During August, an art sculpture was placed in the street median at the so-called gateway location, another in the Seaplane Lagoon waterfront park.
These two projects satisfy the city’s public art requirement in the development deal for Site A, which stipulated that the developer spend $300,000 on public art. The budget for the gateway artwork was $100,000, and $200,000 for the waterfront park project.
In order to select its artists, the developer, Alameda Point Partners, conducted a Request for Qualifications process for the two sites at Alameda Point. The process generated 172 submissions, which were reviewed by an evaluation panel of six Alameda community members, design professionals, and stakeholders. The panel then selected seven finalists to create proposals, offering an honorarium of $1,500 to each finalist. After reviewing the proposals, the panel conducted one round of follow-up questions before making their selections.
An amendment to the California Surplus Lands Act that went into effect in January 2020 brought long-term leasing and land sales at Alameda Point to a screeching halt for two years. The new law mandated that no government-owned land could be sold, or leased for more than a year, without first offering the land to affordable housing providers on a state clearinghouse. After the city listed six initial sites on the clearinghouse, the process ended in January 2022 without yielding one single unit of additional housing of any type.
In an effort to remedy the flawed law, Assembly Member Mia Bonta has introduced legislation to exempt Alameda Point from the process, citing the agreement with the Navy to follow the community base reuse plan. Under the current process, it forces Alameda to entertain ad hoc changes, such as offering to place housing in job-generating commercial zones. The Community Reuse Plan for Alameda Point adopted in 1996 spells out the types of uses for all of the areas, and the Navy has been conducting environmental cleanup based on those agreed-upon uses.
A new state law that took effect in January 2020 has stymied the City’s plan for commercial development on a plot of land at Alameda Point. Assembly Bill No. 1486 requires cities, counties, special districts, and the state to first offer any and all “surplus” land to affordable housing developers before it can be leased for more than one year or sold. This legislation amended the Surplus Lands Act and, unbeknownst to the city when they supported the bill, swept in former military bases.
The city had received proposals from 10 commercial developers as a result of its marketing campaign in 2019. Each applicant was willing to pay at least the minimum listing price of $36.5 million for 22 acres in the Enterprise District and provide a construction timeline. The acreage is within the larger commercial and light industrial zone adjacent to Main Street, and includes the self-storage facilities. This new law meant that the City was unable to proceed with the selection process.
“It’s ironic,” said Nanette Mocanu, Assistant Director of Base Reuse & Community Development. “The City is a proponent for affordable housing and supported this legislation. We and many other communities were caught off guard when the legislation was applied to leasing and base reuse properties,” said Mocanu. “Cities across the state are working to find solutions to the unintended consequences of this legislation.”
Construction workers at Alameda Point’s Site A residential and commercial project offer a sign of hope for the future as they continue building a new neighborhood. Construction work is exempt from the stay-at-home orders during the Covid 19 pandemic. Workers must observe the distancing directives from health officials.
On Monday, December 9, 2019, the Planning Board will consider approving changes to the Waterfront Park and Block 11 at Site A at Alameda Point that were previously approved in 2016 “in an effort to reduce escalating construction costs and long term maintenance costs for both the building and the park.” The City has already granted numerous modifications to the development agreement, with good reasons. The current request does not merit approval because it would cheapen the waterfront focal point. Continue reading “Developer proposes changes that would cheapen waterfront area”
On December 9, 2019, Alameda Point Partners, the developer of 68-acre Site A at Alameda Point, will ask the Planning Board to approve changes for two areas: one residential and commercial block and part of the Waterfront Park. The change in plans includes making the residential units smaller and adding landscaping.
The developer wants to “reduce escalating construction costs and long term maintenance costs for both the building and the park,” wrote Allen Tai, City Planner, in the staff report. The developer wants to reduce the approved size of the residential/commercial building on Block 11 next to the Seaplane Lagoon from 453,452 square feet to 377,318 square feet, without reducing the overall number of residential units.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) staff are in the early stages of planning for a second tube across San Francisco Bay. One of the routes being considered is under Alameda and would bring with it at least one station. It could also bring Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor train service running in tandem with BART trains across the Bay.
Before any plans are drafted, the transit agency must first determine the amount of ridership the transit system will serve in the decades ahead. To get there, BART is looking at more than just the traditional 9-county region. They are looking at projected transit needs of a 21-county mega-region stretching from Placerville to Monterey. And standard-gauge rail agencies, like Amtrak, have become a partner in BART’s planning effort. Continue reading “BART station may come to Alameda Point”