The proposed Village Marketplace project got an unofficial nod when the City Council met Monday night.
Redevelopment official Cynthia Battenberg repeated an estimate that the city would lose about $3 million on the project.
That's the difference between the $6 million the city paid for the old Albertson's property on the 1500 block of East 14th Street and the $3 million it is thought to be valued at today.
But council members accepted Battenberg's view that the retail development and plaza would repay that investment by giving downtown a boost.
The briefing was meant to assure developer David Irmer that the city had no significant objections to the project before he and redevelopment staff iron out details like how much he should pay the city for the 1.7 acre parcel.
Council members by and large praised the project. The only mildly discordant note came from Councilman Jim Prola.
Although he supported the project overall, he questioned the labor policies of Fresh & Easy, the grocery chain that would be the development's anchor tenant.
"What would happen if the store tried to organize," Prola asked, saying he intended to follow up with company officials.
San Leandro police sent to Oakland
Prola also asked a pointed question when Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli reported on the two times to help police the Occupy Oakland protests.
Spagnoli said the first time was on the morning of Oct. 25, when Oakland officials evicted campers from Frank Ogawa Plaza.
The second time was the the night of Nov. 2, when San Leandro police helped quell the violence that erupted after a peaceful, day-long general strike.
Spagnoli said she acted under a mutual aid agreement that allows her to decide whether the city can afford to help to another jurisdiction in an emergency.
She said the two deployments cost about $20,000.
Prola expressed relief that it hadn't cost more but questioned the rationale for the first deployment.
"What is the emergency on the 25th with people sleeping," Prola asked.
Spagnoli said there were public health issues with the encampment. She said Oakland officials had requested aid because they knew breaking it up would cause civil unrest.
Prola went on to criticize the behavior of Oakland police during the Occupy protests and during labor actions in the past.
In the only public comment on Spagnoli's presentation, Mike Katz-Lacabe, a school board member and political activist, said the mutual aid process left all the decisions up to law enforcement officials.
He said there needs to be more civilian control of police departments.