Alameda gets former Naval Air Station land back


The Naval base was closed in 1997 due to budget cuts but the city has struggled for 16 years since then to get the land back and come up with a plan to develop it.

"This has been a long time coming and we're incredibly excited that we can finally move forward with the development of Alameda Point," Mayor Marie Gilmore said today.

The U.S. Navy had originally asked for $108 million to convey the land, which makes up about one-third of Alameda. But in September 2011 it agreed to transfer the site back to the city at no cost.

The Alameda City Council voted unanimously on May 21 to formally accept the land, which it ceded to the U.S. government in 1936, from the Navy.

Today, City Manager John Russo will sign documents accepting the land. The property is broken down into 66 parcels of land that will be handed over on 44 separate deeds.

Russo "probably will have a hand cramp by the end of the day," Gilmore joked.

The city lost 14,000 military and civilian jobs when the Naval base closed in 1997, but city officials hope that redeveloping the site will create thousands of permanent jobs as well as thousands of temporary construction jobs and generate increased tax revenues.

When the Navy agreed to transfer the land in 2011, William Carsillo, its real estate coordinator, said the Navy will save money by not having to maintain the site any more, although it will continue to clean up environmental problems there.

Gilmore said the city will get about 80 percent of the land now and the rest after the Navy finishes cleaning up the site.

She said that before the land is completely developed, the city must complete an environmental impact report and a master infrastructure plan to provide information to prospective developers.

Gilmore said the city will focus on creating good jobs by encouraging that much of the land be used for retail and commercial purposes as well as research and development.

But she said plans at this point also call for the construction of about 1,425 housing units.

A ceremony to commemorate the land transfer will be held on June 24.

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