Members of the City Council and interested community members braved strong winds and torrential downpours to get a first-hand look at what the future holds for the city’s northern waterfront. The caravan-style tour wended its way to Alameda Marina, Encinal Terminal, Alameda Landing and North Housing at Estuary Park.
The demolition of 16 former Navy apartment buildings at Alameda Point has begun. On Jan. 5, the City Council awarded a $547,000 contract to Asbestos Management Group of Oakland. The buildings are on Orion Street, West Tower Avenue, Stardust Place and Pearl Harbor Road. Demolition began this week and is expected to be completed within 60 days. Alameda Point base reuse funds are paying for the demolition.
The Navy’s cleanup program has not only removed toxic substances from below ground, it has dramatically improved some of the above-ground environment by creating new native grassland and wetlands. January rains filled the Navy’s new seasonal wetland on the northwest shoreline corner of Alameda Point and fostered growth of newly planted native grass seed on the surrounding soil.
The Planning Board and the public will have a chance to review and comment on three key elements of Site A at the board’s Monday, Feb. 22 meeting: Block 8, Block 11 and the parks.
Block 8 Plans
Block 8, which contains 128 apartments for low-income families and seniors, would stand on the north side of Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway (today’s West Atlantic Avenue). The senior building’s main entrance to senior housing would be immediately across the street from the A-7B Corsair II jet at today’s East Gate.
Wharves, shoreline to be made available to Alameda
The City Council is set to approve a resolution that would allow the city to accept phase two of the conveyance agreement that the city negotiated with the United States Navy. Phase two comprises 183.44 acres of land at Alameda Point: nine parcels with 29.83 acres of uplands and two parcels with 153.61 acres of submerged land.
On Monday, Jan. 11, the city of Alameda Planning Board will hold two public workshops regarding Alameda Point Site A. The workshops will consider a design review for both Block 8 affordable housing, and for a waterfront park along the Seaplane Lagoon. Staff is seeking feedback from the community and Planning Board members to inform any design revisions. The public is invited to join the discussion at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, located on the third floor of City Hall at 2263 Santa Clara Ave., and be part of the planning process.
The Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) is aiming for the delivery of a new dock for harbor seals at Alameda Point as early as April, ahead of the start of construction of its new ferry maintenance facility this summer.
Because the maintenance facility’s new berthing dock would displace the seals’ current resting spot, a provision was approved for a new harbor seal dock as a condition for permitting the new facility. WETA, the City Council, and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) approved the provision at the urging of community activists.
Pres. Barack Obama’s 2016 budget proposal includes $70 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic and columbarium at Alameda Point. If approved by Congress, the money would go toward site work, utilities, geotechnical work, and wetlands mitigation. But the VA is facing a backlash in Congress over an astronomical cost overrun of nearly $1 billion at its new hospital facility being built in Aurora, Colo., near Denver. Whether this will affect Alameda Point is yet to be seen.
After 18 years, construction can begin at former base
At its July 7 meeting the City Council, by a vote of 5 to 0, passed the ordinance that will allow Alameda Point Partners, LLC, to proceed with developing Site A. The ordinance takes effect on Aug. 6.
Alameda Point Partners — comprised of srmERNST Development Partners, Madison Marquette and Thompson Dorfman Partners — should begin work on the project next July making infrastructure improvements. Work on the development will take 14 years, with completion scheduled for 2030.
Alameda Point is a scenic attraction for many. As the former Naval Air Station, it holds the USS Hornet Museum, popular paths for joggers and picturesque views of the Bay. The Point is not only a tranquil spot for people, it is a place where harbor seals have inhabited undisturbed for at least 17 years. However, recently, that could have changed without the help of the seal-loving community.