Tonight the Planning Board will get a first look at the Encinal Terminals Master Plan. Encinal Terminals is the piece of land directly behind the Del Monte project next to the water. It is the parcel where the former owner had once suggested Venice, California canal type homes. Like Bay Farm.
But first, just wanted to point out that on the Zoning Administrator’s approvals there is an approval to modify a fourplex and turn it into a duplex, so two — what should be affordable by design — units have been removed from the housing market.
Now, here is the site map for the Encinal Terminals project. The whole packet is light on the renderings, it feels like the developer is testing the waters for the heights being proposed for the project in general:
So just in case anyone is worried about the timeline of this, there are still lots of steps still left in the process. From the Staff Report:
On February 29, 2016, North Waterfront Cove, LLC (the “applicant”) submitted an application for a draft Master Plan for the site. The draft Master Plan is currently under review by the City. (The 2016 draft Master Plan is available upon request and on the City of Alameda website at <https://alamedaca.gov/planning/major-planning-projects>). In addition to a master plan approval, the proposal requires completion of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a Tidelands exchange between the applicant, State Lands, and the City of Alameda.
The project, as currently proposed, would include:
• Up to 589 housing units, including stacked flats (approximately 89%) and townhomes (approximately 11%) and 79 affordable units;
• A commercial marina with up to 160 boat slips and a harbormaster’s office;
• Approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial/office and restaurant uses; and
• Approximately three acres of waterfront-related public open space and parks, including locations for launching kayaks and other small watercraft launches, provisions for future public water taxi/water shuttle or ferry terminal facilities, and public parking.
The draft EIR will be published for review sometime this month and the public hearing before the Planning Board will occur some time in February.
First the observations from staff about the presented Master Plan:
1) Public Streets: The site plan provides a clear and simple hierarchy of streets organized around a single, central spine (the Entrance Road extension), which provides automobile access to buildings and public open spaces on the site. Secondary streets provide access to parking structures within each building and all of the major waterfront open spaces.
2) Public Parks: The site plan provides a clear and attractive sequence of public open spaces, including a waterfront promenade and two major waterfront parks around the perimeter of the site. The promenade connects to Littlejohn Park and the adjacent neighborhood via the public passage way through the Del Monte Building envisioned in the General Plan and being implemented by the Del Monte project. A public kayak launch and staging area is provided at the foot of the public promenade near the Del Monte Building. Additional design work will be needed to ensure that all public open spaces are appropriately sized, programed, and designed.
3) Development Pads: The site plan provides a good framework to illustrate how th e various parcels can be developed as a unified development. The site plan includes seven (7) development pads for residential mixed use buildings (pads A/B, C, E, F, G, H and I), and an eighth pad (pad D) for a maritime commercial building.
4) Commercial Development: The site plan includes a maritime commercial “center” at the middle of the site to serve as the commercial core of the project and provide for facilities such as kayak and small watercraft rentals, small business opportunities, and other maritime or visitor-serving commercial uses. Additional ground floor retail and visitor serving uses and restaurant spaces are envisioned on several of the waterfront pads and the Clement Avenue frontage.
There are 11 recommendations from staff to improve the project and all are pretty good. The item about the Bay Trail is particularly good considering the point of the Bay Trail is to to have complete uninterrupted access next to the shoreline for bikes and pedestrians, right now there is only a cycle track running in the center of the project and nothing adjacent to existing Fortman Marina.
Also of note is that the tallest building is proposed to be 14 stories which even I balked a tiny bit at. It feels like building F may be the most challenging for the developer since it is anchoring the waterfront and has the 14 stories and 10 stories in the center of the building stepping down to 4 stories on the exterior. I can’t really see anyone, even the most development friendly among Alamedans advocating for a 14 story building unless it is an amazing piece of architecture that is immediately iconic. Like, it better look something like this. Or this.
Anyway, there’s still a lot of details missing from the Master Plan, but if the developer can walk away with an idea of how much push back/support there is for a singular 14 story building then the meeting is worth it.