Marriott Residence Inn Before Planning Board
Marriott Residence Inn Before Planning Board
Nov. 26 meeting canceled, all agenda items rescheduled for Dec. 10
On Aug. 28, Harbor Bay Hospitality, LLC, with HGRA Architects submitted an application and design review to allow the construction of the Marriott Harbor Bay Residence Inn, a hotel and restaurant-cafe at 2900 Harbor Bay Parkway on the Esplanade next to the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal.
The Planning Board scheduled an Oct. 8 meeting to review the plans for the hotel. At that meeting staff told the applicant to improve the hotel’s design by simplifying it. After reviewing the plans the Planning Board and city staff said that the hotel’s “overall design seems to be a collection of parts, as opposed to a cohesive design for a single building.” Staff worked with the applicant and the architect to provide what staff called “a pleasing and attractive architectural design for the hotel building.”
“The objective for the Esplanade project has always been to create a waterfront development with a ‘family’ of buildings with consistent waterfront setback and compatible architectural designs,” staff informed the applicant. Staff pointed out that the designs of the Esplanade’s McGuire & Hester and Stacie Witbeck buildings were “simple, but elegant.
A lagoon and residential neighborhood border the site to the north. The property fronts onto Shoreline Park and San Francisco Bay to the south. Neighbors have expressed their opposition to the project. The applicant was scheduled to present its new design plans at the Planning Board’s next meeting on Monday, Nov. 26.
However, staff reported that it “received a number of emails requesting that the Planning Board delay action on this application to give the neighbors more time to consider the project.” On Nov. 19, the Planning Board received a request from the applicant to delay the matter. The Planning Board approved the request and canceled its Nov. 26 meeting.
Opponents point to negative impacts on property values. Brian Tremper, president of the Freeport Homeowners’ Association, says that members of his association want more time to review the project. “This hotel is a radical departure from the plan presented to us for the Esplanade and deserves a thorough review and discussion,” he states in a letter in today’s Sun (“Open letter to Planning Board”).
In a press release the developer announced that it was asking for a rescheduling “to account for the Thanksgiving holiday and allow additional time for the community to study the staff report and project plans.” In the release the developer pointed out advantages to having the hotel at the Esplanade. These include: new, shared 112 parking spaces with ferry riders; $1.5 million in tax revenue to the City of Alameda; as well as 85 new permanent jobs and 250 construction jobs in the city.
The design review will now come before the board at its Monday, Dec. 10 meeting.
According to the staff report, at this meeting, the project’s architect and owner will present changes that include: a lighter color palette, fewer large “floating frames” on the elevations and removal of the single balcony on the north elevation. The new design will also feature the addition of four-story-high art on the east and west side elevations and a sculpture on the hotel grounds.
In contrast to this project’s pending approval, Ram Hotels twice applied to build a waterfront hotel at 2350 Harbor Bay Parkway, not far from the proposed Marriott’s Harbor Bay Residence Inn. The San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission (BCDC) voted to deny Ram Hotels’ application in February 2017.
Esplanade Plan Timeline
- Feb. 25, 2008: Planning Board approved the original Esplanade Development Plan for the site located west of the intersection of Harbor Bay Parkway and Bay Edge Road and east of the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal. This approval allowed the construction of 10 office buildings totaling 109,000 square feet on the 9.22 acre Esplanade site.
- May 26, 2015: Planning Board approved a development plan amendment and design to allow the construction of a 22,868-square-foot office building in lieu of two 10,400-square-foot office buildings originally approved in 2008. This approval left 5.5 of the 9.2 acres vacant.
- Aug 28, 2018: Harbor Bay Hospitality, LLC, submitted an application for a development plan amendment and design review to allow the construction of the Marriott Harbor Bay Residence Inn, a hotel and restaurant-cafe on the remaining 5.5 acres
- Oct. 8, 2018: Planning Board held a study session to review the proposed hotel development. The Board provided staff and the applicant with direction on the architecture, development plan and parking for the project.
- Dec. 10, 2018: Planning Board is scheduled to review the revised plans, which HGRA Architects and the applicant executed in accordance to the directions provided following the Oct. 8 meeting.