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OAKLAND-The U.S. Army has agreed to hand over the Oakland Army Base to the City of Oakland at no cost, according to city officials, which plan to redevelop the property to include new waterfront facilities and a signature “gateway” entrance to the city.

The city’s application for the property transfer was submitted under a no-cost economic development conveyance law. The law, which expired this year, allowed recipients of former bases to direct resources into the development rather than purchase of the land.

“After marathon discussions we are now in a position to complete the toxic clean-up and prepare the base for maritime and commercial use,” said Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown in a prepared statement. Aliza Gallo, executive director of the Oakland Base Reuse Authority Aliza Gallo says the mayor and City Council “are interested in showcasing the waterfront and increasing public access, including a shoreline route for bikes and pedestrians.”

According to the city, the 200-acre distribution facility will be transformed into a business and technology park, targeted to high tech and biotech, research and development, job training, corporate office, warehouse and distribution, and light industrial. Located on the Oakland waterfront in Alameda County, the site is minutes away from downtown Oakland and San Francisco. It is estimated the new developments will create more than 8,000 jobs for the Bay Area.

A large part of the redevelopment will include the use of a $2.4 million federal grant to design and engineer a new infrastructure. In addition, Oakland will perform an environmental cleanup with $13 million in funding from the Army. “Our remediation action plan allowed conveyance of the property to the city sooner, saved the army a lot of money and provided a model for other remediation programs.” Gallo says.

The Oakland Base Reuse Authority began a successful lease program on the base after it was closed in 1999. Approximately 70 tenants now occupy three million square feet of space.

The complete package of documents transferring ownership will be ready for Gov. Gray Davis’ approval by the end of the year. A transfer of the deed is expected next spring.

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