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Newest Container Port Proposal Fully Launched

I had the privilege yesterday of viewing a PowerPoint presentation on Richmondís newest container port proposal from three individuals organized as Richmond Port Renaissance:


  • Cathie Kosel is an educator, real estate professional and former mayor of El Cerrito.
  • Bryan Grunwald is a planner who was retained by the City of Richmond several years ago to draft a Shoreline Plan.
  • Larry Henry is founder and CEO of ContainerTrac, Inc.


This is the same plan I reported on Container Port Plan B, January 6, 2007. The plan is to fill in the Santa Fe Channel and create a 600+ acre container port in Richmond.


Essentially, the organization contends that despite projections to the contrary by BCDC, the demand for container port facilities will double by the year 2011. Even though Oakland has capacity to handle even that much demand by expanding port facilities and making them more efficient, the group says that political deals have compromised Oaklandís prospects. For example, says Richmond Port Renaissance, the City of Oakland cut a political deal with BCDC that moved 150 acres of Oakland Army Terminal prime port land out of Port priority and into commercial use such as automobile dealerships. Oakland did this because the Port of Oakland in independent of the City of Oakland and doesnít share revenue with the City.


Richmondís prospective container port has naturally deeper water than Oaklandís and require less dredging, making it cheaper to operate and able to compete favorably with Oakland.


Richmond Port Renaissance contends that Richmond can net $25 million a year and create 500 high-paying direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs by pursuing this plan. They say that not all, but most of the railroad grade crossings serving the new port can built as grade separations to eliminate existing conflicts. All of the existing businesses along the Santa Fe Channel would participate by selling out to the City of Richmond or moving their products by conveyor belt. They would be relieved of the burden of maintaining expensive piers and shoreline protection systems. Yacht harbors and boat works would relocate to a new waterfront created south of the existing Santa Fe Channel mouth. When I pointed out that the Oakland container port doesnít seem to have done much to raise the standard of living in adjacent West Oakland, Richmond Port Renaissance told me that is because the Oakland port is operated by private companies that siphon off all the profits and leave nothing for Oakland. Their plan, on the other hand, would have the City of Richmond as the operator and keep all the profits at home. The project is envisioned as a public-private partnership between the City of Richmond and Richmond Port Renaissance.


Filling hundreds of acres of Bay waters would be mitigated by creating wetlands on 150 acres of surplus Chevron property. And filling the Santa Fe Channel and capping it would solve the problem forever of toxic materials in the Bay Mud.


There are a lot more details but I will spare you all of them because I know there is just so much excitement you can stand at one time. Although I was hardly able to contain my own excitement and enthusiasm, I didnít want to appear too passionate lest I give away the Cityís enviable bargaining position. If you would like more information, or perhaps if you would like to get in on the ground floor as an investor in this project, for more information, contact:


Bryan Grunwald, AIA, AICP
3131 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
P 510.420.1812
F 510.420.1819
E bg@bryangrunwald.com
W bryangrunwald.com