The City of Riverbank has approved a Development Agreement with Aemetis Inc. for specific parcels of the Riverbank Industrial Complex (RIC) also known as the Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP) on Claus Road. The Riverbank City Council unanimously approved the agreement at the council meeting held last week.
“I just wanted to thank staff not only our present staff but past staff who have worked on this for their tireless efforts in moving this project forward,” said City Manager Sean Scully at the council meeting. “We wouldn’t be here today without the excellent relationships we established with those folks as well as our partners at the US Army and US Army Corp of Engineers but most of all I would like to thank the City Council for their leadership and consistency in pushing this major project forward even after we hit brick walls here and there. You never wavered and continued to push us forward.”
Scully also thanked City Attorney Barbara Brenner, LRA Counsel George Schlossberg, and the Aemetis team.
The situation is complex and there are several details to the agreement that were discussed. On the agenda, items 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 had to do with the RIC that were discussed together. Parcel A is the main base at 77 acres that will be leased with an option to buy. The development agreement included a purchase and sale of Parcel B which the city owns and is 24 acres and eventual sale of Parcels 2 and 2A.
The full report and details can be viewed on riverbank.org.
During the meeting Scully began the agenda item with some history of the RAAP. The RAAP originally was an aluminum reduction plant for military supplies during World War II and later was used for military storage. The U.S. Army contracted the Norris Thermador Corporation in 1952 to manage the RAAP where they produced ammunition supplies for the military. The Army leased space to private tenants in the 1990s.
During the Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005, munitions production operations were moved to Illinois. With the anticipation of the closure of the RAAP, the City Council of Riverbank created the Local Redevelopment Agency (LRA) to implement a reuse plan for economic development.
The City began discussions with the U.S. Army in 2007-2008 to create development projects and request ownership of the property from the Federal Government to Local Government Control. The LRA Board approved submission of the Economic Development Conveyance application to the secretary of the Army in 2009. Then in 2011 the application was approved for Parcel A which is the main base, Parcel B, and Stormwater Parcel.
After several years of leases, negotiations with the Army, and the ongoing cleanup, along with the LRA operating the property, in 2017 the City Council decided that long term City management of the RIC would not be practical. With that decision the City began looking for a request for proposal (RFP) from developers and Aemetis was selected.
Aemetis Inc. is a renewable fuels and biochemical company founded in 2006.
In the Development Agreement, Aemetis would lease Parcel A and the Stormwater Parcel from the City for 15 years with an option to purchase the property. Aemetis would pay the City $145,000 per year during the term of the lease and the price for purchase is $8,800,000. The complete price and terms of payment can viewed in the agenda reports online.
The City is also looking to remove themselves from the day-to-day management of the RIC due to several factors including not having the financial resources and it is not a common municipal service. The management duties of the RIC will be shifted to Aemetis within 60 days after the signing of the Agreement. However, it was stated that the City will have a full-time person to coordinate, contracting and close out of the environmental cleanup. City staff will continue to work with Aemetis on projects to improve infrastructure and attract businesses to the industrial complex.
The future of the RIC brings excitement to the City as there are plans for renovation of the aged infrastructure, change of management and ownership as well as the possibility of new green industry type businesses which would create jobs for the area.