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New Businesses, Homes Land in Alameda, Thanks to DTSC

Piece by piece, the western edge of Alameda County is being reshaped. The region lost thousands of jobs when the U.S. Navy shipped out in the 1990s.  Decades later, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is helping transform thousands of acres along the waterfront and elsewhere into homes and businesses.

In Alameda, construction workers are busily building houses at a former Naval Supply Center. They are transforming the property into the 72-acre Alameda Landing – a mixture of homes and businesses.

Sixty percent of the shopping center is occupied or soon will be. Target, Michael’s Arts and Crafts, and Safeway are among the retailers that set down in the Catellus-developed revitalization project. Combined, these businesses have an estimated 600 full- and part-time employees. An additional 150 to 200 jobs are expected when Alameda Landing is fully leased. 

The DTSC-supervised makeover of the former Naval Supply Center property is leading to new jobs and tax revenue. Residents are thrilled to have the new shopping opportunities – “This is the first Target store on the island,” said Debbie Potter, base reuse and community development manager at the city of Alameda. “It is very convenient.”

The city’s tax consultants estimate Alameda Landing, when filled out, will generate between $900,000 and $950,000 in local sales tax annually.

The conversion of the former Naval Supply Center into Alameda Landing isn’t isolated; it’s part of a mammoth makeover of a waterfront that suffered a huge hit when the US Navy weighed anchor – taking thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of revenue with it.

LEFT: Target is among the retailers open in Alameda Landing.  RIGHT:  A Google Map image shows the boundary of the Alameda Landing development area.

Alameda County was home to several military sites until the base closures of the 1990s.  In the years since, DTSC has played key roles in the revitalization of several of those former military sites, including the Alameda Naval Air Station, which is near Alameda Landing; Oakland Army Base; Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo and others. People like Henry Wong, a DTSC project manager at Alameda Landing, have devoted much of their careers to cleaning up toxics at the former bases.

“We’re at the tail end of cleanup at Alameda Landing,” said Wong. “…In three to four years, all new homes and most commercial buildings will be completed.”

Alameda Landing is a separate, and much smaller, makeover than the former Alameda Naval Air Station that it once served – which is now known as Alameda Point.

The air station was closed in 1997, and DTSC helped oversee the removal of toxic substances. The city finally took ownership of about 1,400 acres in June 2013.  “Come to Alameda Point,” then-Mayor Marie Gilmore proclaimed at a ceremony sealing the transfer. City planners are gearing up for more than 1,400 homes, along with parks, shops and offices.

The stunning vistas are sure to be attractive to businesses. Tesla Motors co-founder Ian Wright said the good views and expansive industrial space enticed him to announce in January that another of his businesses, Wrightspeed,  would move from San Jose to Hangar 41 at Alameda Point. Wrightspeed makes electric powertrains for delivery and garbage trucks.

Eventually, Alameda Point, Alameda Landing, and other DTSC-supervised cleanups will bring thousands of housing units and millions of square feet of businesses – along with land that has been cleaned of a toxic legacy – to the Bay Area.

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