|From:||Lenny Siegel <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||21 Mar 2005 20:58:34 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Mare Island as a email@example.com|
In Vallejo, a Lesson in Converting El Toro|
Bay Area city's experience with its naval shipyard is instructive for Orange County, where the same developer is doing the makeover.
By Jean O. Pasco Los Angeles Times March 21, 2005
VALLEJO, Calif. — There's a lesson here amid the rusting cranes and vacant warehouses of Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the 152-year-old military base that once dominated this bay-front Northern California city: Nothing happens fast on a closed Navy base.
It's a lesson that Irvine, some 400 miles south, will learn as it begins development of the former El Toro Marine base, anchored in the heart of Orange County.
"You have to have a lot of patience, and you have to have a good plan and stick to it, within reason," said Councilman Gary Cloutier, a San Francisco attorney who moved to Vallejo eight years ago seeking refuge from the Bay Area bustle.
His restored 1898 Victorian mansion sits atop a knoll overlooking the shipyard, which was closed in 1996. From his back patio, he has a perfect view across the narrow strait as the setting sun illuminates a junked warehouse, glinting from rows of grimy windows. Crews built submarines in the massive structure, just one more job in the life of a base that began in 1854 with horses and cannons and ended its days handling nuclear subs and warheads.
The 5,223 acres of former Navy property is owned by Lennar Mare Island, a subsidiary of Lennar Corp., chosen by Vallejo in 1997 as the site's master developer. In 2002, Lennar took title to 650 acres on the island, where it says it will build homes, shops, restaurants and businesses. The company got the land free but promised to invest $260 million in streets and utilities, historic preservation and building renovation.
The project is a striking parallel to Lennar's interests to the south: the mothballed 3,718-acre former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, which the developer won at auction in February for $649.5 million. Like Mare Island, El Toro is an enormous piece of land riddled with contamination but holding great potential.
For the entire article, see http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-vallejo21mar21,1,7475748.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true -- Lenny Siegel Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041 Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545 Fax: 650/961-8918 http://www.cpeo.org
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