The Seaport Logistics Complex Story
A long-held vision to revitalize this city’s decommissioned Army Base is becoming a reality at the Port of Oakland. The Port in partnership with CenterPoint Properties is developing a logistics complex at the former base. The development caps15 years of planning for the most-anticipated Port growth project ever. Port officials said the agreement includes an unprecedented commitment to hire local workers.
The Board of Port Commissioners approved a development agreement with CenterPoint in November 2017. The deal became official in January 2018. A building construction permit was approved in July 2019, and the long-awaited Seaport Logistics Complex is scheduled to be completed September 2020.
The agreement called for industrial real estate giant CenterPoint to develop a $52 million logistics facility on Port property that once served as an Army supply depot. This was the result of negotiation between CenterPoint, the Port, and Revive Oakland and Oakland Works, a broad coalition of more than 30 community organizations.
The project is the first phase of a Seaport Logistics Complex that will eventually encompass nearly 180 acres. The vision for the Complex: modern distribution centers, including a railyard, close by marine terminals in the heart of the Port. Port officials said no other U.S. port has the land capacity to duplicate Oakland’s marriage of transportation and logistics capabilities.
Work on CenterPoint’s 440,000-square-foot building began in 2018. Port officials said the building would be the largest distribution facility at any U.S. West Coast Port.
“We’re pleased to take part in an important growth project for California’s economy,” says CenterPoint Chief Development Officer Michael Murphy. “The Port of Oakland has a thoughtful vision for the future and with this agreement we can help them bring it to life and provide jobs that give people dignity and allow them to stay in Oakland.”
Central to the deal has been the Revive Oakland and Oakland Work Coalition’s collaboration with the Port of Oakland and CenterPoint to develop a groundbreaking jobs policy. The policy is envisioned as an economic driver and job generator. Among the stipulations:
- Preferences for hiring local residents, particularly those in neighborhoods nearest the Port;
- Special consideration for disadvantaged residents including the chronically unemployed, single parents, formerly incarcerated and military veterans;
- Funding for a local, community-based workforce development partner, the West Oakland Job Resource Center, to train work force candidates and provide the opportunity to refer job applicants.
The Port says that the facility could create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs in Oakland. “As the Port of Oakland grows, we also ensure that our neighboring communities benefit from our success,” says Port Social Responsibility Director Amy Tharpe. “Giving local residents from all backgrounds access to good, family-sustaining jobs is central to this project.”
The Army decommissioned its Oakland base in the late 1990s. Since then, planners have envisioned a logistics campus that could further strengthen Oakland’s role as a global trade gateway. The Port received about 240 acres of the property between 2003 and 2007. The city of Oakland received a similar parcel.
The Seaport Logistics Complex will be located off Maritime Street near Oakland’s Outer Harbor. The Port initiated development there in 2016 with the opening of a $100 million railyard.
Under terms of its deal with the Port, CenterPoint Properties would construct and manage the first building at the Complex. Tenants would likely include companies requiring transloading. That’s the process of transferring cargo between trucks, trains and vessels for shipment. Transloading is common near West Coast ports, Port officials said. But Oakland would become one of the few ports able to perform the task within its boundaries.
The Port will provide the most efficient and most cost-effective means of delivering cargo. That will be a major driver of growth in the years ahead.