UPDATE: West Park promises $1M to help meet project deadlines
by PI Staff
Jun 16, 2012 | 2104 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite missing a deadline to complete environmental documents, developer Gerry Kamilos has kept busy during the during the past 15 months, working with environmental contractors and business recruiters and obtaining investment money for his proposed business park at the former Crows Landing naval airfield, according to a Stanislaus County staff report released Friday, June 15.

The report includes a letter from Roseville attorney Mark H. Lipton, promising that one of his investor clients will put $1 million on deposit by Monday, June 18, to help ensure that environmental documents for Kamilos’ PCCP West Park project will be finished by Jan. 31. Kamilos has committed to placing $2.75 million on deposit in all, the staff report indicated.

County supervisors will consider all these factors as they decide Tuesday, June 19, whether to grant the developer a six-month extension to complete a draft environmental impact report and specific plan and proposed ground leases for West Park.

Kamilos’ PCCP West Park proposal entails building a nearly 2,930-acre industrial park on and around the 1,528-acre former airfield that stands between Fink and Marshall roads south of Patterson. The project would include a 157-acre “inland port,” where two trains each day would take goods to and from the Port of Oakland. Most recent figures in the staff report indicate it would provide 13,000 permanent jobs and 3,000 temporary construction jobs.

Kamilos told county supervisors individually in April that he would need more time to work on environmental plans, after supervisors previously approved a 15-month project extension in March 2011. Though supervisors Vito Chiesa and Bill O’Brien both indicated last year that they would not likely approve another extension, Chiesa said last month that he wanted to hear what Kamilos had to say.

Only supervisors Jim DeMartini, a continual critic of the West Park project, and Dick Monteith, a stalwart project advocate, have made it clear what their positions will be next week. DeMartini noted that Kamilos has continuously missed deadlines that he set for his project, while Monteith said Kamilos has made financial commitments to the county that are above and beyond what other developers would make.

Supervisor Terry Withrow, who joined DeMartini in opposing the previous project extension last year, said last month he wanted to hear Kamilos’ presentation before deciding on the matter.

Friday’s staff report indicates that the developer has already spent $3.8 million on environmental studies as well as $430,000 on a 22-month legal challenge brought by the city of Patterson. Kamilos said this week he has spent about $6 million in all.

The report also details the woes of West Park’s former investment partner, Lehman Brothers Holdings, which filed for bankruptcy after 2008. While the investment firm dumped most of its investment commitments in the bankruptcy process, it retained the West Park project, preventing Kamilos from seeking other funding alternatives but also preventing it from getting funded from the bankrupt company, the staff report stated.

Lehman has since evolved into a legacy management company, in which the remaining creditors will become the shareholders. A buyout plan was negotiated in May, and Kamilos’s company will now serve as the managing financial partner for West Park along with new capital partners in the future, the staff report stated. The report also indicated he has been obtaining new investment money since February.

If supervisors do not agree to the West Park extension, county staff estimated it would cost $1 million to $1.7 million to find a new master developer and complete a new environmental impact report — if another developer was not willing to front that cost — and the process could take up to three years, according to the staff report.

The meeting will likely have several Patterson residents in attendance, including members of the West Side – Patterson Alliance for Community and Environment, which remains critical of the West Park project.

Tuesday’s meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the board of supervisors chambers, at 1010 Tenth St. in Modesto.

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