$245 Million in State Funds at Stake in Army Base Evictions

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor The beginning stages of Oakland’s redevelopment of its portion of the old Army Base grew a little more confused last week when city officials filed an unlawful detainer legal action in Superior Court against Pacific Coast Container (PCC) Logistics to make sure the company is off the base property in time for construction to begin later this year. The massive Army Base redevelopment project stands to lose $242 million in state matching funds if all of the property is not cleared of existing businesses by the fall. The Oakland City Administrator’s office set a March 31 deadline for the first group of businesses to leave in order to give time to pursue legal action if the deadline was not met. The unlawful detainer action was filed against PCC Logistics after company officials refused to sign an agreement that would have ended its Army Base lease on March 31. City of Oakland Real Estate Agent John Monetta told members of the Oakland City Council’s Community And Economic Development Committee last week that PCC is the lone remaining problem for the March 31 evictions date, which is removing businesses from the East Gateway section of the property. The Oakland Film Center and Impact Transportation have signed off on the March 31 date, and Monetta said that the city has “a deal in principle” for that date with Urban Recycling Solutions. The business removal of the Army Base property is being done in stages. Another round of business removal is scheduled for later this spring. PCC officials say they are not challenging the city over leaving the Army Base property. The company has been in negotiations with the Port of Oakland for several weeks to temporarily relocate to the port portion of the old Army Base property while the City of Oakland portion is being redeveloped. However, both PCC and Port of Oakland officials told members of the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee last week that they do not believe it will be possible to have the Port facilities ready for PCC to move into by the March 31 deadline. Port of Oakland Government Affairs Manager Matt Davis told CEDA Committee members that the holdup on the PCC relocation is the removal of the foundation next to the building where PCC is scheduled to move. “Speaking honestly, I don’t see a scenario where that can be done by March 31,” Davis said. “Hopefully we can have a date certain for you within the next two weeks.” Because PCC business activities are directly tied to Port of Oakland operations, PCC officials say they cannot leave the City of Oakland portion of the Army Base property unless they have someplace to relocate to on Port property or immediately adjacent to it. PCC currently employs more than 400 workers on the old Army Base property. Following the filing of the unlawful detainer action, PCC officials said they would sign the March 31 removal agreement, even though they are still convinced they will not be able to move into the Port portion of the Army Base property by that date. Meanwhile, officials with the Oakland City Attorney’s office said they cannot simply “unfile” the unlawful detainer action against the company once agreement is met with PCC for leaving the Base property, and are studying how the legal action can be properly settled.
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