Board Approves Moving Forward on Cove Project

Board Approves Moving Forward on Cove Project


The City of Alameda Planning Board has recommended that the zoning designation for a site housing a 78,000-square-foot former federal government facility on Central Avenue be amended to create a wellness center for homeless seniors. The recommendation was made at the Monday, Oct. 8, Planning Board meeting.

Currently, the land has a zoning designation of Administrative-Professional (A-P) District, with a Special Government Combining District (G) Overlay, according to a city memorandum. The proposed project will remove the G Overlay designation. Also, there will be a General Plan amendment to change the land-use designation from Federal Facilities to Office. The A-P district designation allows for medical facilities and clinics, rest homes, nursing homes, convalescent homes and sanitariums — all consistent with future plans for the property.

The property, which is owned by the federal government, was constructed in 1942 to support a training facility and barracks for the U.S. Maritime service during World War II. The building is being leased by Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) to create the McKay Wellness Center. 

APC Executive Director Doug Biggs said the center would consist of 90 housing units for formerly homeless individuals including some with “complex and chronic medical and psychosocial conditions.” The facility will also include a 50-bed medical respite center, a resource center to help recently homeless Alameda residents locate housing and a 7,000-square-foot primary care clinic for outpatient services.

City staff supports the plan because it satisfies some of Alameda’s General Plan Housing Element goals. Goal number two of the plan aims to “provide housing that meets the City’s diverse housing needs, specifically including affordable housing, special needs housing and senior housing.” The center also received approval from residents and the City of Alameda Social Service Human Relations Board at the meeting. 

However, members of Friends of Crab Cove — a collaborative organization consisting of persons representing neighborhoods, businesses and schools adjacent to the main entrance to Crab Cove Regional Park — disapprove of the center, which will be located at 620 Central Ave. down McKay from the Crab Cove Visitor Center. Members who spoke at the board meeting cite safety concerns for their disapproval. Members are gathering signatures to get a measure on the ballot to change the zoning designation to Open Space, which will prevent the formation of the wellness center. Biggs told the board that he believes the facility will be safe. 

City Council will vote whether to approve the project in December.