Mercury News - October 22, 2012, By Peter Hegarty
ALAMEDA -- The California State Lands Commission has approved a land exchange with the city that Alameda officials are hailing as a "milestone" in the redevelopment of the former U.S. Navy base since it will pave the way for creating a public trust for property along the waterfront.
Along with placing tidelands and wetlands into the trust -- a first step toward opening up the shoreline for paths and open space -- the agreement turns over interior land at the former base to the city, a key step for redeveloping the site now known as Alameda Point.
The commission's approval on Friday follows California lawmakers enacting legislation in 2000 that authorized the exchange.
"We are thrilled that after 12 years the city and state of California were able to finalize such an important agreement," Mayor Marie Gilmore said. "The agreement paves the way for public enjoyment of some of the city's most spectacular waterfront areas and for employment centers and other types of development on the interior parts of Alameda Point."
Jennifer Ott, the city's chief operating officer for the former base, said the agreement is the most important redevelopment step since the Navy agreed to drop the $108 million price tag for the property and convey it at no cost to the city. That deal was announced in September last year.
The public trust also allows the tidelands and submerged lands off Alameda Point to be developed for maritime use, as well as for habitat preservation and scientific study.
Alameda officials expect that the initial closing of the exchange under the agreement will occur within six months of the city receiving the first phase of land from the Navy, which in turn is anticipated early next year.
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