Aah, I had so wanted to write a whole bunch of posts about the Army Base last week before the item came to Community and Economic Development Committee (CED) today, but I just couldn’t find the time, and while I still hope to get to it later this week, I wanted to say something before the meeting.
Okay, so when we last visited the Army Base question, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums wanted what he referred to as a “vision-based” development strategy for the Army Base, which basically involved asking developers to come up with a plan that would incorporate like every conceivable use on the land. In one of their better moments last year, CED wisely rejected the recommended “Mixed-Use Oakland” plan, dismissing the “vision” with one of my favorite lines from Jane Brunner ever, “This isn’t a vision. It’s a list.” Henry Chang had had enough, and awesomely suggested that we just wash our hands of this neverending saga and just sell all the land to the Port, and then use the money for like, affordable housing, or whatever.
Jane Brunner then immediately lost all the points she had just earned by talking about how bad she wanted something “spectacular” on the land, like an outlet mall. Then Larry Reid jumped in to complain about how he’s sick of shopping at Gilroy. The Committee ultimately decided to reject all the vision options presented and just issue an RFQ and let the people who want to develop the land say what they want to do. Then staff came back to Council trying to issue an RFQ with instructions to submit plans for what the Mayor had asked for anyway, and there was a little spat about how if the Mayor wants something so bad he should tell the Council himself and since he hadn’t, staff needed to write it the way the Committee had directed them to.
So then they put out the RFQ and we got 13 responses. You can download all the RFQ responses here if you’d like to read them. A review panel went through them and selected 4 that they think should move on to the RFP process, where they’ll submit something more specific about what exactly they plan to do. Overall, I think the review panel made exactly the right choices in their recommendations, prioritizing (PDF!) respondents who demonstrated the financial capacity and stability to carry out the entire 20 year project and teams with experience on former military or otherwise heavily contaminated sites.
So the recommendation is AMB/California Capital Group (PDF!), Federal Development (PDF!), First Industrial Realty (PDF!), and Prologis/Catellus (PDF!). I hope to discuss the merits and drawbacks of each of team’s response later this week, and I already have my favorite, but the four of them were just head and shoulders above the rest, so I’m pretty pleased with where things stand at the moment. Of course, that will probably all change this afternoon when I watch Jane Brunner and Larry Reid go on and on about retail, which is seriously just the worst possible use of the Army Base, but that’s for tomorrow.
- 10.25.07 Who wants the Army Base?
- 10.24.07 This isn’t a vision – it’s a list.
- 10.23.07 What makes sense for the Army Base?
- 10.15.07 Ron Dellums’s town hall – 10,000 jobs on the Army Base? Huh?