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In The News

Cargill touts jobs from proposed development

Daily Journal Staff Report, 6/17/10

Developing the Cargill Saltworks site in Redwood City will create more than 11,000 new jobs and pour billions of dollars into San Mateo County, according to twin studies released by the developer yesterday.

The studies of jobs and spending were prepared by Economic and Planning Systems Inc. on behalf of the DMB Saltworks company currently hoping to develop the 1,436-acre site into a mix of housing, retail and open space.

The economic benefits of the so-called 50-50 Balanced Plan, according to the consultants, include:

  • 11,550 permanent jobs in the county;
  • 4,400 permanent jobs at commercial facilities and retail outlets on the site;
  • 1,100 construction jobs annually during the 30-year building time;
  • $410 million in total annual household spending;
  • $34,000 per household average annual spending.

The numbers were lauded by the business community in Redwood City which called it a welcoming aspect of the project.

“With small and large businesses struggling over the past several years, this is exactly the shot in the arm the community and region needs to recover its economic footing and have a solid foundation for the future,” said Larry Buckmaster, president and CEO of the Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce, in an announcement of the studies’ findings.

The money generated by construction, retail and all other aspects of the plan will generate $6.8 billion in economic activity for the city and surrounding communities, according to DMB officials who say that is more than the combined annual budgets of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

But while DMB touts the report’s economic findings, David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, said it doesn’t change the threshold issue that the land is not a site for development.

Lewis said the “glaring flaw” is that the report doesn’t indicate the costs for additional services like public safety and libraries. Lewis also knocks the report for not indicating any negative impact to existing jobs and economic activity at the Port of Redwood City or lost economic activity because of worsened traffic.

As proposed now, the plan calls for 12,000 housing units with the remainder of the land set aside for restoration and open space. However, Redwood City Mayor Jeff Ira has said the 50-50 plan will undoubtedly change before the city is asked to accept it.


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