New plan for Oakland Army Base close to approval

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Nearly 20 years after it shut down, a redevelopment plan for the old Oakland Army Base is a big step closer to reality.

And it could bring with it hundreds of badly needed jobs.

For nearly 60 years, millions of tons of cargo moved through the Oakland Army Base to military bases in the Pacific. But since the Army moved out in 1999, it's been empty and quietly decaying - until now.

John Driscoll is the maritime director at the Port of Oakland. He told ABC7 News about the $52 million redevelopment plan that's already received initial approval from port commissioners. It involves the construction of a huge building called a logistics facility.

"The actual building will be a 440,000-square-foot building," Driscoll said. "So it will be the largest structure in the port of Oakland for warehousing capacities."

Tenants would include companies that transfer cargo between ships, trucks, and trains, and the project would be managed by Chicago-based Centerpoint properties.

The entire Oakland Army Base property covers nearly 370 acres, half controlled by the city and half controlled by the Port of Oakland. This is phase one of the port's redevelopment plan.

"It's going to create good jobs," said Driscoll. "We hope union jobs, jobs that are going to be sustainable and allow the employees to maintain families in a comfortable environment."

It took 20 months to negotiate the deal, which still needs another approval vote from the port before contracts can be signed in January and work can begin in the spring.

There are critics who worry about more air and noise pollution from trucks going in and out. But, the port is hoping neighbors will give the project a chance.
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