New Spinoff Company to Manage Saltworks Project

DMB representatives say the transition will be seamless.

A new company will be in charge of managing the 1,426-acre Cargill Saltworks development proposal, developer DMB Associates, Inc., announced Monday. Arizona-based DMB Associates has decided to splinter its growing Pacific Division into a new company, DMB Pacific Ventures, which will be headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

DMB Pacific Ventures will manage the proposed Saltworks project just as DMB Associates had done and that nothing will change in the day-to-day management, a spokesperson said.

“The process from the beginning has been very local and rightfully so,” said spokesperson Jay Reed. “This project requires much community input.”

Because the company identified Saltworks as the company’s “biggest long-term opportunity,” DMB has had an office on Seaport Boulevard throughout the application process.

“Given the scale of DMB Pacific projects, the extraordinary places in which they occur and the nature of the accords on which they are based, it is important to us that our community partners and stakeholders understand that this transition is under way,” said Mark Kehke, the DMB Associates Pacific Division chief operating officer who will accept the same position in the new company, in a statement. “But what won’t change are our commitments, our dedication to quality and the people responsible for them.”

Though DMB Associates has had several projects in California for the past two decades, the company said it saw several more market opportunities in California. With California’s emphasis on future growth along transit lines and housing closer to jobs, focusing on The Golden State was an “organic move,” the spokesperson said.

This re-organization has been in the works throughout 2011.

When large corporation, DMB Associates came into town in June 2006 with its proposal to build on the Cargill Saltworks site, many residents were highly skeptical and even resistant to the company’s dedication to Redwood City.

“Do Cargill and DMB plan to stick around to make sure that what they have promised to build will actually be built?” asked Patch blogger Marisuita. “What incentive will they have to stay in Redwood City rather than move on to their next lucrative project?”

Reed pointed out that Cargill Inc., who owns the land, has been “an active player philanthropically since the late 70s.”

"And [DMB's Senior Vice President] John Bruno has been a life-long Bay Area resident," he added.

Editor's Note: The lede was altered to clarify that DMB Associates adn DMB Pacific Ventures are two separate companies, but have the same name association.

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aallan wofchuck January 24, 2012 at 04:28 PM
The goal of Dmb and Cargill is to develop the salt ponds In my opinion nothing has changed . Everything they do is part of there plan to Get the City Council and residents to pass there plan to develop and destroy the Bay I am against the saltpond project
Laura Whittaker January 24, 2012 at 07:35 PM
The goal of Save the Bay is to stop development of the salt ponds. In my opinion nothing has changed. The whole process is about money - both sides. Get a clue.
Reality Check January 24, 2012 at 09:56 PM
@Laura, I don't understand you. It's obvious how & where for-profit Cargill/DMB could make hundreds of millions from wangling a zoning change out of the developer-friendly RWC council in order to pave their currently-protected and easily-restorable Bay lands with a new flooding-threatened subdivision. But like most sensible people, I'm against paving the Bay -- but how do I (or STB) get any money -- let alone hundreds of millions -- out that?
Lou Covey, The Local Motive January 24, 2012 at 11:04 PM
@RC, I'm surprised you don't know this. STB has been using the Cargill project as their source of fundraising for a few years now. A board member acknowledged that the project has been the impetus of millions of dollars in donations and if it wasn't for the project, STB would have gone under before Measure W. The Cosco Busan was another case of manna from heaven. They use their experience for causing problems to extort donations from other companies that are regularly targeted by environmentalists by promising to endorse them or at least stay quiet.
Reality Check January 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Well I didn't know ... but some of what you claim is plausible since Saltworks is probably the biggest ongoing and current threat to the Bay. Hardly surprising that opposition to Saltworks is fueling donations to a group which works to, well, "save the bay" from projects like Saltworks. But STB is a non-profit, right? So nobody I can think of stands to make millions by opposing Saltworks the way for-profit Cargill/DMB will make by jamming it through -- and that's where views such as Laura's that "the whole process (on both sides) is all about money" make no sense.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive January 25, 2012 at 12:17 AM
You know, you've given me an idea for a blog post. Stay tuned.
Stacie Chan (Editor) January 25, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Looking forward to it, Lou! I know the Cargill/DMB Saltworks project is very controversial, but civil discussions like this one are the best way to determine what's best for our city.
Karen Davis January 25, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Stacie, please adopt guidelines for disclosures by bloggers of any financial benefits that they or their family members receive from projects or programs that they are advocating. Without such disclosures, I doubt that discussion of blogs is a good way to determine what is best for the city. Thank you.
Gene Firpo January 25, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Hey Lou, Money buys big toys. Save the Bay, Save the Dams. Yes it's about money.
Paul Jones January 25, 2012 at 09:32 PM
OK. Cargill will turn it over to the resident of Redwood City. Free of charge. On the condition that it be restored to wetlands. Save the Bay estimates the cost of future project, not including Saltworks, at $1.4 BILLION. How much would it cost to restore the Saltworks, bearing in mind that you need to plan for sea level rise AND flood mitigation. Meaning that you have to build new levees, estimated to cost $8M per mile, and flood mitigation measures estimated to cost in the neighborhood of several millions more. So, how much Redwood City Homeowners are you willing to pay? $20/year? $40/year? And for how long?
Lou Covey, The Local Motive January 25, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Better you ask those questions, Paul. I just get snotty, superficial replies ;)
Lou Covey, The Local Motive January 25, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Wait. I did find this in the Save the Bay site. "Save The Bay commissioned this report by SCI Consulting to advise the newly-created Restoration Authority on dedicated funding streams it might pursue and administer. "SCI recommends a blended approach with a parcel tax at its center, based on the conclusion that a parcel tax can raise the most money with the greatest flexibility in uses of the funds and the least legal or political uncertainty. Two-thirds voter approval would be needed; a 2006 poll showed 83% of voters willing to pay $10 annually for wetland restoration and conservation. "The report offers three parcel tax scenarios ($4, $8 and $15 annually) and assesses the potential revenues across the Bay Area counties’ combined 1.74 million taxable parcels. Potential revenues range from $7.0 million to $39.2 million. "Even at the high end, a parcel tax would not fully close the long-term restoration funding gap. SCI recommends supplemental funding raised through a combination of future state bonds; various user, regulatory and development impact fees; and private gifts and grants." This was not for Redwood City but the nine Bay Area Counties. So imposing a Redwood City tax would not come near meeting the cost of the project.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive January 26, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Right with you on that one Karen. When would you like to get together and look at my books? I've had an open offer for anyone who questions my motives to come look at them. I've also asked Stacie to do an investigation on me.


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