Council Approves Two Alameda Point Housing Projects

City of Alameda -- A rendering of the proposed RESHAP project at Alameda Point.
City of Alameda -- A rendering of the proposed RESHAP project at Alameda Point.

Council Approves Two Alameda Point Housing Projects

At its July 18 meeting, the Alameda City Council voted to approve the RESHAP and West Midway housing development projects.

The two housing developments will be adjacent to one another at Alameda Point. The RESHAP project, which stands for Rebuilding Existing Supportive Housing at Alameda Point (RESHAP), consists of 309 permanent supportive housing units on an eight-acre campus at the corner of West Midway Avenue and Pan Am Way. The units will be for extremely low to low-income households. The West Midway project consists of 478 housing units, most of which at market-rate, on approximately 26 acres between West Tower Avenue, West Midway, Main Street and Pan Am.

The RESHAP project is being developed by MidPen Housing Corporation and the Collaborating Partners, a partnership between Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), Operation Dignity, and Building Futures with Women and Children. The West Midway Project is being developed by BC West Midway LLC (BC), a joint venture between Brookfield Bay Area Development Holdings LLC and Catellus Development Corporation.

The council discussed the two projects as a joint item at the meeting. To approve the joint project, the council voted on three ordinances. First, the council unanimously approved a motion to declare the city-owned land where the projects will be built, “exempt surplus land,” under the Surplus Lands Act. This allowed the city to convey the land to MidPen and BC. Next, the council approved the joint project’s California Environmental Quality Act guidelines, 4-1, with Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer voting "no".

The final motion combined both projects’ disposition and development agreement (DDA), development agreement (DA), a budget amendment for the RESHAP project, and exclusive negotiating agreement between the city and the West Midway project’s developers. The motion also passed, 4-1, with Spencer casting the lone dissenting vote.

The DDA states the city agrees to convey the land to the two project developers, while the DA, among other things, states the city will vest the projects to the developers for 10 years. This means that any future changes in city codes, regulations, standards or fees that conflict with the projects’ approvals will not apply for 10 years.

The budget amendment for the RESHAP project includes a $9.5 million loan to BC from the Fund 290 residual fund balance, the Alameda Point Fund. BC agreed to prepare approximately four acres of the eight-acre RESHAP property for construction.

BC will repay the loan, prime plus one percent, after they begin construction of the West Midway project. Without the loan, BC would not start the RESHAP project until they decide the market conditions are favorable to begin work on the market-rate West Midway Project, according to a city staff report. Under the terms of the West Midway DDA, market conditions could delay the start of the West Midway project until 2027. With the loan, work on RESHAP is guaranteed to begin in 2023. Spencer questioned why the city would agree to the loan.

“Before [market-rate developers] were not allowed to build or start selling the market rate until the affordable was done,” said Spencer. “This is the first time I know that the city is actually making a loan to finance the supportive housing in hopes of at some point the market rate will be sold and someday the city will be repaid.”

Alameda resident Todd Hickman voiced disapproval of the city using the Alameda Point Fund as a loan to developers.

“We have our 290 funds being leveraged, being hijacked by this council,” said Hickman during the public comment section of the meeting. “Those are for base reuse. And now you're going to risk our funds with these developers that could go out of business.”

City of Alameda outside counsel Karen M. Tiedemann said the city does have assurances in place to retrieve repayment of the loan.

“The developers have to provide a payment guarantee from their parent corporations,” said Tiedemann. “So should they not pay, we would be able to collect on that payment guarantee.”

There were more than 20 public speakers. Most of the public commenters were in support of the project.

“It’s quite an accomplishment for Alameda to be the first city in the Bay Area to approve their Housing Element,” said Matt Reagan. “But as we all know getting the plan approved means nothing unless you approve the units afterwards. You have a phenomenal project here.”

The RESHAP project has been in the works since 2015. In 2021, after joint site planning and consideration, city staff and the developers determined to relocate the RESHAP campus from Main Street at the periphery of Alameda Point to Pan Am Way. The planning Board approved both projects in May (, May 23). The first APC building of the RESHAP project is scheduled to be complete by next year.