Last Friday afternoon, the pilot of ABC’s news helicopter Sky7 decided to take a spin over Alameda Point. What he saw and his helicopter photographed set the aeronautics community buzzing. “SKY7 spots stealthy space startup testing its rocket in Alameda,” the headline announced over Channel 7 reporter Jonathan Bloom’s story.
The Alameda Sun learned from Bloom’s report that the folks behind that rocket test worked for Astra Space. The company designs, tests, manufactures and operates next-generation launch services.
Natel, a company at Alameda Point, is developing small-scale turbines that can harness water flow to produce electricity without a dam. Rivers have been harnessed for the production of electricity since 1882. That’s when the world’s first hydroelectric dam was built across the Fox River in Appleton, Wisc. But dams are costly public works projects with negative environmental consequences, including the flooding of vast watersheds and blocking fish migration.
Point tenant plans to design next-generation power plant
The underground infrastructure at Alameda Point may be old and in need of replacement, but many of the Navy’s industrial and civic buildings were built to last centuries. One of those buildings is Building 9, a former records warehouse on West Tower Avenue right across the street from the Bladium that is rock solid and worth rehabiltating.
Part of the vacant military housing near Alameda Landing formerly known as North Housing fetched a winning auction bid of $38 million.
In order to complete the sale, the current “government” zoning designation must be removed. At the same time, the city recommends removing the government zoning from two adjacent parcels that will soon be transferred to the Alameda Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity. The residential, multifamily zoning will remain intact.
The Navy has completed the final round of inspections and cleanup of the last traces of the radioactive metal called Radium-226 in Building 5 at Alameda Point. The aircraft hangar complex is where the Navy refurbished its planes, including repainting tiny instrument dials, switches, and markers with glow-in-the-dark paint that contained radium.
Radium is a naturally occurring element found in miniscule amounts in soil and water posing no health risk. Its risk comes from ingesting the element regularly, such as in industrial settings.
The City of Alameda recently closed escrow on the sale of the 50,000-square-foot Building 91 at West Tower Avenue and Pan Am Way on Alameda Point, across West Tower from the powertrain manufacturer Wrightspeed. The transaction marks the city’s first successful sale of property for private development at the Point. The commercial developer is currently restoring the 73-year-old former storage facility for modern-day commercial use.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Alameda Point healthcare facility and columbarium will eliminate about 12 acres of existing wetlands on the runways at Alameda Point. The federal Clean Water Act requires that the VA compensate the city for the adverse effects that this loss will have on its project.
Alameda Naval Air Museum’s (ANAM) motto — “Come see history in your own backyard” — will have special meaning this Saturday, April 1. The museum invites everyone young and old to visit Alameda Point, where they can look to the skies around 11:45 a.m. to witness a B-25 flying over the former Naval Air Station. The historical aircraft is making its appearance to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the departure of the USS Hornet CV-8 from Alameda Naval Air Station on April 1, 1942, to begin the Doolittle Raid.
Cleanup of contaminated groundwater between Alameda Point’s Seaplane Lagoon and Main Street is about to begin. The Navy will present its plan for doing so at this evening’s Restoration Advisory Board meeting. The meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall West, 950 West Mall Square.
At this meeting, the Navy will also review the longterm and costly maintenance plan for the soil cover over the underground dump at the northwestern tip of Alameda Point: an area to become city property and eventually part of a regional park.