Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 20, 2016

18 ft remain

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Another pretty full City Council agenda including a bunch of lawsuits on the Closed Session agenda.  I’ll point out  that there’s already a lawsuit from Boatworks which is best summed up with this tweet:

Remember how I said way back when that some other dude met the smarmy definition of awful developer?  I take that back.  The Boatworks folks may be the worst at this point. Typically I would place the blame on the shoulders of the City for being waffle-y and the perennial NIMBYs for popping up to oppose the opening of an envelope, but in this case Boatworks is just terrible.

Also on the agenda are those pocket parks on the East End where the space reserved by the City for public access to the open water appears to be still too small (18ft as opposed to the Planning Board recommended 35 ft) because the City doesn’t want to penalize people who illegally constructed docks on property that doesn’t belong to them. Okkkkkaaayyyyyy…

A big agenda item is regarding the approach to the development of the Main Street Neighborhood at Alameda Point.  This is distinct from all the other plans that have come before the Planning Board and City Council because this is the area around the big whites and APC, but also contains the site that APC will be relocated to in a newly built project closer to the school, shopping, and transportation to leverage important tax credits.


Here, from the staff report, is why this phasing discussion is important:

One overarching consideration in the disposition of land at Alameda Point is the limit on the number of residential units allowed by the City’s General Plan (1,425 units), which provides an important context for any of the City Council’s future disposition decisions regarding housing and mixed-use development at Alameda Point.  Within this context, the Collaborating Partners and MidPen have been working closely with City staff to develop a feasible financial plan for constructing their proposed future campus and its required infrastructure.  The financial plan evaluated traditional sources of funds for affordable housing, such as Tax Credits, and estimated that MidPen could finance new building construction from these sources, but not the significant site preparation and backbone infrastructure required by Alameda Point.  As a result, it was determined that there was a need for new market rate housing development to pay for and build these infrastructure needs. The total infrastructure contribution needed for the entire 33-acre south of Midway area, including the Collaborating Partners’ site and the adjacent site required for new market rate housing, is estimated at $37 million for utility and street improvements and fair-share contributions of site-wide obligations  and $16.5 million for on-site improvements (i.e. grading, demolition) for a total of $53 million.

Additionally, the Collaborating Partners, in conjunction with MidPen, have determined that they will need around 267 units to satisfy their space and funding needs, which is 67 additional very-low income units over and above the existing 200 units.  This was determined based on occupancy requirements and the need to create more one- and two bedroom units in-lieu of too many three- and four-bedroom units to better serve the residents.  The number of total bedrooms in the existing 200 units will be the same number of bedrooms in the 267 units.  It is assumed that these additional units will help the City meet the low and very-low income affordable housing obligations for any market rate housing built to finance the Collaborating Partners’ infrastructure and for any new housing development elsewhere in the Main Street Neighborhood, as the existing 200 units do not count towards satisfying the 25 percent affordable housing requirement (9 percent moderate and 16 percent low and very-low income) for Alameda Point.

A preliminary feasibility analysis prepared by the City’s financial consultant, Willdan Financial Services, determined that approximately 200-235 market rate and moderate income units would be needed to pay for the infrastructure costs for the entire South of Midway property, assuming that the majority of the new additional Collaborating Partners’ units (approximately 44 units) count towards the low- and very-low affordable housing requirements for the new market rate development.

The TL;dr: the non profit organizations that are supporting this effort can afford to scrape enough funding together to pay for the physical building to move existing and new residents into, but they can’t afford the base infrastructure costs so market rate housing will need to be built and the onus will be on that developer to subsidize the infrastructure costs.

The number of units required to be built to just help pay for the infrastructure for the, let’s call it new-APC for shorthand, will be 200 – 235 units.  Approximately half a Bayport project if you need a frame of reference.  Once those units are built and including the Site A housing numbers there will only 125 remaining units available to be built in all of Alameda Point from that 1425 unit pot.  In this scenario it looks like the Big Whites will be largely left alone for now which is a good and a bad thing.  The good: it will still be all historic-y and affordable.  The bad: there probably won’t be a lot of improvements made in the area because essentially no money for improvements.

There’s a Gateway district setback zoning modification agenda item, which, snooze.  But it was precipitated by all the drama around the container building that was proposed for that gateway corner at Park and Blanding.  Because containers = bad. But parking lot = classy.

Finally there is a ton of Council Referrals that keep getting pushed and pushed because this City Council can’t seem to make it through a whole agenda in one sitting.  These three are funny because they’ve been on the agenda since June/July:


I wonder if Tony Daysog will still be on the City Council when his Council Referrals actually make it to the discussion part.



  1. Evidently setting priorities is not a priority.

    Comment by dc — September 20, 2016 @ 7:59 am

  2. Moderate income housing is desperately needed. This is an opportunity to have market rate housing that adds significant amounts of affordable housing stock to Alameda. The only way to build affordable housing is to build market rate housing alongside it. This development is super close to the ferry and will be great for families who work in the city.

    Comment by Angela — September 20, 2016 @ 8:32 am

  3. Thanks for highlighting this item, Lauren. and for your TL;dr – I may use it in my talking points! The phasing plan is a big step forward for us in our development efforts. The official name we have given the effort (not that there is anything wrong with new-APC) is RESHAP – Rebuilding Existing Supportive Housing at Alameda Point – not the fanciest of names, but it serves the purpose.

    So far in the process we have enjoyed unanimous Council support, and we look forward to that continuing into the next phase of our planning and approval process. We are very grateful that the Council and the community understands and supports the need for the type of housing and services we provide.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — September 20, 2016 @ 10:15 am

    • Doug:

      Can you admit that the benzene plume known as Shinsei Garden Housing was an environmental disaster?

      How did a state engineer sign off on this? He certified that air samples were taken that weren’t.

      Where was APC’s expert? The City Housing Authority’s expert? The adults?

      If APC wants to build more housing find partners with better intentions or hire better experts.

      APC still can’t do any environmental testing on Alameda Point property they lease or intend to develop?

      Comment by Gerard L. — September 20, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

      • APC had no involvement in the Shinsei Garden project, so I am not qualified to comment on it nor have I ever heard of any such concerns. I would suggest you contact the Housing Authority.

        Comment by Doug Biggs — September 20, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

  4. Seems like a lot of roads and small blocks, limiting options. That Central Gardens should have homes fronting on the park, separated by bike/ped paths, not streets that isolate the park, make it uninviting and unsafe to little kids and encourage cut through traffic to Main St. and a likely shortcut to the tube on an extended Mitchell Ave.

    Comment by BMac — September 20, 2016 @ 11:38 am

  5. I’m hearing a lot of concern from the folks that live in the ranches around the Big Whites. Many of these families are moderate income households for whom finding replacement 3 and 4 bedroom houses will be immensely difficult. That neighborhood is vibrant with folks holding block bbqs, and many children attending school together. I’m very supportive of this project and am hopeful that the city and the developer will find ways to mitigate the loss of community for these folks.

    Comment by Angela — September 20, 2016 @ 2:03 pm

    • I don’t believe this initial plan is addressing replacement of the ranches but rather the APC units themselves which range in the 3 – 4 bedroom range, according to the staff report the existing buildings north of Midway have been preserved to address in the future.

      Comment by Lauren Do — September 20, 2016 @ 2:39 pm

  6. Points of clarification on the “pocket parks” mention in your post. Tonight before the council was a long standing issue of submerged/semi submerged parcels of land that the Army Corp of Engineers has been trying to transfer to the City of Alameda. The “pocket parks”, more accurately described as public walkways or access points were not on the agenda tonight as they are parcels of terrestrial land. The “fate” of the public land in those 3 locations will be up for discussion both in public and private forums between the city, the property owners and the public, at a later date, as stated by council tonight because the 6 property owners have been excluded from the larger inner harbor tidal transfer project. As Mr. Penick detailed tonight, the land has never been zoned as a park or acknowledged as a park, insofar as city staff has researched thus far. City staff will be working to clarify the issues surrounding the public walkways and reconcile differences between property owners and the city including potentially illegal structures. It should also be noted that the structures cited in numerous social media circles have, in most cases, been in existence for decades and there is the possibility that the city may have permitted these structures,…which means it’s not necessarily the fault of the current homeowners, but rather a problem with their property that needs to be reconciled. More research is required to begin contemplating the issue, which is why the 6 parcels were abstracted from the larger project. Pocket parks have never existed in the 100+ years that these properties have existed. Should they be pocket parks now? Sure, maybe,…everyone likes parks, especially ones with water. But the public, including those property owners adjacent to the land, will have their input via discussion facilitated through the city staff and council. My understanding is that the “park” issue is complex and over a century old. But everyone, save for a couple, sounded very optimistic that positive resolution would follow, but more time is needed to discover.

    Comment by PBurgaron — September 21, 2016 @ 1:16 am

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