On Point

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing city leaders seeking to redevelop Alameda Point during tough economic times is finding the money to revitalize the 918-acre former Naval base. To address that challenge, some City Council candidates are suggesting Alameda take a look overseas.

“This world economy should not be a one way street. It should be a two way street. And I’d like to foster that,” said Stewart Chen, a council candidate who says Alameda should consider talking to foreign investors.

The city’s commitment to proceed with a less-intensive development plan than the one proposed by former Alameda Point developer SunCal could face a major hurdle: The amount of development now being contemplated for the former Naval Air Station may not pencil out financially.

A financial feasibility analysis conducted for the city by Keyser Marston Associates shows that the amount of money the city could raise in land sales and public funding doesn’t even come close to the amount they would need to pay for roads, water pipes and other infrastructure that needs to be built to support development at the defunct base.

City leaders eager to move forward with plans to revitalize Alameda Point are pinning their hopes on new legislation that could allow them to use future property tax dollars to pay for roads, schools and other new public facilities at the Point and other defunct military bases.

A bill from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would allow California base reuse authorities to set up special infrastructure financing districts to rejuvenate shuttered bases. It’s one of a host of bills aimed at restoring locals’ ability to redevelop blighted properties and to use future property tax money to pay for affordable housing following the demise of the state’s redevelopment programs.