Scanning the Field
Airport security factory and laundry facility vie for Marina building.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Colorful graffiti tags envelop the walls, and makeshift skateboarding ramps and boxes cover the floor of the former Fort Ord maintenance garage-turned-skater warehouse. Kenneth Bailey and John Osborne, heads of airport security technology company Secure Logistix, lead a tour of the abandoned building at the intersection of Imjin Road and 8th Street in Marina
They envision an assembly line in the 45-foot-tall, cement-block building for Bailey’s patented head-scanning systems, which they say airports can use to identify passengers and screen for terrorist watch list matches. “This gives TSA a tool to get people on the plane quicker,” Bailey says.
Osborne, a Marina resident, says they need 400,000 square feet between the factory and an adjoining property, which, combined, could be the cornerstone of Marina’s technological corridor, with the potential for 1,240 local jobs.
“We really are looking at bringing some sustainable jobs,” he says, while standing on the roof of the building and looking out at the expanse of ex-military land.
The ambitious business plan is one of two proposals the City Council is considering for the site. Pacific Grove-based Fornine Investment Company wants to develop a commercial laundry facility for local hotels.
David How, partner at Fornine Investment, says the business would create 90 union jobs and utilize water reclamation technology, which, compared to a typical commercial laundry, would cut water use in half. “Our new state-of-the-art commercial plant would result in significant water savings to the Monterey Peninsula at large,” How says.
Some local hotels use third-party laundry services that ship soiled sheets to San Jose and Stockton, How says: “There are some huge inefficiencies on the Monterey Peninsula right now.”
The City Council was scheduled to negotiate with How in closed session on March 16, but the company delayed the meeting. Osborne says he felt blindsided by the council’s meeting with Fornine Investment since he had been talking with city officials for 10 months. The two men pitched their development plans during public comment.
“The good news is that there has been no decision made and no promise made,” Mayor Bruce Delgado says. “It’s fully at the council’s discretion at this point. [Security Logistix’s proposal] needs more vetting, more scrutiny, more due diligence to find out if it’s something we want to move ahead with.”
Doug Yount, development director, says the likely next step is for the council to enter into exclusive negotiations with one of the parties, and the two businesses are on equal footing.
Bailey says Secure Logistix doesn’t have any solid orders yet. The first airport they are trying to win a contract with is San Francisco International; he points to a recent meeting with Edward Gomez, federal security director for SFO.
But TSA spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino says a former employee brought Bailey to a lunch meeting with Gomez. “When Ed realized it was a sales call… he excused himself from that lunch,” Trevino says.
Bailey says the meeting didn’t happen like that, and if the Marina deal doesn’t go through he will likely try San Jose.
“It would be a shame to lose an iconic technology plant in Monterey Bay,” Osborne says.