You want to know what led to the the beachfront at South Shore looking the way that it does? Look no further than the City Council meeting from Tuesday night. Essentially we have created the draft for a “vision” for the Town Center portion of Alameda Point. I means it’s really not much of a vision other a few form based codes, very general zoning, some height limits, and open space requirements. That’s it. As long as the developer doesn’t violate anything in the “Precise Plan” then it’s open season.
The agreement from last night’s meeting was to open this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), not proposals, because we don’t want to see what people might do, we just want someone who has the financial ability and the past history to have been able to do something to build anything.
Given the scope of the RFQ and the limitations placed on the developers, it’s HIGHLY unlikely that we’re going to get anything visionary, innovative, or special. And given the constrained time line (six months) it’s even less likely we’re going to get anyone of quality and we’ll just get some cookie cutter developer that has some plan they’ve tried out elsewhere that they think they might be able to shoe horn at Alameda Point.
I guess given the conclusion of negotiations with Charles Co. the City is now looking for someone else to signal their interest in Alameda Point, specifically the Town Center portion of Alameda Point. Tonight’s City Council agenda refers to the start of the RFP process for two parcels at Alameda Point:
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m horrible with visualizing the size of things in my head. You tell me something is x number of feet long beyond the size of a normal human person and I won’t be able to picture it in my head. So when someone asked me, hey did you know that the entry sign for Alameda Point being proposed by the City is 48 feet long, I knew it was large but I couldn’t figure out in my head how large that really was.
And then I saw the renderings, the first graphic shows where it’s going to be. Looks big but not that big:
So no one bit yesterday about the magic disappearance of the Charles Company from the City Council’s April 1 agenda. I couldn’t find the old reference until I visited the City website yesterday.
Here was the Closed Session agenda item:
Despite the ominous (and silly) arguments proffered by the City of Oakland against the Alameda Point EIR and the rumblings from the Oakland Chinatown Coalition citing eight cars per hour going through the tube I was about 80% sure that the City of Alameda was going to be slapped with a lawsuit against the EIR from either one or both of these entities.
Turns out, Oakland decided that they rather not risk a lawsuit themselves — since Alameda pretty much telegraphed the fact that the City of Alameda would sue if Oakland sued Alameda — for their own EIRs coming down the pipeline.
Tonight the City Council now gets to be in the unenviable position of being yelled at by people about the land swap-y deal. The School District has put up a FAQ answering some of the questions that were asked at previous meetings. The City has also put up their own quick and dirty summary of how the land swap works as well, which is here:
I know I should be writing about the Housing Element 2015-2023 at the Planning Board tonight, but I don’t want to. So tonight is a Public Review of the Housing Element for 2015 -2023 at the Planning Board tonight if you are interested. That’s sort of the big agenda item. The other agenda item is a presentation on some housing plans at the Del Monte building but there are no documents so it’s not clear what’s going on with that one. I can’t get that excited about anything at the Del Monte building these days because it changes all the damn time.
Anyway, what I did want to write about was the big news about Google owned Makani Power which is going to be signing a pretty sweet lease at Alameda Point for more than 110,000 square feet of additional space. That’s pretty significant because (1) it’s a lot of square footage and (2) it’s Google dammit. The initial lease will be for six years with five three-year renewal options, which could mean that Google as Makani Power will be here for the long haul. Makani Power, in case you didn’t know does research around generating electricity from wind power.
So everything sounds good right? I mean, we’re getting a sort of a Google campus right?
I guess this has become a “thing.” And by “this” I mean anyone with a half baked idea on any particular subject can have their idea agendized and heard before a random City body. Regardless if that particular idea is (1) feasible or (2) conflicts with current plans that are underway.
For example, the Historic Advisory Board has on its agenda for tomorrow night a citizen idea for life sized Monopoly playing board. Because nothing says “Alameda” more than a game about pretending to be real estate developers and building as many houses and hotels as possible hoping to bankrupt the other players if they land on your property by charging them rent. Oh and when going to jail is actually a good thing when people start building a ton of houses and hotels so that you don’t have to pay anyone rent for three turns.
The terms of the deal between the School District, the City of Alameda, and the Housing Authority has always been a bit on the fuzzy and hazy side. We all know that the School District is getting some amount of money if certain property is turned over and blah blah blah, but the press release by the City that was put out yesterday was probably the most clear enumeration to date of what actually is going to happen AND how the Housing Authority got into the mix as well:
The Agreement Details
The agreement, which includes both sales and exchanges of land, will be implemented in three steps:
Ø The City grants $750,000 to AUSD to pay for renovations to the Encinal Swim Center.
Ø AUSD rescinds the deed to the six-acre Tidelands parcel, which results in the City holding the title.
A few things on the School Board agenda tonight. First the Academy of Alameda charter renewal, staff is recommending that it be renewed. Ruby Bridges Elementary is losing its principal, Jan Goodman, the current assistant principal Cheryl Wilson is getting the nod as her successor.
As an aside for those that didn’t see the update, but the gates to the play yard at Ruby Bridges was opened on Friday evening:
I walked by a little earlier than 6:00 p.m. on Friday because I dropped off #2 son at his classroom to prepare for the Ruby Bridges talent show (replaying on channel 9 — I think that was what was referenced — and it will be uploaded to the District website). Both #1 daughter and #2 son were in the talent show this year and it was a lot of fun, if a wee on the longish side. This weekend lots of people were taking advantage of the open gates and there was plenty of use to be had to a big THANKS to the School District, Rec and Park Department, and Ruby Bridges for getting it done.
Also on the agenda is an update about Wood Middle School’s new STEAM program. It looks very promising and very exciting. For those who are interested in the numbers, there are no updated numbers as to projected enrollment so that’s not there for those keeping tabs for the whole ACLC moving discussion.