By STEVEN TAVARES
The San Leandro City Council approved construction of the Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center Monday night–the largest construction project in the city’s history.
San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos labeled the vote historic and called it “the largest creation of jobs by council action in the history of San Leandro.”
The 436,000-square-foot, 6-story complex will generate 2,000 permanent and 3,000 construction jobs, according to City Manager Stephen Hollister.
With the fate of the emergency room at San Leandro Hospital in doubt, the approval of the Kaiser project guarantees at least one ER facility in the city past 2014, said Santos.
Kaiser first approached the city about the site abutting Interstate 880 down to Merced Street in late 2005 after purchasing the former Albertson’s property. Nearly five years of labor culminated in Monday night’s approval of the environmental impact report and rezoning of the property for the medical center and adjacent 275,000-square-foot retail area. Representatives from Bayfair Center told the council the retail portion of the project greatly diminishes the mall’s ability to prosper.
Cedric Young, vice president of development for Bayfair said the proposed big box shopping center “is unnecessary and unwarranted by the market at this time, nor time sensitive.” Young said the mall’s owner have spent over $90 million in improvements since purchasing Bayfair in 2003 and claim potentially lucrative companies have already declined overtures from the mall in advance of opening shop at the new Kaiser site.
According to a consultant representing Bayfair, the mall’s owners fear Macy’s may be one of its existing tenants jumping ship for the new shopping center. Macy’s lease ends in 2012. Bayfair also says Best Buy declined an offer and communicated a desire to possibly add a store near Kaiser.
Representatives for the owners of the former foundry next to the Kaiser property also voiced concern with outlying areas of the project including a dispute over traffic congestion on Merced Street. The foundry’s owners, PH Holdings, says the size of the Kaiser project warrants two left hand turns heading southbound on Merced into the hospital.
City officials close to the Kaiser deal believe PH Holdings interests may be self-serving, though. It has attempted to shop the property to Kaiser for far more than market value, said an official. A San Leandro resident and attorney for Kaiser said, “What they really want is money. They want $2.5 million for that strip of land and they will go home,” said Arturo Gonzalez.
- Alameda County Fire Department, Kaiser, Sutter Health (for rebuild of Eden Medical Center) will pay $656,000 towards the purchase of heavy rescue firefighting equipment.
- Kaiser will not protest should the city establish an assessment district for street maintenance.
- Kaiser paid $5.1 million in advance for their portion of improvements to the Interstate 880/Marina Boulevard interchange project.
- Will fund Community Impact fund of $3.1 million to the city, $1.6 million of that set aside for street improvement fees
- Despite reports, Kaiser pays property tax on site until occupancy, scheduled for sometime in 2014.
- Retail portion of project put on hold until the economy improves, possibly in 2-3 years.
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This is great, people should be happy that even with the big construction, jobs are still available.
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I hope this construction project will result to better opportunities for the people.
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I shop online a lot. Thank God for UPS.
Kaiser is a not for profit HMO serving its members, nearly half the population in the East Bay are members. I love Kaiser, am a member and welcome it to SL!
Lots of San Leandrans shop at “Bayfair”, we just don't go into the mall, we shop at the “big boxes” on the exterior! Target is always packed and the Bayfair Target is a very good Target. The mall itself, needs to be torn down and opened up.
This nonsense concerning Kaiser and Sutter is getting old. Let these businesses alone for crying out loud.
Sally, Kaiser does not think their ER is to serve the community at large. It wants its own only. That's how Kaiser works. They cannot refuse to serve you if you walk in sick because it is the state law. Ambulance will not take you to Kaiser if you're not insured by Kaiser, it'll bring you to SLH or Eden. It also works the other way around, you end up in Kaiser if you're a Kaiserite.
Keep your prayers up–for the judge who is to decide sometime this year the merit of Eden Township/SLH case agaist Sutter that it is in SLH favor.
San Leandrans dont shop at Bayfair; they are afraid of being thugged. Especially seniors (me)
I worry that Kaiser thinks that they will have an emergency room that will serve the community. Only San Leandro Hospital emergency room is open to non-Kaiser patients. I had a heart attack and was saved (thank you!) by San Leandro Hospital emergency doctors and nurses. Let's not lose sight of the battle. I pray that we keep our San Leandro Hospital open to save my life or my neighbor's life.
What is this about Kaiser not paying property taxes?
It's both. Screw Luke Sims. Luke Sims wouldn't know how to run a sucessful business if he came up and bit him on the @$$. He's a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Not sure if its just residents, city officials or both. Luke Sims said he didn't support outdoor dining in downtown San Leandro; even though it seems to be successful in South Shore in Alameda–which is a lot colder because it's by the water. Guess he had never heard of heating lamps. Seems like the city tries to prevent business expansion and improvement at every opportunity.
This is the problem with BayFair….nosy big mouths in this city. Bay Fair was going to be gutted and opened up into an open air shopping center like what happened at South Shore in Alameda and Dublin Crossings, but the same loud mouthed jackasses in this town moaned and groaned about how “cold” it is here. These are the same ignorant slobs who all too willingly serve as the useful idiots to the City Council. The same dips from Estudillo Estates who were against Grocery Outlet, Popeye's Chicken and any other business that wants to invest in this town.
This is great news on Kaiser…and the retail component too. Bayfair owners needs to stop whining and put out thew $$$ to totally gut the inside and ad more Big Boxes, Macy's needs to upgrade or move. Frank is right about the interior of the mall, it is just thug stuff, no reason to venture inside and Macy's is catering to a very limited clientele that will never support better businesses nor will it attract middle class families (perfect location to do so too, 580 corridor of Oakland, Oakland Hills, Castro Valley are so close)and others will not go there due to the condition and selection of the store, most of Bayfair clientele just shop at Target, Kohl's and the stores on that side.
I would like to remind everyone that the “fate of San Leandro Hospital in doubt” is not. The Eden District is proceeding with the conflict of interest lawsuit against Sutter and it will prevail. SLH is here to stay. Also, Kaiser ER is for Kaiserites. While Kaiser has to take whatever ER traffic it incurs it prefers to treat their own only and it would divert ambulances to other places as per norm. It would be helpful only during disasters. Let us keep up the pressure on Sutter to keep SLH online.
There is absolutely no reason to walk inside of Bayfair. None!
First of all, I'm amazed that the city council and Joyce Starosciak, in particular, didn't try to stop this–as they usually try to stop anything beneficial for San Leandro, while only allowing development to the detriment of San Leandro.
Bayfair Mall thinks new retail near the hospital will impede the prosperity of its merchants? Let me tell them what's stopping the mall's progress–it's all of the gang member clothing and sneaker stores in the mall, including those that sell “Stop Snitchin'” tshirts that attract the thug element, which scares families away to Hayward and Pleasanton. End the leases of these places, and get a Children's Place, Gap, and Baby Gap; and have Macy's start carrying business suits instead of the latest rapper du jour's clothing line; and this mall will instantly improve. When they stop catering to thugs, and start catering to working people, they'll see a big difference.