Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 5, 2016

Artisans, without the hipster beards

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

One of the interesting bits to come out of the Tuesday City Council meeting — and no I haven’t not finished watching yet they did another super long meeting and I haven’t had a chance to get through all of it — was a lease for a building at Alameda Point.  But it wasn’t the lease itself that was interesting rather it was the tenants in the building that made the item super interesting.

At Alameda Point building 29 is a space that was a former workshop and is located here:

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 3.57.41 PM

Despite the goal of reusing buildings out at Alameda Point this particular building has been on the chopping block because of its proximity to open space and the plans for “De-pave Park” which essentially will just be unfenced open space, I mean a “natural wetland-oriented transition.” Anyway, the lease for this group of artisans and craftsmen was opposed by one group: the Sierra Club.

The argument was that the artisans should only be given a two year lease because otherwise they might get too comfortable and never want to leave and then De-pave park wouldn’t happen quickly enough.

Fortunately the City Council disagreed with the Sierra Club and instead agreed with staff to give the full five year lease to the existing tenants.  Evidently that particular space is very special and has working interior cranes that assist the craftspeople to fabricate their pieces.  At this point, unless it is developed, there appears to be no other building at Alameda with the same sort of interior improvements.

What was amazing was the number of tenants who came out to speak asking the City Council to extend the longer lease.  And while I sort of kind of knew that this community existed at Alameda Point, this agenda item really made me understand that this is truly a unique incubator type space that exists at Alameda Point. A city staff person was generous enough to respond to my request for a list of tenants that existed so I could repost them here.

One tenant that used to be located there but moved on the different space was Natel Energy, they current exist at the same building that was leased by Matson.  But some others include:

So much talent and creativity in one space!  Hopefully when Alameda Point starts its build out and there is need for art pieces or fabrication that the developers will look locally.  By the way apparently the custom Kayak builder is a very big deal in the kayak building world.



  1. I’m usually on the side of the Sierra Club but in this case, I’m very glad the lease was extended. These hard working, creative folks are a great asset to the community.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 5, 2016 @ 6:21 am

  2. Is it possible to walk or drive out that far, or do you need a fence key?

    Does anyone know the original Navy purpose?

    Comment by MP — February 5, 2016 @ 7:51 am

  3. there is a gate there but it is usually open during the day, I have ridden my bike out there many times. Because there are businesses out there I would think its O.K. to drive or walk out there. Great view back to the Point and East Bay hills.

    Comment by John P. — February 5, 2016 @ 9:38 am

  4. great work Lauren. These same types of artisans are being priced out of places like SF and Oakland by tech.

    Comment by MI — February 5, 2016 @ 10:01 am

  5. I’ll have to read up on dePave park. That said, no problem with the 5 year lease that we are allowed to cancel with 12 months notice, given that there is zero money identified for the restoration at the moment.

    I also would have no problem having the Council re-examine the Master Plan and look at just this element closely to see if indeed leaving this one building and its users largely intact. Not saying that is a good idea, but the Master Plan presumably looked at many things and the Council likely did not get too granular on every aspect.

    Comment by BMac — February 5, 2016 @ 10:55 am

  6. Excited to see them get a 5 year extension on their lease. I hope Alameda Point becomes home to more makers and artists!

    Comment by Karen Bey — February 5, 2016 @ 11:25 am

  7. In an “ideal” world the entire water front everywhere would be an accessible green necklace, but then we would have no access for things like ports. Hmmmmm……Buildings 29 and 25 are hardly beautiful, and they don’t need to be waterfront but they are pre-existing. IMHO, sometimes use trumps other considerations. Also, “blight” and “eyesore” could be considered relative terms in the sore eye of the beholder, so to speak, particularly if you weigh in the use of the buildings. I am intrigued that there are boat builders over there. In my late twenties, I built a 15′ traditional wooden boat in a water front building which was and is a corrugated tin shed at the foot of 5th Avenue in Oakland. Some would surely label it an eyesore, which it may be, but the process of lofting and building the boat was transformative.

    Comment by MI — February 5, 2016 @ 4:16 pm

  8. Would the seaplane lagoon make sense as a place for the marinas on the North Side to relocate to?

    Comment by dave — February 5, 2016 @ 4:26 pm

  9. “Natural wetland oriented transitions” are important as we face rising sea levels. Why put this into the Plan if there is no intent to implement it? I certainly have sympathy for the parties that are there but for me at least the environmental implications ‘trump’ other issues. Interesting article yesterday that WETA has no intention of running Ferries out of Alameda Point. I suggest that people actually read the letter that the Sierra Club wrote to Mayor Spencer that is included in Lauren’s link. The opportunity to apply for Federal Money to make this happen is an important point.

    Comment by frank m — February 5, 2016 @ 4:40 pm

  10. #9, no, not enough room for marinas and other water activities. Kayak, ferries,etc.

    Comment by John P. — February 5, 2016 @ 5:17 pm

  11. Cats beat horses by 17

    Comment by Jack — February 5, 2016 @ 7:40 pm

  12. #10, The park may also be eligible for funds from the Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure restoration funds…if it’s passed in June by the voters…but Alameda has at Building 29 a community that other cities would love to create and that we could use to inspire similar businesses at the point. What a shame if it just ends in 5 years, even if it is for the sake of restoration of a relatively small piece of the point. We need the park as much as we need the Building 20 community. This issue seems tailor made for a facilitated sit-down with planners, Building 29 businesses, and enviros to get practical about how to meet two very worthy goals. I hope we manage to have the conversation as a city in the light of day.

    Comment by Gaylon — February 6, 2016 @ 7:22 am

  13. 10. Climate and sea level will trump everything.

    13. good sentiments.

    9. it’s not likely that the developer of Alameda Marina will pay for relocation of the marina uses to the Point even if there were room in the lagoon. Building marinas costs money. Nelson’s did have dry storage though, which is one use which could be replicated at the Point, though there is no travel lift that I’ve seen. The other unique infrastructure at Alameda Marina are small cranes with which boats can be launched from trailers without a ramp or travel lift. Dry storage is cheaper than a wet berth and many boats have a steel eye screwed to the keel which allows them to be plucked in and out of the water in minutes. Pretty slick. Dry storage for hull cleaning is the other thing which will be lost in Alameda if the final solution for Alameda Marina is implemented.

    Comment by Mark Irons — February 6, 2016 @ 9:11 am

  14. Mark, Nelsons had a travel lift,but I saw it dismantled and taken away when they closed.

    Comment by John P. — February 6, 2016 @ 11:08 am

  15. John, where was it’s platform for hauling boats?

    (just noticed my full name on 14, but don’t recall tweaking any settings. Looking below I am still MI, but 14 was sent from lap top. Oh well.)

    I am not a careful student of the plan for the Point, but thinking on it, how effective are “natural wetland oriented transitions” if they are not fairly large, like the salt marshes in the south bay? The edge of the Point is currently pretty well defined and abrupt. I know there has been talk of some kind of wetland mitigation with the Port interface, but not certain of the scope or placement. A levy is different. It can be placed anywhere and has nothing to do with being a large shock absorber for things like tidal surge.

    10. the news about WETA is fairly alarming to me since they got all our infrastructure, but I’m hardly an expert on the terms of that deal either.

    Comment by MI — February 6, 2016 @ 12:24 pm

  16. Mark, right across the street from Nelsons gate, next to NRC’s headquarters.
    Weta will have a dock and service facilities, however they never said they would have ferry “service” from the Point. They will service ferries at the Point.

    Comment by John P. — February 6, 2016 @ 4:50 pm

  17. So was all the talk about two ferry terminals at the NAS just “talk” ????
    The Main Street ferry terminal lot(s) are jam packed. The street is jam packed with parked cars.

    There’s a need for other ferries to run on a regular schedule, and I believe I heard (in at least one or two presentations) that there would be other ferries going from the Seaplane Lagoon area to SF. –In addition to the ones at the Main Street terminal.

    Comment by A Neighbor — February 6, 2016 @ 8:41 pm

  18. They never said they would have ferry service from the point but there certainly were sever different Post here discussing the ongoing discussions. Another Post where it was discussed at a CC Meeting. If you enter ‘ferry’ in the search box here you can see them .
    What is really striking is the lack of overall Regional Funding and ability to raise revenue for WETA vs other Transit Agencies.

    Comment by frank m — February 7, 2016 @ 7:56 am

  19. 18. The plan for ferry service at Seaplane Lagoon amounts to an “If you build it, they will come” strategy. The developer of Site A is contributing $10M to build the terminal at what will be the foot of Pacific. That was enough to get the City on board. WETA and even AC Transit aren’t prepared to commit to service until the demand is there. Unlike commute hour shuttles to 12th street, there is not likely to be much “Day One” service.

    Comment by BMac — February 7, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

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