Alameda Point is Poised to Deliver

Since the Alameda Naval Air Station closed in 1997 and the Alameda community lost more than 15,000 jobs, developers have come and gone with their ideas of what Alameda Point should become. Recently, the city took control of the planning process and worked closely with the community to document and adopt the community’s vision of what it wants to see at the former base: a mixed-use transit-oriented community that replaces lost jobs and creates world-class waterfront park amenities.

Over the last two years, the Alameda community, City Council, Planning Board and city staff have worked together to prepare the necessary planning documents for Alameda Point. These include a zoning amendment, master infrastructure plan, environmental impact report, transportation demand management plan and a waterfront town center plan. These were accomplished through an extensive community process and include:

 Preparation of a planning guide for Alameda Point, which re-confirmed and updated the community priorities for the redevelopment of Alameda Point consistent with the 1996 Community Reuse Plan, which emphasized jobs and limited housing development. The planning guide was endorsed by the Planning Board on July 8, 2013, and endorsed by the City Council on July 23, 2013.

 Approximately 30 public hearings, public workshops and public presentations with the City Council, Planning Board, Transportation Commission, Historical Advisory Board, Recreation and Parks Commission and the Commission on Disability Issues. Discussions on topics ranged from traffic impacts and sea-level rise to historic preservation and protected bikeways.

 Nineteen presentations to community groups, with close to 700 people attending.

 Ten community events involving approximately 450 people, including a bike tour of Alameda Point attended by over 130 people.

 Email blasts announcing upcoming meetings and opportunities for involvement reaching over 10,000 people.

 Facebook posts and Twitter feeds with over 4,000 hits to followers.

 Numerous front-page articles and advertisements in Alameda’s newspapers, as well as announcements on the city website.

On Feb. 4, after this vigorous and extensive community process, the City Council approved the zoning amendment, master infrastructure plan and environmental impact report for Alameda Point at a public hearing with more than 20 public speakers, none of whom spoke against the project.

On May 20, after thorough review by the Planning Board and Transportation Commission, the City Council approved the transportation demand management plan for Alameda Point.

On July 1, after an in-depth review by the Planning Board, the City Council approved the waterfront town center plan.

Once the City Council approved these documents and set the community’s vision for Alameda Point in place, the City issued requests for qualifications from developers interested in implementing that vision for a 68-acre mixed-use development site within the Waterfront Town Center Area (Site A).

In September, the City Council narrowed the field of qualified developers for Site A down to two finalists. The city then held an open house for the community to meet the developer finalists. More than 100 people attended the open house.

On Nov. 18, city staff will recommend that the City Council take the first step in implementing the community’s vision by entering into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the highly qualified Alameda Point Partners (APP) as a potential development partner for Site A. The selection of APP for Site A will not be finalized until:

1) The Planning Board approves a development plan after numerous public meetings and a thorough community process.

2) The City Council approves an agreement, which outlines all of the terms of development. This will not happen until late spring 2015 at the earliest.

The terms in the exclusive negotiating agreement already agreed to by Alameda Point Partners focus on Site A development bringing upfront transit infrastructure, such as dedicated bus rapid transit lanes and a new ferry terminal, to Alameda Point before any new development occurs; constructing utilities that serve the entire Alameda Point property that will catalyze employment uses in the adjacent adaptive reuse and enterprise areas; and funding near-term sports fields and waterfront park amenities for the entire Alameda community.

While important final steps still need to be vetted by the community before they can be taken, after more than 15 years after the Alameda Naval Air Station closed, Alameda Point is finally poised to deliver on its promise to start fulfilling the community’s vision.

Jennifer Ott is the chief operating officer at Alameda Point