Proposed redevelopment of Alameda Marina reaches milestone



ALAMEDA — A proposal to dramatically transform the Alameda Marina with up to 760 townhomes and apartments was unanimously supported by the Planning Board on Tuesday.

The City Council is expected to consider the project along the Oakland Estuary in July.

As well as housing, the project calls for 250,000 square feet of maritime commercial space and about four acres of public open space along the shoreline, including providing a future portion of the San Francisco Bay Trail. There also would be a 530-slip marina.

“We think it’s a great investment in our maritime lands,” said Andrew Thomas, the city’s assistant community development director. “We think it’s our obligation to build housing. We think the public open space will be a great benefit to the community.”

The 44-acre site at 1815 Clement Ave. currently has dry storage for boats, parking spots for recreational vehicles and some light industrial businesses. But much of its shoreline breakwaters, bulkheads and piers — built in the 1940s — have deteriorated, which helped spur the redevelopment plan.

“It will remove contamination left on the site by past industrial activity, and that protects Alameda’s air, water and soil, as well as the health of its residents,” said Sarah Sieloff, executive director of the Center for Creative Land Recycling, an Oakland nonprofit, about the project.

Some 103 of the apartments would be designated as affordable.

It is anticipated that about two-thirds of the project’s overall units will be rentals, while one-third will be owner-occupied.

Pacific Shops Inc. owns the site, except for 17 acres along the estuary and submerged that are owned by the city of Alameda, Thomas said.

An overall price tag for the ambitious project was not available. But about $57 million in infrastructure upgrades, including repairs to the breakheads, are planned, according to the Alameda Marina Development Company.

At least $20 million will be invested in the city-owned area through financing secured by Pacific Shops, Thomas said.

“The consequences of the city not moving forward with this plan are rather grim,” he said. “These 17 acres have experienced significant deferred maintenance. This project will fund improvements to the marina facilities, to the marina and boatyard infrastructure.”

Jim Sweeney, a community activist and Alameda resident since 1972, said the marina should remain solely a working boatyard.

“The location is a bad location to add substantial housing, given its historic character,” Sweeney said.

Dorothy Freeman, another resident, said the proposed housing would block views of the estuary and Oakland hills and would generate too much traffic.

She called for a study of the traffic expected at the Alameda Marina to be done in context with other projects along the city’s northern waterfront, which include the more than 300 lofts, flats and townhomes planned at the former Del Monte warehouse on Buena Vista Avenue.

The environmental impact report for the Alameda Marina, which the Planning Board approved Tuesday along with its master plan, found that there would be “significant, unavoidable impacts” on transportation, Thomas said.

But he noted that the finding reflects other EIRs for housing projects in the city, and that the document recommended buses, ferries and other transportation methods be used as incentives to get people to not use cars.



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