Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 12, 2022

Housing Element review, part 2

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

A reminder that we’re still on the goals of Alameda’s Housing Element.

For Goal 2, this is the most nebulous and the most challenging portion of the Housing Element but I feel like it’s also the most important because of Alameda’s challenges in affirmatively furthering fair housing over its history.

From the Housing Element, how “fair housing” is defined:

We are a community which still cannot let go of an exclusionary housing measure, voting to retain it in 2020 when signs about “Everyone Belongs Here” practically littered every house front in Alameda. We agitate for social justice but allow a nearly 50 year old law designed to limit housing types that were most financially accessible to Black and brown families to be excluded from being constructed in Alameda under the guise of “quality of life” for the comfortably situated.

But I do really appreciate the acknowledgment in this official document that A/26 impeded the development of housing which was affordable to lower income Alamedans. It’s the first step in the right direction when the City can acknowledge that while the intent may not have been on its face exclusion, that was the result and the harm existed, exists, and needs to remedied.

The policies for ending homelessness are fairly typical, I would like to see the City go farther on this item. I will always bring up the fact that we have the Carnegie Library vacant and available across the street from City Hall, centralized and well resourced that should be used for shelter for Alameda’s unhoused population:


  1. Lauren, the City owns properties all over Alameda – not just at Alameda Point that can be developed into mixed use housing projects with an affordable and homeless housing component.

    The following H-5 plan listed in the draft Housing Element to increase affordable housing could be used for other City owned properties located throughout Alameda — not just at Alameda Point. If implemented, the plan listed below would again, concentrate most of the affordable and homeless housing projects at Alameda Point and the West End – which is the exact opposite of Fair Housing. Alameda Point already has a 25% affordable housing requirement (while the rest of the Island only has a 15% affordable requirement), and most of the existing affordable and homeless housing projects are located at Alameda Point or other areas on the West End.

    The H-5 Plan:

    Alameda Point Public Lands for Affordable Housing. Maximize opportunities for additional affordable housing in the Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan area, in the Town Center Waterfront Specific Plan area, and in the former residential buildings in the Adaptive Reuse area of Alameda Point by: Reducing construction costs by utilizing public resources, federal and state grants, and proceeds from land sales at Alameda Point to fund infrastructure improvements for affordable housing and lessen the city’s reliance on the private capital and market rate housing to fund needed infrastructure and affordable housing. Advocating for Federal and State funding for infrastructure and housing construction for lower and moderate-income housing construction. Supporting and providing land at no cost for affordable and mixed income home ownership projects. Maintaining public ownership of lands use for affordable rental housing. Supporting less costly manufactured or modular construction to reduce construction costs on public lands as Alameda Point.

    But here’s some ideas on ways to create more equity and achieve our Fair Housing goals:

    Here’s a list of City owned properties located in the high resource areas to consider. The approved General 2040 Plan identifies these sites as “Opportunity Sites” for mixed use developments:

    Carnegie and the Foster House
    Veterans Memorial Building

    Because the City owns these properties — they could do 25% or more affordable units.

    In addition, the North Park Street District where the City is promoting “Adaptive Reuse of Existing Buildings” – there are existing large warehouse buildings that could be developed into mixed use housing projects with an affordable and homeless housing component.

    Here’s a warehouse property that is currently listed for sale and has been on the market for over a year:

    2421 Blanding Avenue – 86,000 sq. ft.

    I researched this property, and the owner of this property has previously developed affordable housing and mixed use housing in the Bay Area. The City could partner with this developer or other developer(s) to help them achieve its affordable housing and fair housing goals.

    In closing, there are plenty of opportunity sites other than Alameda Point to assist the City in achieving its Fair Housing goals.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 12, 2022 @ 9:53 am

  2. I wanted to also comment on the proposed Alameda Point Site A amendment to increase housing capacity from 800 units to 1,300 units. It has taken Alameda over 20 years to achieve housing development at Alameda Point. And there is one important lesson we can learn from the first project – Site A:

    Development at Alameda Point is more expensive than developing other sites in Alameda.

    Let’s review the reasons why:

    1. Alameda Point Site A needs all new backbone infrastructure
    2. Alameda Point Site A required a Project Labor Agreement
    3. Alameda Point Site A has a 25% affordable housing component
    4. Alameda Point Site A Development Agreement required that all Community Benefits needed to be constructed in Phase 1 of the project (Ferry Terminal, Waterfront Park, Neighborhood
    Park, Sports Complex $1M contribution).

    It has taken the Alameda Point Site A developers more than 18 months to move on to their next development phase – even though they have completed infrastructure and the capacity to build more than 800 units on their 68-acre project site.

    Building more townhomes in Phase 2 will create a more feasible project and allow them to continue developing an exciting mixed use waterfront project complete with a mix of housing types, retail, and more parks.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 12, 2022 @ 11:27 am

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