San Leandro: Uncertainty after Monarch Bay developer misses deadline for project labor agreement

A development agreement  last month for Monarch Bay, a potentially game-changing waterfront housing and retail project at the San Leandro Marina, was contingent on the developer and local trade unions agreeing to a project labor agreement by the end of the business on Mar. 25.

San Leandro beatBut after more than a decade of fits and starts, including numerous modifications to the project, uncertainty over its future has returned.

The Mar. 25, 5 p.m. deadline came and went Wednesday without a signed project labor agreement in the city’s possession.

“This is a disappointing development to say the least,” San Leandro City Manager Jeff Kay wrote to the city council shortly after Wednesday’s deadline had passed. “By design, the Council resolution does not offer much flexibility. We will review options with the City Attorney and will provide ongoing updates to Council.”

While there was overwhelming council support for the project backed by Cal-Coast Companies LLC, several were concerned about the lack of a signed project labor agreement. To assuage their concerns, a 30-day deadline was added to the motion to approve the project’s Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA).

But negotiations between Miller and the building trades continued up until the last minute. San Leandro Economic Development Manager Katie Bowman met with the two parties as late as Wednesday afternoon, according to Kay. But no deal was signed prior to Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline. However, it was indicated an agreement in principal had been struck, but would not be signed until Friday.

“Over the past month, Katie spent significant time stressing the importance of this deadline to both Cal-Coast and the Building Trades,” Kay wrote.

At the Feb. 24 council meeting, Ed Miller, the president of Cal-Coast Companies, LLC, said he was 99 percent sure a PLA would be agreed upon. Andreas Cluver, secretary-treasurer for the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County, expressed similar sentiment the same night. “I don’t see any real major challenge in us reaching a consensus on this letter of intent,” Cluver said.

The Monarch Bay development includes up to 215 single-family homes, 285 market-rate rental units, a 200-room hotel, office space, and a rebuilt executive golf course. In addition, two restaurants are slated for the area, a 3,000 square-foot commercial building, and plans for doubling the size of the nearby Mulford Gardens public library.

It’s unclear what happens next. San Leandro city administrators had no power to extend the deadline, since it was a council action. San Leandro councilmembers do not meet again until April 3. It is possible they could vote to approve an extension of the deadline. But it is unlikely any of the parties would risk losing the project, especially in dire economic times like today where jobs may become scarce for construction workers.