By J. Douglas
Are some members of Oakland City Council becoming disenchanted with Phil Tagami’s development of the Oakland Army Base? At least one veteran Councilmember gave that indication at a meeting of Council’s Community & Economic Development Committee this week.
“I’ve never been a fan of this whole process,” committee chair Larry Reid said, referring to the handling of the removal of several existing businesses on the old Army Base property to make way for the new development.
“I’m really disappointed in the way we’ve treated these businesses. I don’t like the way CC&G [Tagami’s California Capital & Investment Group] has handled this process. I’ve supported them, but I’ll tell you, going forward, you guys ought not to expect a vote from me regarding their efforts on the Oakland Army Base. I will abstain from any future voting because I do not like how they have disrespected the businesses that are out there on that piece of dirt.”
Tagami’s Oakland-based CC&G development company is the general contractor for Oakland’s multi-million dollar development of the old Army Base property. In addition, Tagami serves as an agent for the City of Oakland in the Army Base project.
The first stages of development of the City of Oakland’s portion of the 1,800 acre Army Base site is scheduled to begin sometime this fall. But standing in the way are several businesses on the property, including the Pacific Coast Container and Oakland Maritime Support Services, both of which supply support for Port of Oakland activities, the Oakland Film Center, and Urban Recycling.
All of the businesses have been on short-term city leases on the base property at least since 2006, and city officials are now seeking to get them to sign agreements for a May 31 deadline to vacate the property.
Oakland stands to lose $174 million in federal funds if the city does not have complete control of the army base property by October 1, and city administration officials have set an earlier vacating deadline for the businesses in the event court eviction action is necessary.
None of the Army Base businesses have indicated that they are interested in fighting the evictions, and all are trying to find new sites within Oakland to relocate. City of Oakland Real Estate Agent John Monetta told Council CEDA committee members this week that he is “optimistic” that the vacating agreements will be signed and the businesses will be gone by May 31.
However, none of the four companies have yet reached agreement with the city over the terms of leaving, although representatives of the Oakland Film Center indicated that only a few minor provisions stand in the way of their signing.
“Our intention is 100% to be out by [May] 31st,” said Tim Ranahan of Ranahan Production Services, a Film Center tenant.
But other companies are less satisfied with their removal.
Oakland business leader Dexter Vizinau, who represents PCC Logistics, one of the Army Base businesses, said that while PCC is “one of the reasons why we are now developing the Army Base for logistics,” the company is now “being kicked out with nowhere to go, and they’re doing the business that’s proposed to be done” in the new Army Base development.”
Saying that three-quarters of the export activity currently taking place at the Port of Oakland is handled through PCC. “I don’t think everybody understands the ramification” of PCC’s eviction, Vizinau added. “That’s going to have an impact on the Port.”
Saying that “the city and the port haven’t worked well together to come up with a transition plan” for the removal of the existing companies, Vizinau asked for a meeting of executive staff members from both the City and the Port, key City Councilmembers, Port of Oakland Commissioners, and Army Base Master Developer Phil Tagami, “to come up with a way for PCC to have an interim space at the port.”
Councilmember Reid said he would take the initiative to move forward on Vizinau’s suggestion.