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OAKLAND, CA-A partnership of Signature Properties and Reynolds and Brown is acquiring 60-acres of contaminated waterfront in the Oak to 9th District from the Port of Oakland for $18 million. The sale price of $18 million represents the property’s value ($34 million) minus an independent third-party’s estimated cost of cleanup.

The partnership, Oakland Harbor Partners, plans to clean up the former maritime industrial property and then master plan the property for thousands of units of housing and associated retail space. The Port’s Director of Commercial Real Estate Omar Benjamin says the actual development process will take several years and will begin when the partnership files an application with the City of Oakland for review of the project, which is expected this fall. The entitlement process alone is expected to take anywhere from 24 to 48 months, Signature Properties Principal Mike Ghielmetti tells GlobeSt.com.

The partnership was selected through a public and competitive process that began on March 15, 2001 with a request for qualifications. The company’s RFQ was one of two received. Port of Oakland’s Board of Commissioners selected OHP as the developer in September 2001; last week, they approved the sale of the property, which won’t occur until the partnership has the necessary entitlements in hand.

“Neither the City nor the Port had the financial resources to develop the site or to clean up the contaminants from prior use,” says Board President John Protopappas, adding that the endeavor will be the largest private development in decades to occur along Oakland’s waterfront. Port Executive Director Joe Wong adds that in addition to jobs, the project will ensure decontamination of the site and provide for improved public access to the waterfront–currently through Estuary Park or private property–by providing 20 acres of open space made accessible to the public by promenades.

The public review process of the planned development will begin when the application is filed with the Port. Regulatory agencies involved in the process will include the State Lands Commission, Regional Water Quality Board, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, State Fish and Game and the City Planning Commission.

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