New Webster Project Aired Last Monday
Long-disused parking lot may become retail, apartments
“This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for,” the real estate agent representing the seller of the property at 1435 Webster St. promised prospects. “Large vacant corner commercial lot (the long-shuttered parking lot at Taylor Avenue and Webster Street). Available for current or future development.”
The property closed escrow in 2014 and now Oakland-based Dannan Development wants to take advantage of the promised opportunity. On Monday, Feb. 21, Dannan appeared before the Planning Board seeking approval to replace the .34-acre (14,210 square-foot) parking lot with a three-story mixed-use building.
Dannan told the board that the structure “would consist of nine residential units, including two affordable units; 4,700 square feet of ground floor commercial space facing Webster Street; and 18 off-street parking spaces behind the building.
The two-bedroom, two-bath affordable units would each measure some 1,100 square feet, while six two-bedroom, two-bath market-rate units would have from 1,100 to 1,350 square feet. Dannan would crown its creation with a two-story, three-bedroom, two-bath unit with 1,925 square feet.
Dannan pointed out that the project conforms to the city’s 2005 Webster Street Business District Strategic Plan, which includes retail development, marketing, parking and public improvement. The 2005 plan led to the creation of Webster Street Vision 2010, in which West Alameda Business Association (WABA) members and other stakeholders identified several fundamental concerns, including redevelopment of underutilized property like the parking lot at Webster Street and Taylor Avenue.
The 2010 plan pointed to the “Taylor Parking Lot” as the “best new infill opportunity.” It called the lot the “ideal size to accommodate ground floor retail uses with housing above. Surface parking would be in the rear, screened from view.”
Dannan proposes to include 18 off-street parking spaces to lease to the building’s tenants. The developer pointed out to the Planning Board members that seven on-street public metered spaces currently exist in front of the building. The developer also stated that it would provide 20 annual AC Transit passes to the residents.
Dannan told the board members that it is aware the project’s 18 spaces fall three spaces short of the parking requirement for the project pursuant to the Alameda Parking Code. However the code does permit the Planning Board to approve the three-space reduction if the developer provides residents with the bus passes.
Staff has reviewed the building’s design along with comments from members of WABA and the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society. Staff pointed out that architectural elevations for the building could be improved through changes to materials, colors, window details, cornice design and storefront details. Staff has also recommended that the city hold public hearings on the project.