Former Del Monte Warehouse Redevelopment Plans Revealed

A representative of Tim Lewis Communities addresses the substantial crowd at a specially held tour of the Del Monte Warehouse for members of the Planning and Historical Advisory boards as well as the public last Wednesday, April 23. Photo by Michael Schiess

Members of the Planning Board and the Alameda community were able to review details of the Master Plan for the rehabilitation, reuse, and redevelopment of the former Del Monte Warehouse 1501 Buena Vista Ave. at the Planning Board meeting last Monday, April 28. 

The Master Plan laid out in detail the project’s configurations regarding the number of housing units, parking arrangements and possible commercial property locations at the site. The 11.5-acre site will include at least 309, but up to 414 housing units and as much as 25,000 square feet of commercial space.

One of the major concerns with the project is available parking. The plan will have 309 parking spots within the Del Monte Warehouse to be shared by residents, 134 additional spots on grade or outside the garage to be shared by residents and visitors and 60 existing parking spaces along Clement and Buena Vista avenues to be shared by residents and the public.

 
With 503 available parking spaces and possibly 414 housing units, combined with the patrons visiting the proposed commercial properties, parking could overflow into residential neighborhoods near the site.

“The people living in the immediate neighborhood were very concerned about this project, and that its parking shortage would result in a great increase in street parking,” said Alameda resident Kevin Barrett. “There will also be some 25,000 square feet for retail use. There was no discussion about where the patrons of these retail shops would park.” 

Parking can also be an issue for renters and homeowners. Residents will be able to purchase parking spots, but if there are fewer parking spaces available than housing units, a hierarchy will determine who gets the remaining parking spaces.
“In cases where there are fewer parking spaces than units, the parking spaces shall be offered to the potential buyers or renters of the largest units first,” stated the Master Plan. 

TLC was faced with the challenge of transforming the former Del Monte site into a mixed-use property, while maintaining its historical preservation status. The property is one of 31 designated Alameda city monuments, according to a memo from the city planner Andrew Thomas. 

To ensure that the proposal meets Secretary of Interior Standards for the rehabilitation of historic structures, the project team includes Christopher VerPlanck, of VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting. 

In Verplank’s report he said the visibility of the addition would be minimized by virtue of the existing building’s sprawling footprint, which allows the addition to be set back 60 feet from the north and south façades and 250 feet from the east and west facades, rendering it invisible in the east and west and minimizing its visibility from the north and south. This is one of several reasons he believes the renovated site will keep its historical preservation status.

The proposed project would make several modifications to the exterior of the building, including demolishing the non-historic 1950s-era storage and labeling shed at the northwest corner of the site and “re-skinning” the outer two sections (bays 1 and 4) of the roof to allow code-required light and air into the building. 

Fifty new openings would be punched into the exterior walls at the first floor level. 

The plans calls for 4 percent of all housing units designated for very low-income households, 4 percent for low-income households and 7 percent for moderate-income households regardless of the number of housing units built.

The building was built in 1927 for the California Packing Corp., the 1,000-foot long warehouse was used by the company after it became Del Monte through the 1960s. Efforts to transform the property have been underway for more than a decade.  

Another meeting will be scheduled for later this month to further discuss the site plan. TLC hopes to begin construction in 2015 and have the property ready to rent out by 2017.

In an effort to answer any concerns residents and members of the Planning or Historical Advisory boards, TLC held a special tour of the Del Monte Wednesday, April 23. 

Contact Ekene Ikeme at eikeme@alamedasun.com.

Folks gather to hear from developers under the impressive exposed wooden beams at the Del Monte warehouse, left. Above, the plan shows the center of the warehouse converted to a four-story apartment building. Photo by Maurice Ramirez