Port Commission Kills Tagami’s Army Base Ambitions
Sep 20, 2014
By Post Staff
Fresh developments have raised new concerns about the City of Oakland’s Army Base project, led by its master developer and project manager Phil Tagami.
The first blow came last Thursday when Tagami learned that he was not going to land a contract with the Port of Oakland to develop the port’s property at the Army Base.
The port decided not to go with Tagami because he could not bring money to the table, and the port is not in a position to take on debt, according to the Post’s sources.
The decision not to go ahead with the developer, who had an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the port, was made at a closed session meeting of the Oakland Port Commission.
The second blow was the failure of the city to secure a nearly $50 million U.S. Department of Transportation “TIGER Grant” to help finish the infrastructure project the city has hired Tagami to head on the city’s Army Base property.
At this point, the financial future of Tagami’s project is tied to the passage of Measure BB, the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s proposal that would raise between $100-$200 million for the project, according to estimates.
The sales tax measure, which would be on the November 2014 ballot, would fund $7.8 billion in road, freeway and transit projects. A similar measure failed in 2012, largely because it grants $400 million for a BART extension to Livermore, which would pay for one that one station to the rail line.
“Most of Tagami’s developments are predicated on his use of the city’s or the port’s money. He uses taxpayers’ monies for his salary, and then he develops corporate welfare strategies to self-enrich while ignoring the promises to hire Oakland residents,” said Post Publisher Paul Cobb. “By holding the city’s Army Base lot as ransom in the CWS trash dispute, he could pocket another $2 million while also seeking to be the developer of other downtown properties. All of this occurs dring his record of delinquincies in payments to the city.”
According to Tagami’s email newsletter, Measure BB would pay for “infrastructure upgrades, including roadway and truck route improvements” on the project.
“Without new funding, Alameda County will lose job opportunities, experience increased traffic on degraded streets and highways, suffer potential cuts on buses and BART and see more costly transportation services for youth, seniors and people with disabilities,” the newsletter said.
Neither Tagami nor Mayor Jean Quan responded to the Post’s questions about possible jeopardy to future funding for the city’s Army Base project.