In what Alameda officials say will help jump-start the redevelopment of Alameda Point, the U.S. Navy has agreed to drop the $108 million price tag for the property and convey it at no cost to the city.

The Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority, the body under which the City Council meets to oversee the former Alameda Naval Air Station, is expected to approve the deal on Wednesday.

City Manager John Russo called the deal "unconditionally good news."

"There's not a hint of bad news about it," Russo said.

While the Navy has agreed to a no-cost conveyance for the 918-acre site -- which roughly makes up about one-third of the Island -- it still wants the city to provide $50,000 for each housing unit that may be built on the site if more than 1,400 units are constructed.

The Navy, which closed the base 14 years ago, will remain responsible for environmental cleanup.

The transfer of the first parcel of about 140 acres is expected to take place in June. The entire former base will be transferred to the city by the end of next year.

"This is a watershed moment -- now we can make Alameda Point an economic engine for the city once again," Mayor Marie Gilmore said in a statement. "After 14 years of talk, the city will soon realize significant benefits from new business activity at Alameda Point, which will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenues."


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Alameda and Navy officials worked out the agreement while negotiating a no-cost conveyance plan for the 50 acres at the former base that the city has proposed for the second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Russo said.

Alameda is one of six local sites on the shortlist for the new Lawrence campus, and lab officials are expected to announce their selection in November.

The site proposed for the lab is part of the first area that will be transferred by the Navy to the city.

Russo said he thought the years that local officials have spent trying to redevelop the former base, plus having figures in the Obama administration who were willing to make a deal, helped push a conveyance agreement forward.

"I think they had fatigue, just like Alameda did," he said.

The passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010, which included provisions related to economic development conveyances, also played a part, according to Alameda officials.

The city lost about 14,000 military and civilian jobs when the former Navy base closed in 1997. The area is now called Alameda Point.

Alameda officials believe up to 9,000 permanent jobs will be created and millions of dollars in local and state tax revenues will be generated as the former base is redeveloped for commercial and residential uses.

The announcement of the conveyance deal follows federal authorities awarding the city $225,000 to prepare an economic development strategy for the former Navy base. The goal is for the city to find ways to identify and attract new businesses to the property.

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