SunCal's plans to build a massive housing project on the former Alameda Naval Air Station suffered a serious blow when the Alameda Chamber of Commerce voted to oppose the developer's ballot initiative. Alameda journalist Michele Ellson reports that the chamber didn't like the fact that SunCal decided to go directly to the voters instead of negotiating a development agreement with city staffers. As the Express previously reported, SunCal's initiative has frustrated city officials, who say Alameda could have gotten a better deal if the developers had negotiated directly with them. But now that the city's leading business group also opposes the initiative, SunCal's chances of getting voter approval have diminished significantly.
The report on the chamber's opposition comes on the heals of a study released last week that showed that SunCal's plans for nearly 5,000 homes on Alameda Point will create significant traffic problems throughout the island, and especially in the Posey Tube, which connects Alameda to Oakland. According to Michele Ellson, the study also noted, however, that traffic would worsen - although not as much - if SunCal had decided to build a maximum of 2,000 homes on the point as allowed under city zoning rules. Last year, SunCal abandoned its plans to build a large housing development at the former Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in the Oakland hills after its partner, Lehman Brothers, went bankrupt.