AMB frontrunner for Oakland intermodal project
AMB Property Corp. and a local developer have tentatively beaten out two competitors for a long-term lease to operate an intermodal rail terminal at the Port of Oakland, according to the agenda for an upcoming board meeting posted on the port's Web site.
The 168-acre property owned by the port is part of the former Oakland Army Base.
The Maritime Committee, comprised of three port commissioners, on Thursday forwarded to the full board the staff's recommendation of AMB as the preferred bidder to redevelop and operate the dedicated rail facility under a concession of 30 years or more (AMB has proposed a 66-year lease). The project will include extensive environmental remediation before construction can begin.
The six-member port commission will vote at its July 21 meeting whether to authorize Executive Director Omar Benjamin to commence an exclusive six-month negotiating process with the AMB joint venture for a master lease agreement, preceded by a three-year option period governing the development process.
AMB Property, headquartered in San Francisco, is a global owner, operator and developer of industrial real estate catering to the logistics and freight transportation sectors. It is paired with Oakland-based commercial property developer California Capital Group, which has a 15 percent stake in the joint venture. The development team was also recently selected by a special committee to develop a $572 million logistics, office and transportation park adjacent to the rail hub on former Oakland Army Base property now owned by the city, according to the San Francisco Business Journal.
The Oakland City Council must still approve the deal.
The other bidders for the brownfield intermodal site were CenterPoint Properties, the Chicago-based logistics investment arm of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, and Ports America, the largest domestic stevedore and marine terminal operator with operations in 95 U.S. facilities, plus two inland intermodal terminals in Chile and Mexico.
In March, Ports America and an affiliate of Mediterranean Shipping Co. were awarded a 50-year concession on berths 20-24 in Oakland across the street from the proposed rail facility, and currently operated by APM Terminals. The port's goal is for a high-velocity marine terminal to primarily attract national cargo moving inland to the Midwest by rail in order to help improve air quality and reduce local truck traffic. Port officials are in discussions with BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific to serve the intermodal facility.
The AMB joint venture barely edged out CenterPoint based on scoring of financial, technical and operational factors, according to details provided in the maritime committee's agenda. Ports America came in a distant third. The board could opt not to authorize negotiations with AMB-CCG or to open talks with one of the rival bidders, but the fact that half the board already sits on the maritime committee increases the probability that AMB-CCG will win the right of first negotiation.
But the decision does not shut out Ports America from participating in the intermodal project. AMB-CCG, according to its proposal, will take the lead in developing the logistics facilities and Ports America will design and operate the rail facility. The two parties will therefore coordinate the development of the outer harbor berths, on-dock rail and the logistics facilities, which will include transload, cross-dock, bulk warehouse storage, truck terminals and outside storage areas.
'The greatest affect will be increased efficiencies, significant savings in the cost of cargo movement as well as substantial environmental advantages that reduce both energy consumption and carbon emissions,' the proposal said.
AMB-CCG said developer involvement in both the city and port projects will enable smoother negotiations on aspects such as shared infrastructure, environmental remediation and entitlements, enabling all parties to generate revenues sooner. ' Eric Kulisch