Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Must Read: A’s Fans Pack Oakland City Hall; Magic Johnson Buys Uptown Building

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. More than 200 A’s fans packed Oakland City Hall last night to voice their support for a proposed new waterfront ballpark. The city is proposing to build a 39,000-seat stadium and mixed-use project near Jack London Square, along the Lake Merritt Channel, in a site known as Victory Court. Last night, the city Planning Commission began accepting public comment on what should be studied in an environmental impact report for the new ballpark. It’s a major step in Oakland’s quest to keep the A’s from moving to San Jose.

2. A company co-owned by former NBA great Magic Johnson has purchased a struggling residential complex in Oakland’s Uptown district for about $20 million, the Trib reports. Johnson’s company, Canyon-Johnson, bought the Thomas Berkeley Square project, which includes 88 housing units over ground-floor retail, and will rename it Uptown Place. Johnson’s company is bullish on Oakland; it recently attempted to purchase another project near City Hall.

3. West Oakland has long suffered without a supermarket, as residents have been forced to turn to liquor stores for groceries, but a new mid-sized market in West Oakland appears to be off to a good start, the Trib reports. ProducePro grocery store at 2314 San Pablo Avenue, which opened November 15, is the brainchild of Ed Hemmat, an Iranian immigrant. The store features fresh, locally grown produce, and plans are in the works for a fish, poultry, and meat department, along with a deli and a bakery.

4. Meanwhile, another Oakland development, Swan’s Market, in downtown, continues to struggle, the Trib reports. Numerous businesses inside the market at Clay and 10th Streets have closed in recent years, and the owners of the market have had difficulty attracting new tenants.

5. SunCal, the former proposed developer of Alameda Point, is asking for more than $100 million in damages from Alameda taxpayers as part of its lawsuit against the city, the Alameda Journal reports. SunCal claims that the city council unlawfully severed its relationship with the developer earlier this year and accuses Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant of fraud. But the developer has yet to produce evidence to support its claims.

6. The City of Richmond wants to be the new home of a second campus for the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, the West County Times reports. The lab plans to issue a request for proposals this month for the new campus. The City of Alameda also may compete for the campus.

7. And state regulators are expected to target Sacramento’s sewer system as a contributing factor to poor water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the CoCo Times reports. Environmentalists, scientists, and water agencies that depend on the delta say that Sacramento needs to dramatically improve its sewage discharge system. But the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District doesn’t want to spend the $2 billion in needed upgrades.

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