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Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. No; the small dock at Hunters Point is the same size as the dock at Mare Island. The reason for the cheapness of the dock construction at Hunters Point is the green serpentine rock formation which prevails in this vicinity. It forms an ideal foundation, is easy to work, impervious to water, and requires only 15 to 18 inches of concrete for a lining, instead of the dense mass of concrete necessary for structures on pile foundations.
Dock No. 3, the new concrete graving dock of the Union Iron Works at Hunters Point, built in 1917-18, in less than two years, is 1,000 feet in length, 42 feet in depth, 153 feet width of coping, and 110 feet floor width-exactly the same size as the locks in the Panama Canal. This structure is simply lined with a veneer of 18 inches of concrete, and cost less than $1,750,000 to build, in that short space of time, under war conditions.
The story of this structure built at Hunters Point with a foundation on bedrock, forms a strong argument for the selection of this site, as promptness in construction is very necessary in the completion of those large graving docks to take care of our heaviest ships
Mr. PADGETT. May I ask a question there?
Senator Ball. You give the cost of construction of this dock? Did it not replace an old dock there, so that part of the excavation was already made?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. That old dock was built 50 years ago, was very small in size, .did not occupy one-tenth of the volume of the excavation for the new dock, and, in fact, it was a nuisance to a certain extent, because, if you will examine one of those pictures, picture No. 15, you will see
Senator Ball (interrupting). The point I had in mind
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY (interrupting). I was going to bring out a reply to your question. If you will look at sheet No. 15, the photograph there, it shows where the old dock was intercepted by the new one, and that particular portion of the dock wall incurred a great deal of extra expense in the new dock for filling up the bridge formed by the cutting of the old one. And that diagram No. 15, that photograph, illustrates that.
Mr. HICKS. You claim that the fact that there was an old dock there when you built the new one made the new dock cost more than if the old dock had not been there?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. So far as the excavation for the new dock is concerned, only part of that which was made for the old dock is included in the new one, because the new one straddles the old one, crosscuts it, and the new dock, where the old formation had been cut by the side of the dock-the sides of the wall there had to be filled in.
Senator Ball. Your contention is that the cost of the dock was not lessened any by the fact that there was an old dock there?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. That is my feeling, and I believe such to be the fact.
Mr. PADGETT. Your contention is that the fact was an old excavation there could be disregarded.
Mr. BRITTEN. Chief, will you point out on the map there, please, just the position of the first dock?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. It was there [indicating).
Mr. BRITTEN. So that the south wall of the present dock had to be refilled because of lack of rock foundation ?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. Because of lack of rock foundation and the niaterial was soft. It caved in, I think, during the construction and delayed the work-instead of taking two years to build the dock they would have had it done in a year and a half if it had not been for that.
Mr. BRITTEN. In other words, you had air space at that particular point, where on the balance of your dock you had rock?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. We had solid rock all the way.
The late experience at Pearl Harbor, No. 1 dock, 955 feet floor length, 101 feet width of floor, 138 feet width of coping, and 34 feet 8 inches deep or 7 feet shallower than the new Hunters Point dock, with a structure built on a pile foundation, and with uncertainties of construction, is educational. This dock was estimated in 1909 to cost $2,500,000 and to be completed in less than two years. This structure, built on piles, took nearly eight years to finish and cost about $5,000,000, because of the uncertainties and difficulties in connection with indefinite foundation problems.
Promptness in completion of these docks is, in my judgment, a dominant factor in the present critical times, and should weigh strongest with your committee in reaching a determination. The unexpected always happens, no matter whether we like the Hunters Point site, or somebody likes the Alameda site, or somebody likes the Mare Island site, we here in San Francisco and on the coast are patriotic for the Government's requirements, and we believe the present conditions, and I believe all your naval advisers will so tell you, are such that whatever dock construction is going to be done ought to be done promptly, so that we shall have those repair docks all ready, not in five or six or eight or nine years, but inside of two or three years, not knowing what may transpire.
One of the objections offered to Hunters Point about a year agoI think Admiral Parks made the suggestion—was the lack of land that was available at Hunters Point. By consulting this map here, which you can do before you adjourn, you will see that, besides the land described in Admiral Helm's report, there is a considerable acreage immediately to the south thereof of mud land that is available for the yard if it is desired to expand it from eight or nine hundred acres up to 3,035 acres, and all those lands are indicated in this report at page 3, making a total available area, should the Government so want it, of 3,035 acres.
Mr. PADGETT. What is the value, or rather the cost, of that landon an average ?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. The only definite request made of the municipal authorities about area and values was by the Helm commission, and the report given December 27, 1916, by our city assessor, John Ginty, which is published in your document No. 1946, part 2, of the Helm commission, states the average assessed value of the land needed by the Navy at that time as being $454.25 per acre.
Mr. PADGETT. What is the assessed value relative to the sales value?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. It is supposed to be 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the sales value of the property.
Mr. PADGETT. Speaking last night with another person here, he said that that water-front land, taking it all, with the dry land, would be something like $2,000 per acre. What have you to say about that?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. I am not an expert on real estate values. I give you the assessor's figure at which this property is now valued, and the assessor's rules for valuation.
Mr. PADGETT. Does that assessment include the dry land or exclude the dry land?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. It includes the dry land.
Mr. PADGETT. And what about the tidelands—they are said to be more valuable than the other, because of the water frontage ?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. The assessor does not so put it. The tideland is very much lower in value, in his judgment.
Mr. PADGETT. Just at that point, has the city made any endeavor to ascertain what those 674 acres would cost under purchase at this time?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. Mayor Rolph made some investigation at the request of Admiral Helm, and his conclusion was that all this property needed by the Navy Department could be acquired for $1,000,000, which is very much more than the assessor's figures, or double the assessor's figures.
Mr. PADGETT. That is about $1,500 an acre.
Mr. PADGETT. Just about that, isn't it? And do you recollect the price set by the court in the case of the Islais Creek lands?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. Mr. Ryan, the attorney for the State Harbor
Supervisor WELCH. He is not here. We have sent for him.
Mr. DWYER. One hundred and sixty-three. And the cost was $800,000—no, it was $850,000.
Mr. PADGETT. This 674 acres indicated on your map there, that does not include the 42 acres of the Union Iron Works?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. It does not.
Senator BALL. This figure on values, as I understand, is not from any offer made, but is entirely problematical
, is it not? As I understood a moment ago, there has been no inquiry made by the engineers as to what it could be bought for, and isn't this discussion as to its cost rather going into the problematical? Had we not better pass this over and allow the engineers to find out what it can be bought for, without going further into it at the present moment ?
Mr. BRITTEN. Senator, just at that point, Admiral Rodman told some of the members of the committee yesterday that, from his point of view, either the San Francisco site or the Alameda site would suffice for a naval base; it was just a question of cost, and it might be well for the committee at this time to ascertain the approximate cost of the site. He has made some investigations along his own lines, and has determined that these lands may be had for approximately $1,500 an acre. That would seem to be all right as an approximate estimate on which to base our calculations.
Senator BALL. It has been the experience of committees in the past that these approximate estimates are very unreliable, and that when there is an idea of getting property for the use of the Government, the price generally goes up.
Mr. BRITTEN. Yes, I will agree with you. But the land on this side of the bay is for sale or for purchase by the Government, and the
land on the other side of the bay has been offered the Government free of cost. That is the only reason I inquired.
Senator Ball. May we say that if the engineers can get the exact information and submit to the committee we would consider it finally in our recommendation, and it would be probably better than any time taken up here in general discussion.
Mr. BRITTEN. Yes.
Mr. DUNNIGAN. I might state that we had 12 of the leading real estate men of the real estate board of San Francisco make an appraisement of all the lands around Hunters Point, and that appraisement is a part of the Helm Commission report, and was the basis on which the real estate experts said the Government ought to acquire the land.
Mr. PADGETT. And what was that average ?
Mr. DUNNIGAN. The real estate men would better answer that, or the assessor. The assessor assessed those lots at 50 per cent and the mayor doubled that in his estimate. The assessor insists that his assessment is a fair 50 per cent assessment.
Mr. BRITTEN. On the 5 cents a foot basis, that would be about $2,200 an acre.
Mr. DUNNIGAN. Yes, but that takes in the valuable and other land as well.
Mr. BRITTEN. I would like to ask the chief while we are on the land question about that little bit of land directly north oi the Union Iron Works property, which is blank on the map. Is that owned by the State, the city, or a private owner?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. You mean this part here (indicating]?
Mr. BRITTEN. Can that be had also; and if so, at approximately what price?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. I don't think the State would charge the United States Government anything for taking any submerged land.
Mr. BRITTEN. In one of the plans of Hunters Point that has been prepared by the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks he shows that as an advisable addition to the land south of the Hunters Point property. It might be well to give that some consideration also.
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. Of course, all the discussion so far had as to site has been in cooperation with the previous boards, who, after examining these sites, indicated the part they wanted, and we have got all the data possible relating to that part. If they have changed their plans and are going somewhere else and haven't told us about it, except we get that information, we will be as blank upon the subject as you are.
Mr. BRITTEN. That is very true, Chief, but it is probable that the location of that big dock is such that we can say it was built at the most advantageous point, and it may be necessary for the Government to circle that peint in order to reap the benefits of the point and its advantages --I mean from a foundation standpoint.
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. Well, possibly that is very desirable in the light of the boring which Admiral Parks told me he found out here. He had these proposed long docks at this point [indicating] at 114
feet, and it would be desirable to concentrate those docks at this point (showing).
Mr. BRITTEN. Or even north.
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. And I have shown that. The previous board, the Helm Board, requested our ideas as to where it would be most agreeable to us to have this naval base, and we thought that the territory south of this point here conformed with the cit;'s plans for commercial expansion better than to have it possibly range into this region here, north of that point.
Senator Walsh. Before we pass that, Mr. O'Shaughness;, let me inquire of you whether any effort has ever been made to secure options upon this property held by private individuals, in view of the probability of it becoming a naval base; and if not, why that was not done, as is ordinarily done in these cases?
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. Well, of course, until a final decision is reached it would be a waste of effort to go to procuring optionsuntil the engineers have made up their minds.
Senator Walsh. I don't see why you say that, because that is the ordinary way of proceeding. Whenever a community desires to have a public work started at a certain place in the vicinity the ordinary procedure is to go out and get options upon the land, having an agreement by the owners of the land to sell to the Government at a certain price, if the Government determines to utilize it for public purposes. That is the usual and ordinary way, I must express my surprise that it has not been done here, and I am curious to know why it has not been done.
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. In all of our public enterprises in San Francisco, tunnel rights of way and parks, and so on, requiring land, we have found no difficulty in filing condemnation suits and taking the values, and we do much better that way than by making propositions to and dickering with the owners. There has been no speculation in these lands on this proposed site, by the way. These lands have been owned in one ownership for over 40 years. That is true of all this submerged land.
Senator Walsh. It seems to me, for that very reason, that the owners would be very desirous of disposing of the property at a fair price to the Government, and why they should not be perfectly willing to give an option for that land to the Government, providing they determined to locate a naval base there, I can not at this moment see.
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. I think, so far as cooperating in securing these lands for the Government is concerned, you can rest assured the city and county of San Francisco will cooperate in every way to get these lands for the Government.
Senator Walsh. The city and county of San Francisco has had a long opportunity to do it. This matter has been under consideration for a great many years.
Mr. NOLAN. Let us get this straightened out. Mr. Dunnigan, acting for the United States Shipping Board, just before the armistice was signed, had some experience over north and a little bit south of the point. Everybody over there that had land in private ownership wanted about ten times what it was worth. To get that for a big shipbuilding plant, they knew that it was necessary to get legislation giving the Shipping Board the same power that the Navy Department