We all want what's best for Alameda

Editor:

This is in response to the May 2 letter to the editor, “Redirecting Alameda Point Efforts,” written by my friend Frank Matarrese. He was critical of the city’s planned development of Alameda Point and advocated no new housing. 

Suggesting that we have no new housing at Alameda Point is essentially advocating that we do not develop Alameda Point. 

I, too, would like to create more jobs and have more open space but I understand that this cannot be done without building new housing.  However, I would like to limit the number of new housing units as much as possible.  
There are also certain points in his letter that I would like to address and clarify. 

First, in the City Council debate that Matarrese mentioned, I was advocating to limit the number of new housing units at site A to 800, which is the minimum quantity required for a residential/commercial mixed use project to work. 

Any unit over the 800 cap will have a $50,000 penalty. It is just not financially feasible to develop Alameda Point without new 
housing.  

Approximately $600 million of infrastructure costs will be required to develop Alameda Point and transform it to a vibrant community.  This cannot be funded solely by expanding open space nor developing commercial buildings.

Second, the historic bachelor quarters are too costly to reuse or renovate.  We actually considered this and offered them to the Veterans Administration but they declined after determining that it is cheaper for them to build a new facility.

Third, the city’s Economic Development Commission no longer exists but this City Council has long been working on initiatives to attract new businesses and solidify current ones.

We all want what’s best for the city of Alameda, including having more jobs, more open space,  smooth-flowing traffic and we all recognize the value of Alameda Point.  

This City Council is responding to the community’s desire to develop Alameda Point and is trying to do it with the least number of new housing units possible.

 

— Stewart Chen Councilmember