City receives award for brownfield redevelopment

The city has received a prestigious award for its successful collaboration with a private developer on a brownfield redevelopment project—namely, Alameda Landing. The new retail and residential area is located near the Webster/Posey Tubes.  

“The Landing is a complex project that lends itself to a public-private partnership,” said Debbie Potter, the city’s Community Development Director. Potter accepted the Phoenix Award on behalf of the city at the “Brownfields 2015” conference in Chicago.  The award dovetailed with the conference theme of transforming blighted areas into productive sustainable development projects.  

An old warehouse used for the Navy's former Fleet Industrial Supply Center and a crane at the Port of Oakland provide a backdrop for condominiums nearing completion on Bette Street at Alameda Landing.
An old warehouse used for the Navy’s former Fleet Industrial Supply Center and a crane at the Port of Oakland provide a backdrop for condominiums nearing completion on Bette Street at Alameda Landing.

“Public-private partnership is pretty much the model at all former military bases.  But it’s not a business model that every developer embraces,” said Potter.  “Business is conducted in public.”  

More business will be conducted in public early next year when Catellus is expected to approach the city council with revised plans for the last and final phase, which will include downsizing the previously approved office space and adding housing.

One project is selected from each of the 10 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regions. Alameda Landing took home the award for Region 9, which covers California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Pacific Islands.    

The city inherited a potentially valuable land asset from the Navy in 2000—a housing area that was to become Bayport, and an abandoned naval supply complex and hospital that was to become the Landing. Soon thereafter, the city selected Catellus as the developer.  

Since then, challenges have been a frequent companion.   The city and Catellus “had to work through infrastructure challenges, regulatory challenges, and financing challenges,” said Potter.  “Virtually every aspect has required special attention, from soil conditions to retail makeup to the strength of the pier structure along the waterfront.” 

As Bayport construction was underway, it became apparent that the initial proposed plan for 1.3 million square feet of research and development office space at the Landing was not viable.  The time to adapt or die arrived early.  “Being nimble throughout the process is key,” said Potter.  “Without flexibility, you end up with no project.”

By early 2007, the city had decided to give Catellus wide latitude on what it was allowed by right to construct at Alameda Landing.  Any configuration is allowed as long as the impacts, namely traffic, do not exceed the impacts identified in the environmental impact report.

The most significant changes were the slashing of office space to 400,000 square feet and the addition of up to 300 residential units at Alameda Landing.

In 2009, while the city and Catellus were waiting on the economy to rebound from the last recession, a fire of suspicious origin engulfed the abandoned hospital, which was still owned by the city.  Lead and asbestos were incinerated in the fire.  The added demolition and special cleanup costs amounted to several million dollars.  The city will finally recoup all of its cleanup costs with a final payment from Catellus during the waterfront phase, according to Potter.

Wooden debris being cleaned up after a fire destroyed the abandoned Navy hospital in 2009. Location is about 100 feet west of Target at Alameda Landing. Looking northwest. Photo used by permission from City of Alameda.
Wooden debris being cleaned up after a fire destroyed the abandoned Navy hospital in 2009. Location is about 100 feet west of Target at Alameda Landing. Looking northwest. Photo used by permission from City of Alameda.

Most of the Landing retail space is now filled, and the 284 residential units are nearing completion.  “Tri Pointe is the first private multifamily housing constructed in Alameda since the charter amendment known as Measure A was enacted in 1973,” said Potter.  “The Tri Pointe residential project was approved under provisions of the city’s Density Bonus Ordinance.”

Generous landscaping complements the loft-style condominiums at Alameda Landing near Target.
Generous landscaping complements the loft-style condominiums at Alameda Landing near Target.

Construction is about to begin on Stargell Commons, 32 rental units for low- and very-low-income households, along with a community center.  Catellus is bringing the infrastructure to the site and contributing $2 million for this project.  The City of Alameda Housing Authority will own the land and lease the land to Resources for Community Development, which will build and manage the complex.

Stargell Commons, to be located at Bette Street and Stargell Avenue at Alameda Landing.
Stargell Commons, to be located at Bette Street and Stargell Avenue at Alameda Landing.

The final phase of the Landing—in the warehouse area between Mitchell Avenue and the Oakland Estuary that was originally slated for office space, a Miracle League baseball park, and a waterfront park and promenade—begins next year.

But first, the city council will be asked to approve a major revision that will include the addition of housing and the subtraction of office space due to weak demand. The Miracle League baseball park has been scratched because it’s now slated to become part of Estuary Park nearby, which Catellus contributed toward.  

The authority for adding housing to the last phase of the Landing project originated in 2012, when the former city council updated the General Plan Housing Element, creating a Multifamily Overlay zoning designation. These special overlay zones, or sites, provide the rights for multifamily housing on specific sites.  It designated 10 acres at 30 units per acre on the land north of Mitchell Avenue.

“It gives Catellus zoning rights to residential if they want to pursue residential,” said Potter.  “No amendment to the development agreement or master plan is needed,” explained Potter. “But keep in mind that the zoning designation—multifamily overlay—is constrained by the requirement that any revised uses must fit within the environmental impact report and not generate additional impacts.”

The city currently owns the warehouse area north of Mitchell and collects about $800,000 a year in rent from two tenants. The land will be sold to Catellus upon approval of the revised plan. 

The Phoenix Awards Institute, Inc., a nonprofit, administers the awards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International City/County Management Association organized the national conference in Chicago.

Originally published in the Alameda Sun.

Brownfield definition:  “A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”  Source:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Additional info:  California State Water Resources Control Board Brownfields Program.

Stargell Commons courtyard close-up.
Stargell Commons courtyard close-up.
Bioswale water filtration in the parking lot of Alameda Landing retail area.
Bioswale water filtration in the parking lot of Alameda Landing retail area.
Description of "bioswales" in Alameda Landing parking lot.
Description of “bioswales” in Alameda Landing parking lot.
Bioswale natural filtration for water runoff in residential area of Alameda Landing.
Bioswale natural filtration for water runoff in residential area of Alameda Landing.

Navy housing site safe to transfer

The vacated residential area known as North Housing—located between Alameda Point and Alameda Landing—has been deemed environmentally safe for transfer out of Navy hands. The approval comes after a four-year effort to clean up groundwater to drinking water standards was declared unnecessary and terminated.

Center courtyard in former Navy housing area called North Housing. Looking north/northeast.
Center courtyard in former Navy housing area called North Housing. Looking north/northeast.

The original overly cautious risk assumption in the 2007 cleanup plan—that humans might somehow ingest the salty groundwater 10 to 20 feet below the surface—is now seen as implausible. The vapor extraction system covering a six-acre area of benzene and naphthalene-contaminated groundwater was dismantled in 2014 after a new round of tests showed that there is no evidence of harmful vapors rising to the surface.

The land was originally slated for transfer to the Coast Guard. But the Coast Guard decided in 2008 that it no longer wanted the property. The Navy and the city then worked out a plan that incorporates a federal requirement for homeless accommodation and a for-profit development.

The 22.7 acres slated for auction to a private developer will be tagged with utility infrastructure costs—streets, drainage, utilities—on all of the North Housing area, except for the Housing Authority’s 13.6 acres and Habitat for Humanity’s 2.2 acres. The Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity will be responsible for bringing new utility services from the nearest street to their housing units.

Draft map prepared by the city of Alameda showing proposed Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, and private developer parcels. Pending final approval. Dusty rose area going to Housing Authority, blue to Habitat for Humanity, tan to private developer. Click on map to enlarge.
Draft map prepared by the city of Alameda showing proposed Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, and private developer parcels. Pending final approval. Dusty rose area going to Housing Authority, blue to Habitat for Humanity, tan to private developer. Click on map to enlarge.

Mosley Avenue will be connected between Alameda Landing and North Housing with 360 feet of new roadway.

In 2013, the Navy turned off its air pump and carbon filter vacuum cleanup system to see if it made any difference in the concentrations or movement of contaminants. It didn’t.

But before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would sign off on a permanent shutdown of the cleanup system, it wanted a new set of tests at ground level to ensure there is no risk of harmful vapors. The Navy conducted tests inside the vacant housing, in the crawl spaces, and under the parking lot and basketball courts at the former Island High School property. The negative results satisfied the EPA.

In April the Navy officially amended its original 2007 Record of Decision cleanup plan, with regulatory agency concurrence, citing new evidence. It also cited city, county, and state regulations that prohibit intrusive activities and specifically prohibit well installation in the shallow groundwater where the contamination is located. The cleanup plan amendment said that results of the evaluations of extensive data for this cleanup area “show that there is no unacceptable risk for current residential and school uses and any potential future land uses.”

The amended plan also cited new evidence that suggested the contaminants were part of what is called the Marsh Crust at around 20 feet below ground and essentially stuck there. The Marsh Crust is a layer of “hydrocarbon gunk” that Oakland Gas Light Company’s coal gasification plant discharged from about 1880 to 1910. The waste discharges went into what was then San Antonio Creek, and much of it settled on the nearby marshland where North Housing now sits.

Time lapse map showing former marshland where North Housing is now located. Source: US Geological Survey Historical Topographic Map Explorer.
Time lapse map showing former marshland where North Housing is now located. Source: US Geological Survey Historical Topographic Map Explorer.

The land was never cleaned up before being filled in for use as San Francisco Bay Aerodrome—hangars and two runways—from 1930 to 1941. The Marsh Crust extends from the Oakland Estuary to Bayport and over to central Alameda Point. A city ordinance requires a permit before digging into the Marsh Crust to ensure safe handling.

The 37-acre North Housing area lies adjacent to the new Alameda Landing residential neighborhood. The site currently contains 51 residential structures with 282 three- and four-bedroom units constructed in 1969.  With the possible exception of the two acres going to Habitat for Humanity, all of the units will be demolished to make way for new construction.

Future Housing Authority property, with new Alameda Landing houses in the background.
Future Housing Authority property, with new Alameda Landing houses in the background.

The Housing Authority will build 90 units of supportive housing that will include a community center.

It is not yet determined what Habitat for Humanity will do with its parcel. The private developer area is currently zoned for 315 units of multifamily residential housing and may exceed that number if the density bonus is applied for.

The transfer of properties is expected in 2016. The auctioning of the for-profit North Housing Navy property will follow, but no firm timeline has been announced.

Edited version of article first appearing in the Alameda Sun.

Appendix pelican graphic

Record of Decision Amendment for groundwater cleanup at OU5 – April 2015

North Housing amendment to NAS-Alameda Community Reuse Plan

Map showing two groundwater cleanup areas in OU-5.
Map showing two groundwater cleanup areas in OU-5.
Control module with pumps for groundwater cleanup system waiting to be hauled away from North Housing.
Control module with pumps for groundwater cleanup system waiting to be hauled away from North Housing.
Charcoal filter tank to remove benzene and naphthalene from groundwater vapors, waiting to be hauled away.
Charcoal filter tank to remove benzene and naphthalene from groundwater vapors, waiting to be hauled away.

North Housing

North Housing, Alameda

North Housing

Typical current condition of North Housing interiors.
Typical current condition of North Housing interiors.
Typical current condition of North Housing interiors. Photo date: November 19, 2015.
Typical current condition of North Housing interiors. Photo date: November 19, 2015.

Mosley Ave. right of way

Draft North Housing site map, with Mosley Avenue connection details. Click on map to enlarge.
Draft North Housing site map, with Mosley Avenue connection details. Click on map to enlarge.
1899 topographical map of western Alameda showing marshland. Source: US Geological Survey Historical Topographic Map Explorer.
1899 topographical map of western Alameda showing marshland. Source: US Geological Survey Historical Topographic Map Explorer.

Alameda Point Collaborative hosts luncheon down on the farm

Patrons seated themselves under a canopy between rows of crops at Alameda Point Collaborative’s farm for its fifth annual “Urban Farm Table” fundraising luncheon on Sunday, May 17. A guitar and stringed bass duo provided musical ambience for the arriving guests from within a nearby thicket of blossoming passion fruit vines. Bees went about their business from teeming beehives clinging to the branches of a fruit tree in the farm orchard. It was an earthy affair.

APC farm luncheon

The Collaborative provides supportive housing for homeless individuals, children and youth services, and job training programs, such as selling their farm produce through a subscription service, operating a commercial kitchen, and raising and selling plants at the Ploughshares Nursery.

Bryant Terry at APC farm luncheonNationally known author and sustainable food activist Bryant Terry gave the keynote address. He wove together personal memories of food and culture from the days before the phrase “slow food movement” was coined. Terry characterized APC’s local farm program as a radical idea in an era of corporate agribusiness that harms the environment and shortchanges consumers’ health.

Terry praised the Collaborative’s Farm2Market subscription produce program as a model that should be emulated throughout the country. “There are many urban neighborhoods where it’s easier to find a gun than a fresh apple,” he said. Terry is the author of the critically-acclaimed “Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine.”

Terry wrapped up his engaging talk about food and culture by preparing a simple veggie dish over a gas burner. While he was chopping and stirring, he offered a tip for anyone expecting dinner guests. He said no matter what you’re serving, throw some olive oil and garlic into a hot skillet before the guests arrive to get that aroma into the air. “They’ll compliment you every time, even if all you are serving is dessert.”

A cadre of snappily dressed servers delivered a two-course meal. The tricolored beet salad with pistachios, spring greens and radishes was topped with a roasted apricot and Point Reyes bleu cheese vinaigrette and accompanied by a slice of Rosemary focaccia.

Jeff Rosen at left in white.
Jeff Rosen at left in white.

The gourmet menu was created and supervised by Jeff Rosen, executive chef at Oakland’s Blue Heron Catering. All of the produce was grown at APC’s farm. Joe Pucci Seafood provided the local salmon. The featured beverages came from Rock Wall Wine Company, St. George Spirits, and Petitpot.

As each pan-roasted salmon entre was assembled, chef Rosen personally inspected each plate and spooned on the Tuscan salsa verde before it was hustled off to the table. The nine vegetarians enjoyed the chef’s fresh pea and green garlic cakes with shaved fennel.

Awards were handed out to volunteers and supporters from the Haas School of Business, Buena Vista United Methodist Church, Bay Farm Elementary School, and Alain Pinel Realtors.

The event was sponsored by Alameda Point Partners, Penumbra, SanMan Productions, VF Outdoor, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

Published in the Alameda Sun, May 21, 2015

News updates: Main St. neighborhood planning, Veteran Affairs project, ferry service

Alameda Point is on the cusp of a new era in civilian reuse. Plans for construction of residential neighborhoods and commercial space are taking form, alongside growing productive reuse of aircraft hangars. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is poised to begin the first phase of their $240 million clinic and columbarium project. In addition, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) is studying plans for accommodating their increasing ferry ridership.

Designing the Main Street neighborhood

Alameda Point zoning - Main St. neighborhood

At next Tuesday’s city council meeting, the council will be updated on the pending 68-acre Site A residential and retail plan. They will also consider authorizing an urban design firm to draft detailed plans for a 100-acre residential neighborhood along Main Street near the ferry terminal. Continue reading “News updates: Main St. neighborhood planning, Veteran Affairs project, ferry service”

Alameda Point gateway plan begins taking shape

At its January 20, 2015 meeting, the city council will weigh-in on the preliminary layout proposed by developer Alameda Point Partners (APP) for a 68-acre residential and commercial parcel between Main Street and the Seaplane Lagoon.

West Atlantic Avenue will be realigned as a four-lane divided street to the right of the big tree and become a continuation of Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway.  Main Street in foreground.
West Atlantic Avenue will be realigned as a four-lane divided street to the right of the big tree and become a continuation of Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway. Main Street in foreground.

APP was selected by the former city council on November 18, 2014, to work up a plan for 800 condos and apartments and 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The developer will also be responsible for changing the gateway street alignment from an oval to a straight line leading to a new public plaza at the Seaplane Lagoon. Continue reading “Alameda Point gateway plan begins taking shape”

Developers being sought for 150-acre gateway to Alameda Point

The city council will consider a staff proposal on April 15 to begin a major construction effort at the eastern entryway to Alameda Point, formerly known as the East Gate. The proposal seeks approval to solicit qualified developers for two parcels totaling 150 acres that would bring 800 new homes and a major sales tax generator.

West Atlantic Avenue on Alameda Point, looking west toward San Francisco.
West Atlantic Avenue on Alameda Point, looking west toward San Francisco.

The quest for developers is being proposed “in order to facilitate new residential and commercial mixed-use projects that are of a sufficient scale to support major infrastructure investment,” said Jennifer Ott, Chief Operating Officer for Alameda Point. “It will create a catalyst for additional new development and investment elsewhere” at Alameda Point.

The proposal seeks a single developer for an entire 68-acre parcel, dubbed Site A, which extends along West Atlantic Avenue from Main Street to the Seaplane Lagoon. It would feature a mixed-use, 800-home development that is consistent with the recently approved Town Center Waterfront Plan. The plan requires ground-floor retail along certain blocks and public plazas and amenities at the heart of the area.  Hotels and office development will also be highly encouraged.

Site B is composed of 82 acres in southeastern Alameda Point. Part of the site is within the commercial Enterprise Zone and part is within the Town Center Waterfront Plan area. Unlike Site A, the proposal for Site B will entertain multiple developers. “This approach allows the city to potentially attract interest from a large corporate user or retail outlet operator, who may not be interested in the entire area,” says the staff report. Preference will be given to developers who furnish letters of interest from a corporate user or retail outlet operator.

Area A, Area B - development areas

The staff report notes that significant early phases of development can commence around a 33-acre area that is undergoing environmental cleanup by the Navy. The groundwater cleanup area is not scheduled for transfer to the city until 2020. One of the early defining phases of development will be the realignment of West Atlantic Avenue so that Ralph Appezzato Parkway continues in a straight line to Ferry Point Road.

The staff proposal outlines an aggressive schedule, which calls for bringing a short list of developer candidates to the city council by September. In November, the council will be asked to approve exclusive negotiating agreements with developers. By the spring of 2015, the staff hopes to produce development contracts and development plans, with developers beginning their detailed site-specific infrastructure designs. By the end of 2015, the schedule calls for beginning infrastructure construction and drafting the building designs, according to Ott. By the spring and summer of 2016, the city hopes to see vertical construction.

West Atlantic Avenue Gateway to Alameda Point.  Area B begins at far side of lawn area where all new construction is proposed.   Looking south.
West Atlantic Avenue Gateway to Alameda Point. Area B begins at far side of lawn area where all new construction is proposed. Looking south.

Developers will be required to submit a project description, but will be expressly prohibited from submitting site plans or any design renderings of any proposed development. “The selection of the developers/users will be solely based on the qualifications of the developers/users and the quality of their submittal, including past projects, not on the quality of any design drawings purporting to show the future of Alameda Point,” says the staff report. “Submission of a site plan or renderings at this stage of the process will result in disqualification of the responding entity.”

“City staff also receives significant interest in, and is actively pursuing, other long-term investment opportunities, such as the recently approved Google lease, in the other areas of the base, especially in the Historic District,” said Ott.

Current plans call for 1,425 housing units at complete build-out of Alameda Point, 25% of which are required to be affordable.

The Tuesday, April 15 city council meeting will be held at 7 PM at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue, Council Chambers, 3rd Floor.  

The city staff report and agenda exhibits can be found here.

Proposed development areas A and B outlined on Navy land conveyance schedule map.
Proposed development areas A and B outlined on Navy land conveyance schedule map.
Area A new street grid.  See legend below.  Click on image to enlarge.
Area A new street grid. See legend below. Click on image to enlarge.
Proposed development Area B street grid.  See legend below.
Proposed development Area B street grid. See legend below.
Infrastructure legend for Areas A and B.
Infrastructure legend for Areas A and B.

Parkland and housing land coming soon from the Navy

Located between Alameda Point and Alameda Landing (where the new Target store has opened) is the Navy property known as North Housing.  After years of low-key planning efforts, the city will soon be the recipient of a beautiful new park, and eventually see over 400 new affordable and market rate housing units, including 90 Housing Authority units for formerly homeless individuals.

Estuary Park looking west.  Past the trees in the distance is the baseball field.
Estuary Park looking west. Past the trees in the distance is the baseball field.

A key administrative milestone was reached in August of 2013 when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) signed off on the city’s plan to accommodate homeless individuals.

The 42-acre Navy parcel sits directly adjacent to Alameda Landing’s future residential neighborhood.  It includes the 8-acre Estuary Park where a baseball field, soccer field, basketball court, perimeter trail, and an open meadow flanked by mature trees await minor sprucing up by our city’s Recreation and Park Department.

Existing housing units to be demolished

The site currently contains 51 residential structures:  39 six-plexes and 12 four-plexes for a total of 282 three- and four-bedroom units.  All of the buildings were constructed in 1969.  With the possible exception of the two acres going to Habitat for Humanity, all of the units will be demolished to make way for new construction, according to the city’s Interim Community Development Director Debbie Potter. 

Central open space at North Housing.  Looking north.
Central open space at North Housing. Looking north.

The 13 acres going to the city’s Housing Authority will have 90 units of new housing and two acres of open space.  Two acres will go to Habitat for Humanity.  The remaining 19 acres will be sold by the Navy to a private developer.

“The Reuse Plan notes the private housing developer could build 315 units,” said Potter.  After the Reuse Plan Amendment was prepared in 2008 and approved in 2009, the city certified a Housing Element in 2012 that rezoned this property to provide a Multi-Family Overlay zone, “so the number of units that could potentially be developed at this site is more than the 435 listed in the Plan,” Potter stated.   

One problem cited by Potter with trying to reuse the existing residences is that all of the multi-unit structures have single utility meters for the entire building.  To re-meter all the units with individual meters for electric, gas, and water would be expensive, according to Potter.

Typical North Housing multiplex military housing (vacant) constructed in 1969.
Typical North Housing multiplex military housing (vacant) constructed in 1969.

 “In addition,” said Potter, “the property is not laid out particularly efficiently, which is also a challenge.  North Housing has a multi-family overlay designation and it would be extremely difficult to take advantage of that zoning (30 units to the acre) with the current building layout,” she said.  “The only exception to all of this is that Habitat for Humanity East Bay has a Self-Help Housing Public Benefit Conveyance request pending with HUD which proposes an option of retaining 30-32 units to be renovated and sold as self-help housing.”

Housing Authority plays a key role

The Housing Authority will be partnering with the Alameda Point Collaborative and Building Futures with Women and Children who will provide services to residents of the Housing Authority’s 90 units.  A community center is planned.

Funding to build the Housing Authority’s homeless assistance units has not yet been identified.  However, Potter said she expects project financing would be packaged from a variety of sources, “with the primary funding coming from an award of Federal/State tax credits (equity raised through the sale of the tax credits to an investor),” she said.  “Other sources are most likely Federal HOME funds and dedicated housing authority funds the City receives as inclusionary housing in lieu fees and Affordable Housing fees paid by non-residential developers,” said Potter.

Alameda Housing Authority Director Mike Pucci has a good idea where the homeless housing will go, but is not ready to release a map.  “In our agreement that HUD has approved we did delineate a specific site comprising 13 acres, but a meets and bounds survey has yet to be conducted to establish it’s exact location,” said Pucci.

Checklist of regulations

The Navy completed its environmental review for the entire North Housing parcel in 2009 and issued a Finding of Suitability to Transfer (FOST) for Estuary Park.  A FOST for the housing area is awaiting decisions concerning Superfund cleanup issues early next year. 

The preparation of real estate transfer documents for just the park, however, could not proceed until HUD signed off on the city’s federally mandated homeless plan, according to the Navy’s Base Closure Manager Anthony Megliola.  “Now that HUD has made its determination, real estate documentation supporting the transfer is being prepared with transfer [of Estuary Park] planned in late 2013,” said Megliola. 

The remainder of the North Housing Parcel will be transferred in the 2015 timeframe, according to Megliola.   Factors include completing the cleanup actions for the benzene plume under part of the site, executing a Covenant to Restrict Use of Property (CRUP) with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, executing a Finding of Suitability to Transfer (FOST) document, and preparing required real estate conveyance documentation associated with transfer.  “Although the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment (EA) was completed in 2009, receipt of the August 14, 2013 letter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was required before the Navy could complete the disposal actions for the North Housing area,” said Megliola.

Area where the Navy has been cleaning up benzene contamination at North Housing area.
Area where the Navy has been cleaning up benzene contamination at North Housing area.

Earlier in 2013, the Navy submitted a request to regulatory agencies to discontinue their vapor extraction work on the benzene plume hotspots, saying that vapor intrusion into buildings was not a risk.  The benzene vapor pumps were turned off in the spring and a new round of interior vapor tests were conducted in some of the existing buildings.  Results of these tests and a decision on whether to continue running the cleanup pumps for a few more years or terminate the program will be made in early 2014. 

This former military housing site was originally to be conveyed to the Coast Guard and was not part of the city’s No-Cost Economic Conveyance deal with the Navy.  (The new homes at North Housing will be in addition to the 1,425 units in the no-cost conveyance deal for Alameda Point.)  Subsequently, the Coast Guard withdrew its request.  In November 2007, the Navy notified the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority that it was going to declare an additional 42 acres of NAS Alameda – the North Housing parcel  – as surplus property.

As part of its requirements as the local reuse authority, the city had to comply with the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act and reach out to homeless housing providers for proposals.  In March of 2009, the city made its recommendations to HUD for compliance with the McKinney Act, approving the proposals from Habitat for Humanity, and the Alameda Housing Authority/Alameda Point Collaborative/Building Futures with Women and Children.  They also recommended the Alameda Recreation and Park Department proposal to receive Estuary Park.  These proposals became amendments to the 1996 Community Reuse Plan for Naval Air Station-Alameda.

North Housing area.  Existing housing slated for demolition for create new, denser neighborhood.
North Housing area. Existing housing slated for demolition to create a new, denser neighborhood with public and private investment.
Estuary Park soccer field.  Looking east.  Alameda Landing and new Target store is past the tree line in the distance.
Estuary Park soccer field. Looking east. Alameda Landing is beyond the distant tree line.
Estuary Park baseball field.  Looking east.
Estuary Park baseball field. Looking east.
Estuary Park fall foliage.
Estuary Park fall foliage.
This stormwater basin was constructed by Catellus to serve the Bayport neighborhood.  It remains full year-round due to groundwater being continuously pumped from the special pumping station next to Shinsei Gardens.  Overflow is sent to the Oakland Estuary via another pump station.
This stormwater basin was constructed by Catellus to serve the Bayport neighborhood. It remains full year-round due to groundwater being continuously pumped from the special pumping station next to Shinsei Gardens. Overflow is sent to the Oakland Estuary via another pump station.