ALAMEDA -- The city will save $12.5 million in infrastructure costs at Alameda Point when the Veterans Affairs Department builds a health clinic and columbarium, money that could be used to build a sports complex and pay for other redevelopment at the former U.S. Navy base, according to Alameda officials.
The savings are outlined in a nonbinding agreement between the city and the VA that will go before the City Council on Tuesday. The outpatient clinic will provide health care for at least 7,000 local veterans, and the columbarium could house the remains of up to 310,000 former service members. It would be a national cemetery.
The health clinic will also offer visitors a view of the San Francisco skyline, while the national cemetery will be located near a colony of the endangered California least tern, which nest at Alameda Point for about four months each year as they migrate along the West Coast. No date has been set for the groundbreaking.
The city will save $5.5 million in infrastructure costs when the VA constructs a roadway along West Redline Avenue and Lexington Street and installs water, gas and other utilities, according to a report by city Controller Fred Marsh and Jennifer Ott, Alameda Point's chief operating officer.
Additional savings will be made when the administration builds a roadway and utilities along the northern portion of the project, their report said. Other terms of the agreement that will go before the council call for the administration to provide a walking and bicycle trail when the California least terns are not breeding. The trail will link to portions of the Bay Trail.
After the base closed in 1997, the federal government proposed transferring 550 acres -- mostly former aircraft runways -- to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a wildlife refuge. But that deal fell through, which led the Navy to begin talks with the VA.
Some 115 acres are set aside for the clinic and columbarium under the current proposal, while 512 acres of the land the Navy will transfer will remain undeveloped and be reserved for the long-term preservation of the least terns.
AMERICA'S CUP: In other business Tuesday, the council will consider extending the lease of Artemis Racing, the sailing team competing in the America's Cup, for up to one year at 1050 West Tower Ave. at Alameda Point.
Along with a 110,561-square-foot building, the lease would allow the team to use 22,604 square feet of former aircraft taxiway and portions of the Seaplane Lagoon at the former base. The city has already entered into an agreement with the Navy for access to the lagoon.
The base monthly rent would be $23,400 between January and May 30, and $25,000 from June until the lease expires. If the team remains in Alameda and does not use the taxiway or lagoon, the rent would drop to $21,600 each month. Artemis Racing is the Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup and represents the Royal Swedish Yacht Club.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.
The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.