Oakland’s recycling company unveiled their design for their new state -of-the art facility at the North Gateway district of the former Oakland army base at a community meeting in West Oakland on Monday.
Waste Solutions (CWS) told an audience of nearly 50 community members that they have been diligently working with the City of Oakland to relocate their current West Oakland facilities to the Oakland Army Base’s since 2012.
“We are growing. We want to move,” said David Duong, CEO of CWS. “We made a deposit of $600,000 in 2012 (on the North Gateway property). But guess what? We are still here today. We still want to move. We know that if we move people will have a better life.”
“We recognize that it is not desirable for us to be in a budding neighborhood,” said Tasion Kwamilele, director of community engagement for CWS. “We hear you and we are doing everything we can to move. It is a two-way process with the city.”
When CWS located their facilities in the Lower Bottoms district of West Oakland in 1991, it was a predominately industrial area. Today, Lower Bottoms has become a residential neighborhood.
“We want you to know that we are not moving just to do what we are now doing. We are investing millions of dollars to make a state-of-the-art facility that the people of Oakland and ourselves will be proud of,” Duong said.
The new facility will feature a fully enclosed 170,000-square-foot gold LEED certified building, with solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations and a bioswale, a landscaping feature that removes sediment from surface runoff water.
The City Council voted to enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with CWS in July 2018 and executed the agreement in December 2018.
The timeline for completing the requirements for the ENA and entering into a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA), which will allow CWS to purchase the land, and begin the intricate process of finalizing their design and obtaining building permits.
“There are a few things administratively before putting a shovel in the ground,” said Pat McGowan from the Oakland Planning and Building Department.
If all goes according to plan, CWS should be ready to begin construction in late 2020. The building should be completed within three years.
The move will help CWS and Oakland become leaders in the green economy. In addition to the LEED certified construction, the new facility will bring employment opportunities to residents. The company pledges to continue and expand their partnerships that organizations the increase employment for minorities.
“We are working very hard to making our move to the north gateway a reality,” Kwamilele said.