OMSS $25-Million Army Base Development Will Hire 300 Local Workers

From left to right, Dianne Millner, Jai Jennifer, Nishant Sharma, Bill Aboudi, City Administrator Henry Gardner, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, Dexter Vizinau, George McDaniel, Len Turner, Ken Houston, and John Monetta at Oakland City Hall after signing the 55-year lease for Aboudi's 17-acre army base development. Photo courtesy of Nishant Sharma's Facebook

From left to right, Dianne Millner, Jai Jennifer, Nishant Sharma, Bill Aboudi, City Administrator Henry Gardner, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, Dexter Vizinau, George McDaniel, Len Turner, Ken Houston, and John Monetta at Oakland City Hall after signing the 55-year lease for Aboudi's 17-acre army base development. Photo courtesy of Nishant Sharma's Facebook

In its marathon negotiations with the city, Oakland Maritime Support Services (OMSS) owned by Bill Aboudi has faced countless obstacles over many years, even after the City Council approved an agreement.

But this week, Aboudi finally signed a 55-year lease with the City of Oakland to develop 17 acres of land on the Oakland Army Base to provide truck parking, related trucking services and jobs to local residents.

This victory means much more than a 24-hour a day service for truckers traveling through the Port, providing parking space other than West Oakland neighborhoods for polluting big rigs.

The OMSS development means construction jobs for Oakland workers and a place for dozens of small businesses to operate and provide for their families.

This Army Base Development will provide 300 permanent and construction jobs for Oakland residents and pledges to invest in the minority community. Expected to start in 2015, the project is an OMSS partnership with Turner Group Construction and other local and minority firms.

The 17-acre facility will be a model for ports all over the country, said Dexter Vizinau, a consultant for OMSS who has been working on this deal with the city for seven years.

“It’s important that African American businesses in Oakland be able to take advantage of the opportunity the army base development means to the city and the community,” he said in a prepared statement.

“West Oakland must be less impacted by the activities of the port, and we will do our part to ensure the trucking community stays out of the neighborhoods,” he continued.

A critical environmental benefit in the project is that the city has granted OMSS the exclusive right to sell truck fuel on the Army Base for 10 years, designed to encourage trucks to buy gas on the base rather than driving into neighborhoods for fuel. OMSS has agreed to donate a portion of these sales to local nonprofits.

Vizinau acknowledged Councilmembers Lynette McElhaney, Larry Reid, Desley Brooks and Rebecca Kaplan for their support of the project, calling McElhaney “our champion against tremendous odds.”

“There have been so many challenges getting (the contract) over the hurdles,” said McElhaney. “I have continued to push for Bill Aboudi to get what he needs, to make sure his contract mirrored the same kind of considerations we have given to Master Developer Phil Tagami. Fair is fair.”

“I’m confident of Bill’s commitment to hire Oakland. To turn local opportunities into jobs,” she said.

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