We have developed a better revitalization plan for Alameda Point that is focused on green technology job creation instead of simply building houses for private profit with a taxpayer bailout a la SunCal. Click here to see a summary of our revitalization plan for Alameda Point. (Also see this whitepaper by our predecessor organization.)
Our plan focuses on job creation and business at Alameda Point, not building thousands of homes that will create overcrowding and traffic congestion. According to the City of Alameda’s Housing Element, some 70% of Alameda residents leave the island each day to go to work. We need jobs in Alameda, not more housing!
As of February, 2014, City of Alameda Planning Staff have finally caught up to what we have been saying for years – that across the city, we have too few jobs, and too many residential units. Anybody can see that during morning commute hours. According to this Planning Staff Presentation Alameda has a 0.71 Jobs to Housing ratio – only 24,070 jobs for 37,799 employed residents. We need more businesses in Alameda, not more housing!
And we don’t just mean retail businesses either, but businesses that create value in the production chain and generate business-to-business sales tax. Relying on retail stores to generate retail sales tax for Alameda is pure folly. Alameda has roughly 75,000 people who collectively spend about $500 million per year in discretionary spending, generating about $5 million per year for the City of Alameda in sales tax revenue.
Focusing on retail sales tax means that we need to add about 15,000 people, or roughly 6,200 homes, to Alameda, for every additional $1 million in retail sales tax revenue. The majority of Alameda residents don’t support adding that many homes, that many people and the accompanying traffic congestion to our city.
On the other hand, by bringing more businesses to Alameda that generate business-to-business sales tax revenue, by adding value to production processes, we can increase revenue for the City of Alameda without adding to housing and traffic congestion. The City of Alameda needs a plan to attract these sort of businesses to Alameda Point, instead of just trying to build more big-box stores.
City officials like to point at the retail sales tax generated by Emeryville, but Alameda simply does not have the same favorable conditions as Emeryville. For starters, Emeryville has a small population (under 15,000 people) and relies on shoppers from nearby Oakland and Berkeley. Further, Emeryville is located at a critical freeway interchange, which is a prerequisite for driving large volumes of shoppers into vast shopping plazas. Studies show that highway access is vital for high-volume retailers. Alameda is not similarly situated.
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