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News Link • Corruption

Piracy on Treasure Island Congressional land grab for developers?

• Washington Times

The House version of the 2010 Defense authorization bill scheduled for conference today contains language that would speed the transfer of Naval Station Treasure Island to the city of San Francisco at no cost.

Treasure Island is a 535-acre man-made island in San Francisco Bay owned by the U.S. Navy. The naval station was selected for closure in 1993, and Navy operations ended there in 1997. Some of the property was transferred to the Federal Highway Administration, the Labor Department and U.S. Coast Guard, and the rest is open for development.

However, problems have arisen over the terms of the transfer, specifically Treasure Island's fair-market value. One would expect it to be a highly valuable piece of property, given the island's size and location and the potential for waterfront lots with spectacular views of San Francisco. The Treasure Island Development Authority, the local redevelopment agency acting on behalf of the city, valued the land at $13.8 million, and the city offered the Navy a $40 million in-kind deal.

The Navy commissioned two independent estimates, by the firms Ernst & Young Global Ltd. and Duff & Phelps Corp., which returned a fair-market value of $250 million. These assessments were reviewed and verified by the General Services Administration.

Nevertheless, members of Congress have come back with their own offer: nothing. I

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