Ground broken on Alameda Point project

Alameda city leaders broke ground on a billion-dollar development Wednesday on what was once a Navy base. It's called Alameda Point.

"We are solving a lot of important problems with this project," said Alameda Vice-Mayor Malia Vella.
Since the Navy left in 1997, the 68-acre lot has been vacant.

But under the plan a new community will spring up with 800 homes and apartments. About a quarter of them will be designated as affordable, ranging from $500 to about $2,000 a month, and some homes will go to teachers.

"Where teachers are struggling to stay in these communities, we want teachers to stay here and work here," said Vella.  

The project is also looking to attract a high tech campus, restaurants and other businesses, creating perhaps 5,000 or more jobs here.

"The city lost a lot of jobs when the Navy left. We have a great opportunity to create space for jobs. We can do it here far more cost effectively than in San Francisco or on the peninsula.

With more people coming in there is concern about excessive traffic. But built into the project is a new ferry terminal, plus buses are expected to run every 15 minutes to a BART station.

"Our whole focus is to reduce the reliance on vehicles. We will have shuttle services that will be connecting to BART," said residential developer Bruce Dorfman.

The developer also says that unlike the Hunters Point Shipyard development, there is little reason for concern about toxic chemicals in the soil.

"We are doing a lot of testing of the soil. Everything is looking good," he said.

With construction now about to go into full swing, Dorfman says people could start moving in here in about two years.