On March 6, the Alameda City Council will consider a change to the stalled development deal for Site A, the mixed-use project at Alameda Point. The proposed change would remove a restrictive condition governing the order in which construction happens.
Alameda Point Partners (APP), the developer for Site A, is requesting an amendment to its Development and Disposition Agreement. The amendment would remove a provision that allows the city to withhold building permits for market rate units if the affordable housing subcontractor, Eden Housing, is unable to secure all of its financing. The purpose of the current provision, called a Metering Provision, was to ensure that the affordable housing units would be built in a timely manner. The city has approved the designs for Eden’s 70-unit family affordable complex and 60-unit senior affordable complex. Continue reading “Site A mixed-use construction poised to commence”
Part of the vacant military housing near Alameda Landing, formerly known as North Housing, fetched a winning auction bid of $38 million.
In order to complete the sale, the current “government” zoning designation must be removed. At the same time, the city recommends removing the government zoning from two adjacent parcels that will soon be transferred to the Alameda Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity. The residential, multifamily zoning will remain intact. Continue reading “Housing limit under review”
On Wednesday, April 12, the Navy will auction off part of its long vacant military housing known as North Housing. The opening bid for the 14.9-acre parcel is $5 million. The online auction is being conducted by the federal General Services Administration.
In the coming months, another part of the North Housing neighborhood will be given to the Alameda Housing Authority and to Habitat for Humanity, and the former Island High School and Woodstock Child Development Center in the neighborhood will be given to Alameda Unified School District.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) issued a new regional planning document on August 30, 2016, suggesting the amount of housing needed in Alameda to meet state goals. MTC is requesting input from local jurisdictions.
Alameda City Planner Andrew Thomas slammed the commission’s recommendations as being woefully out of touch with Alameda’s existing land uses and its limited regional transit connections.
MTC’s forecast calls for adding roughly 10,000 new homes in Alameda by 2040, with the majority to be added in existing neighborhoods, outside of so-called Priority Development Areas (PDAs) like Alameda Point and the Northern Waterfront. This could only be accomplished if a host of improbable and unrealistic events were to occur, according to Thomas.Continue reading “Transportation agency calls for more housing in Alameda”
The Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) served up gourmet meals at their annual Urban Farm Table fundraising event on Sunday, May 15, 2016. About 100 guests were seated under a canopy squarely in the middle of crops growing on the Alameda Point farm.
This year’s menu was again created by Jeff Rosen, executive chef at Blue Heron Catering of Oakland. Some of the salad and entrée ingredients, such as arugula, strawberries and onions, were grown within a few steps of the table.
APC is the largest supportive housing provider for homeless families in Alameda County. Adults in the community can acquire new job skills and self-confidence in APC’s various enterprises – Ploughshares Nursery, Farm2Market farm production, and commercial kitchen. The Farm2Market program sells produce through a subscription service.
Matthew Dolan, executive chef at Twenty Five Lusk in San Francisco, gave the keynote address. His message centered on food choices. Food that is bad for your health is often bad for the environment because of the way it is produced, according to Dolan.
Dolan singled out Monsanto Corporation for manipulation of agricultural seed production geared to boost production at the expense of the environment. He also said that some hamburger meat used in fast food restaurants was a grade below the meat used in dog food.
Dolan praised the kind of positive changes in food choices that are being made possible by community farms like APC’s.
Guest speaker and APC resident Jamie Sneed exemplified the value of the Collaborative’s programs. Her story began on the floor of the emergency room at John George Psychiatric Hospital as victim of a suicide attempt in 2011. She went from the hospital to a shelter in Hayward, sharing a windowless room with nine other women, and then moved to transitional housing before landing a spot at APC.
Sneed credits APC’s career center and its on-the-job training program with motivating her. “It was such a transformative experience,” said Sneed. “I will never be the same. The six-month program gave my life structure when I needed it most.”
Sneed spends part of her time working on the farm. She is also polishing her writing skills and has taught computer skills to others, as a result of APC’s training program. “For those of you who have supported us over the years, thank you,” said Sneed. “I am here because of you.”
APC operates an education center to serve the more than 300 children and youth who live there. Literacy is a major focus of the academic programming. School-aged children get support with homework, one-on-one tutoring and participate in special enrichment activities at the center.
APC was formed in 1999 following the closure of Alameda’s Naval Air Station. APC was allowed to acquire 34 acres under provisions of the federal McKinney Act, which was created in the mid-1980s to address homelessness.
~ Developer proposes housing, hotel, and plaza at former Navy supply center
Alameda Landing is about to enter its final phase of development. A 2006 plan that once called for all commercial on the 41-acre waterfront parcel behind Target is being replaced with a new plan. It includes an additional 375 housing units, a 124-room hotel, restaurants, and a small amount of commercial space. An eight-acre waterfront park and promenade remain as the centerpiece.
The developer, Catellus, decided to shelve the all-commercial plan due to lack of demand, coupled with high costs to develop the seismically challenged site.
Sean Whiskeman, senior vice president of development for Catellus, points to the fact that zero new office construction is underway along the Interstate 880 and Interstate 80 office corridor. The lack of demand “is a very compelling statistic in our opinion,” said Whiskeman, “especially given the alternative office sites available within Alameda.”
In addition, current rents would not support the upfront investment of $90 million in land preparation costs, according to Whiskeman. “Asking rents on the island are approximately $16.50 per square foot,” said Whiskeman. “Rents would have to be close to $55 per square foot to justify building the office park on our waterfront site.” Assuming a 3 percent average annual growth rate of commercial rents, it would only pencil out if construction began 41 years from now, according to Whiskeman.
Another challenge is the seismic stability of the massive concrete wharf and the soft shoreline. The park and waterfront promenade will be built on the wharf. There is currently a warehouse on the wharf, but it will be demolished to make way for the public open space.
The wharf was constructed in the 1940s to handle train cars and cranes for Navy supply operations. There are over 4,000 piers underneath the wharf, and they have eroded and lost their structural integrity, according to Whiskeman.
The site is built with mud dredged from the Estuary, which is subject to liquefaction during an earthquake. The edges are stabilized with a rocky riprap, which creates the shoreline.
“In a seismic event of any size, that Bay Mud is going to build up a lot of energy, and it’s going to want to go somewhere,” said Whiskeman. “It’s going to want to go to the weakest point, which is the water’s edge,” continued Whiskeman. “That Bay Mud is going to explode out into the water and with a ton of force. It’s going to take with it anything in its path, including those piers and the wharf.”
The shoreline seismic plan will incorporate a system of several hundred underground columns of cement and soil mixed together, which could serve to both stabilize the shoreline and provide lateral restraint to the wharf structure.
The city currently owns the property. The city will continue to own the wharf after Catellus creates the eight-acre park and public space.
The 2006 development agreement for the former Navy supply center property allows for changes in land use, as long as no additional impacts are generated.
“We’re not generating any more trips than were already approved,” said Whiskeman. “We are net neutral, and in some respects we are net positive as far as trips because peak trips are about the same in the morning, and the evening peak trips are less than what was approved.” Transportation consulting firm Fehr & Peers provided the traffic impact analysis for Catellus.
The consultant’s data does not factor in the traffic reduction measures currently in place, according to Whiskeman. Alameda Landing residents and businesses already fund a BART shuttle to and from the 12th Street Station during weekday peak commute times.
“Part of the beauty of this next phase is that the transportation program gets more robust as more revenue is able to be put into the program to help fund the shuttle program,” said Whiskeman. It will also fund a new water shuttle to Jack London Square. Whiskeman said that the owners of the Alameda-based Commodore fleet would operate the water shuttle.
On May 23, Catellus sought input from the Planning Board. Board members suggested Catellus include more commercial space, smaller and more affordable housing units, and space for existing tenant Starlight Marine Services to continue operating its tugboat business there.
Catellus expects to return to the planning board with revisions to the plan on June 27 for final approval of the land-use change.
If approval of the new plan is granted, Catellus could begin work early next year and complete demolition and seismic work within 12 months.
The demolition of 16 former Navy apartment buildings at Alameda Point has begun. On January 5, 2016, the City Council awarded a $547,000 contract to Asbestos Management Group of Oakland to perform the demolition.
In April of 2015, the city council directed city staff to come up with a plan to address safety and blight issues after KTVU Channel 2 aired a story about unsafe conditions at the abandoned housing area.
The structures are located on Orion Street, West Tower Avenue, Stardust Place and Pearl Harbor Road. Demolition began during the second week of March and is expected to be completed within 60 days. The job is being paid for out of Alameda Point base reuse funds. Continue reading “Demolition of former Navy apartments begins”