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In The News

Salt works project would create 11,550 jobs

By J.K.Dineen
San Francisco Business Times, 6/16/10

The $6.8 billion proposed redevelopment and restoration of the Redwood City salt works would create 11,550 jobs in San Mateo and, at completion, would result in $410 million in annual spending, according to a new report commissioned by developer DMB.

The 12,000-unit development, which would be home to 30,000 residents, would generate 1,100 construction jobs per year during the 30-year build out and 4,400 permanent jobs at offices and retail outlets on the site, according to the study by Berkeley-based Economic & Planning Systems Inc.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to add 12,0000 rooftops to a built-out community and it will help Redwood City with its goals as far as revitalizing downtown,” said Jim Musbach, principal with Economic & Planning Systems.

The new report comes two weeks after the Redwood City City Council voted to go ahead with the Environmental Impact Report on the controversial project, which is opposed by many environmental groups. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents terminals and shipping operators, has also voiced concerns that the redevelopment of the 1,436 acres of salt evaporation ponds south of the Port of Redwood City would hurt shipping business.

Bill Nack, business manager of the San Mateo County Building Trades Council, said the redevelopment "changes the dynamic of our local economy.”

“We would go from laying off valuable workers to hiring workers," said Nack. "This is extremely important considering we’re suffering from a 30 percent unemployment rate in the construction trades.”

David Lewis, executive director of project opponent Save the Bay, said the analysis overlooks the adverse economic impact the development could potentially have on the bay itself and the Port of Redwood City.

“The Bay is the reason for our economic vitality and crucial to our economic life,” said Lewis. “A healthier bay and a cleaner bay and a restored bay is actually an economic engine as well.”

The report does not include information on the public costs of providing water, sewer, public transportation, police and fire service, or education for the new neighborhood.

Save the Bay has been urging the Redwood City government not to go forward with the time-consuming and costly EIR.

“The CEQA law gives cities the right to turn down a project without EIR if inconsistent with general plan or unlikely to be approved or has obvious flaws,” said Lewis. “This fits all those distinctions.”


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