Monday, February 18, 2013

Army Base Tenants Close to Reaching Deal to Stay

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Representatives from the City of Oakland, the Port of Oakland, and port-related businesses facing imminent eviction from the East Gateway section of the old Oakland Army Base said last week that they were close to an agreement on moving those businesses to the port portion of the Army Base property.

Four companies — PCC Logistics, Port Transfer, Inc., Industrial Railways, and Impact Transportation — must agree to vacate their locations on the Army Base by May 31 in order to prevent Oakland from losing more than $200 million in state grant funds for the base development project. The companies want to move over to port property that also was once part of the Army Base in order to continue their work with the port.

PCC alone has more than 500 permanent and non-permanent workers on the old Army Base site. The Army Base was divided between the city and the port after it was decommissioned as an active military installation several years ago, and both the city and the port have been working on separate land development deals on their respective properties ever since.

Two weeks ago, with City of Oakland real estate staffer John Monetta saying that “time is running out,” representatives of the affected companies requested negotiations between themselves, the Oakland City Council, the Port of Oakland board of commissioners, and senior city and port staff members because they felt talks with the Army Base Master Developer—Phil Tagami’s California Capital Investment Group—were not moving fast enough. The request apparently worked.

After representatives from the Oakland Mayor’s Office, the Port of Oakland executive director’s office, and several councilmembers and port commissioners intervened in the talks, port Government Affairs Manager Matt Davis told members of the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee last week that a tentative agreement had been reached to relocate the four affected companies to port Army Base property. With some details remaining to be worked out, the tentative agreement cannot be ratified until the March 14 port board of commissioners meeting.

Oakland business leader Dexter Vizinau, who has been representing PCC in the talks, said that “we are 90 percent there; we’re very close” in the negotiations, and praised city and port officials for working together to prevent Oakland and the port from potentially losing the affected businesses.

“It’s the port-related work that these small businesses do that has provided the opportunity for the city to develop the Army Base and that the Master Developer [Tagami’s CCIG] has taken advantage of,” Vizinau said.

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