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City Council Approves Village Marketplace

Downtown development now must be reviewed by a new oversight board.

 

After three years of planning, the moved closer to construction Monday night when the City Council voted unanimously to sell a parcel of land on East 14th Street for the city paid for it.

The project faces another hurdle before developer David Irmer can break ground on the retail plaza that would be anchored by a Fresh & Easy Market: the decision must be ratified by a new board that oversees how cities dispose of properties that they acquired through their redevelopment agencies.

The state has . The new oversight board has seven members: two appointed by the city, and the other five appointed by the county, the school board, AC Transit and the community colleges.

The oversight board meets Wednesday.

Council members agreed with city staff that selling the parcel for $2.25 million, or $4 million less than its acquisition cost, would be recouped by increased sales and property taxes, the boost that the project will give the downtown and the 500 construction and 113 permanent jobs that it will create.

"How do we convince the oversight board that it's beneficial to them," Council Jim Prola asked.

City business development officer Cynthia Battenberg said the county, the school board, the transit district and school board would also benefit from sales taxes of $750,000 a year and property taxes of $100,000 per year that the project is expected to generate.

Audrey Velasquez from the Downtown San Leandro Association and Gaye Quinn from the Chamber of Commerce endorsed the project.

Community member Deborah Cox spoke in favor of the marketplace on her own behalf.

School board member Mike Katz-Lacabe did not support or oppose the project but argued that the planning process had never really given community members a voice until it was a done deal.

City Manager Chris Zapata told the council that approval or denial would be taken as a sign.

"What message are you sending to the business community," he asked.

In the end the vote was enthusiatic and unanimous.

Irmer said if the oversight board okayed the project and there were no further obstacles, he would break ground in November, make an efort to use local labor, pay prevailing wage and be ready for occupancy about September 2013.

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Leah Hall May 22, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Marga and Jason, tried talking with some of them in person?. I did a few months ago and it didn't seem like the ones I talked with were familiar with the project. They thought it was a mixed-use project, which it was in an earlier and now shelved plan. I guess they don't read Patch.
Fran May 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I agree, it's creepy to say the least. I wonder if she a supporter of the Marina Development also.
tony santos May 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM
NOT A GOOD MOVE; BUSINESS COMMUNITY ALWAYS LOOKING FOR A HAND OUT AND THEY GOT IT HERE. PART OF THIS MY FAULT; THIS IS NOT A GOOD DEAL FOR CITY. PERIOD!
Justin Agrella May 22, 2012 at 11:34 PM
There must be something completely wrong here. I almost agree with you---especially the last half.
tony santos May 23, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Justin, actually good hearing from you. Agreed, this is not a good idea for City. Tony

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