way for many, many years.

"We really hate to see the property sit there and do nothing," says Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman.

Wasserman is well aware redevelopment could take a decade or longer.

"We plan to do a very extensive feasibility study, land use study, financial study," says Wasserman.

In a better economy, developers might line up for a parcel that's been described as "400 flat acres between two freeways." Add to that, a new BART station planned for the area.

The possibilities are many, including retail, commercial, green manufacturing or tech, high-density residential, and most likely some combination of uses.

The Fremont Chamber of Commerce hopes it is a vision that includes a new stadium for the Oakland A's, a team now considering a move farther south.

"The Chamber certainly hopes that we're going to end up with an A's development in there of some kind, a stadium. We're hoping the A's will settle and find their home in Fremont," says Cindy Bonior from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

Fremont can take solace in the fact that a car plant has closed before and a city found its way afterward. Down the road in Milpitas, the last Ford rolled off the assembly line in 1983. And though it took more than 10 years for The Great Mall to replace the old Ford plant, it finally did.

"It's been I would say a successful renovation or new use for the land," says Christina Robles, from the Great Mall of the Bay Area. "I think with the right people in place and with the right plan, I think any land could have great possibilities."

The NUMMI parcel is much bigger than what Ford left behind, but at least one prominent local developer expects a new thriving development here, within four to 10 years.


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