Steady progress is being made at the Riverbank Industrial Complex, as the site near the intersection of Claus and Claribel roads moves more fully toward the private sector.
Riverbank Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) Executive Director, Debbie Olson gave Riverbank City Council members and the public an update on the conveyance proceedings of the Riverbank Industrial Complex (RIC), formerly known as the Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant, at a recent council meeting.
“Conveyance activities are ongoing,” said Olson. “We are awaiting final deeds, leases, real estate and environmental documents from the Army before we can move to the next step, which would involve public review and comment period.”
Olson started from the beginning and explained the path to the conveyance is in four separate phases, Formation and Planning of the LRA, Implementation Phase, Negotiation and Documentation phase, and Execution and Performance.
The LRA was formed in 2006, which is considered the Formation phase and occurred during 2006 to 2008. The LRA and the City of Riverbank spent time in meetings speaking to stake holders, and finding out what was most important to the community in regards to the facility, what they wanted to see there and what they wanted done with the site. The federal process included language that the federal property must be offered to homeless assistance providers and determine whether there was any appropriate use in that arena.
“For us there was not an appropriate response to that so we did submit to the Army and to Housing and Urban Development a plan, a reuse plan for their review and approval,” stated Olson.
The next phase was Implementation that occurred during 2009 and 2010 when the federal government was asked for a designation as an implementation LRA.
The Negotiation and Documentation phase is the current phase and began in 2010 into the current year, which includes negotiations with the Army regarding the terms of the transfer agreement, consultation with regulatory agencies over contamination and clean-up responsibility, as well as retaining and expanding tenant businesses.
“So the negotiation phase is in a large part, are negotiations on sort of a parallel track, you have the real estate deal and you have the environmental requirements for cleanup,” explained Olson. “So it can be two separate entities negotiating for but going along the same track, in this case the LRA is looking to both take that property but also do that environmental cleanup on behalf of the Army.”
According to Olson, the Memorandum of Agreement finalizes the real estate deal that the LRA board will need to provide a resolution to the Army. After the Army accepts it they will need deeds developed on that property and to determine the restrictions.
“The Army is interested in continued use of certain buildings and certain portions of the property but we need to see a lease to see what that looks like,” stated Olson. “Like it could be restricted use where we could never go in there, it could be cooperative use where we could also utilize that space, we don’t know that yet.
“Then we need the bills of sale for the excess personal property to allow us to sell it, remove it, whatever.”
The final phase is Execution and Performance, which will include cleanup of the property with environmental agencies observing as well as the Army and the Department of Justice to ensure the agreement is met.
“We are not going to hurry the documentation, we are going to do it right, we are going to make sure it’s right, and quite frankly whether the property is transferred or not we are doing the most important thing, which is building jobs and businesses at that site and we are grateful to the Army for allowing us to do that,” expressed Olson.
“I would like to congratulate the council and Debbie for all the work that has gone into the revitalization and continuation of the jobs and economic growth that is happening at the RIC, it is benefitting not only the city but the region,” stated Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson. “And it really is a visionary model and it’s a model that is unique for city government and I think that this council and Debbie deserve a lot of credit.”
She also said the council and Olson were entitled “some small moments of celebration” because the city and LRA have “been acknowledged by our peers for base reuse excellence.”