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Alameda Point Preliminary Development Concept

Community Engagement Meeting #1 - August 28, 2004


The meeting was called to order at about 9:15 a.m. Approximately 56 citizens attended the meeting. Staff or consultants were also in attendance.


Stephen Proud, Alameda Point project manager, welcomed the attendees and expressed appreciation for their interest in Alameda Point. He noted that this meeting would be the first of five public workshops over the next year to create a preliminary development concept for Alameda Point. As the work progresses there will also be other opportunities for public input at meetings of the Alameda Point Advisory Committee, Planning Board and Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority (ARRA), all of which welcome public comment.

Mayor Beverly Johnson welcomed the attendees and urged them to participate in the yearlong planning process. She reviewed the history of the project, including the base closure and negotiations with the Navy. She briefly described the major constraints to development of the site.

Lee Perez, chair of the Alameda Point Advisory Committee (APAC), described the APAC's role in redevelopment planning at the base. Formerly called the Base Reuse Advisory Group (BRAG), the APAC worked closely with the ARRA during preparation of the NAS Alameda Community Reuse Plan, adopted in January 1996. APAC also advised on the preparation of the General Plan Amendment for Alameda Point (adopted 2003).


Walter Rask, ROMA Design Group, presented the major opportunities and constraints at Alameda Point, including the:

  • Previous plans for the site, including the Reuse Plan and General Plan Amendment.
  • Current projects implementing the Reuse Plan, including Bayport, the golf course draft EIR, and wildlife refuge.
  • Existing land uses and activities at Alameda Point.
  • Historic district with its 86 contributing structures.
  • Existing soil and groundwater contamination.
  • Tidelands Trust restrictions.
  • Wildlife refuge buffer restrictions.
  • High tide flooding.
  • Young bay mud and its impacts on existing structures and foundation design.
  • Adopted housing policies regarding affordability, density and building types, and Measure A's restrictions on residential reuse of historic structures.
  • City policies on economic feasibility and fiscal neutrality.
  • Transportation constraints on new development.

Jim Adams, ROMA Design Group, continued the presentation and introduced the community to:

  • A Framework Plan-a preliminary concept for principal streets, parks and other open space.
  • A Base Case Plan-a schematic land use plan showing how the site might be redeveloped given all the previously discussed constraints on land use.
  • Issues raised by the Base Case Plan, including much more adaptive reuse space than the market can absorb in the short to mid term, excessive land for new non-residential development poorly located between the existing West End neighborhood and new residential areas, and scattered residential neighborhoods.
  • Four questions for discussion in the breakout groups: other places that Alameda Point should emulate, mix of uses relative to economic feasibility and fiscal neutrality, importance of historic resources, and transportation.

Small Group Discussions

The attendees broke into six discussion groups of about 10 people each. Each group was facilitated by an APAC member and a staff or consultant. Each small group was given a copy of the Framework Plan and the Base Case Land Use Plan and a series of four questions to discuss:

  1. Are there places and neighborhoods elsewhere in Alameda or in other cities that should serve as models for Alameda Point? Examples may include residential areas, neighborhood and community parks, waterfront promenades and open spaces, shopping centers and districts, etc.
  2. In order for the community to achieve the goals of the Reuse Plan, Alameda Point has to be a financially feasible, mixed use plan. Should the mix of residential and non-residential uses in the Base Case be changed?
  3. What are the most important historic qualities or assets (i.e., buildings, open spaces, landscape features, monuments, etc.) that you think need to be preserved or enhanced in the Alameda Point historic district?
  4. Traffic into and out of Alameda is limited by the tubes and bridges. What transportation improvements or land use strategies should be considered either to provide for alternatives to automobiles or to reduce traffic generated by Alameda Point development?

After about an hour of small-group discussions, everyone reassembled and a spokesperson for each group reported on its observations and recommendations.

Group #1 Observations and Recommendations

Model Places and Neighborhoods
Bay Farm Island lagoon system for residential development
Foster City lagoon system for residential
Sydney Australia for waterfront development with water taxis
San Diego to Coronado for transportation connections
Vancouver public market for commercial areas

Financially Feasible Mix of Uses
Consider university or other school or business campus uses.

Most important Historic characteristics
Quality is more important than quantity. All 86 buildings do not need to be preserved.
Buildings in the "shops" sub-district are least important.
Consider saving one of the three major hangers on the Seaplane Lagoon. Use the park to commemorate the others.
Hanger # 39 should be removed to support the concept of an open space link between the Estuary and Seaplane Lagoon.

Transportation Strategies
Transportation along the length of Alameda Island is just as, or even more, important than cross-Estuary movement.
Create a "transportation loop" connecting BART and cross-island transit.
Build homes for low and middle-income households, which are more likely to use public transportation.

Group 2 Observations and Recommendations

Model Places and Neighborhoods
Seaport Village, Long Beach
The Park Street/Santa Clara area in Alameda with its mix of residential densities, proximity to retail stores, walkability, and access to transit could be a model for Orion Street at Alameda Point.
Ballena Bay Residential Area, which is not possible to recreate with measure A.
Crown Harbor Residential Area, which is possible with Measure A.
Hamilton Air Force Base is a good example of residential reuse of military facility.
Shipways at Marina Village

Financially Feasible Mix of Uses

There needs to be a critical mass of population and jobs to support retail and community uses.
Build upon and supplement the uses and activities currently operating on the base.
Alternatives to the Base Case Plan should include:

  • An alternative plan that is more "fine grain" with a finer mix of residential and commercial uses, similar to existing Alameda neighborhoods.
  • An alternative plan that includes a buffer of residential or open space between existing neighborhoods east of Main Street south of Atlantic and big non-residential area south of Atlantic on Base Case.
  • An alternative that does not have residential in the area south of Building 5.
  • An alternative that is would require voter approval to change Measure A. The guiding principles of this alternative should be:

    • The exemption to Measure A should only apply to Alameda Point.
    • The intent of the alternative is to re-create mixed use, mixed density, and walkable neighborhoods that are found throughout Alameda.
    • The alternative should reflect the spirit of all of Alameda - not just single-family Alameda. The intent is to avoid a site plan that is limited to single family subdivisions like Marina Cove or Bayport.
    • The Alternative should not include any high-rise towers or motel style, block apartment buildings.

Most important Historic characteristics
Buildings should be kept if they are financially feasible to reuse. Building should not be kept if they are going to be vacant for a long time.
Remove Building 39 to improve the north-south public access from Lagoon to Estuary.
Control Tower Building (Building 19) should be preserved.
Measure A should be modified to allow residential reuse of the historic residential buildings, such as the Bachelor Enlisted Men's Quarters (BEQ) and Bachelor Officers' Quarters (BOQ).

Transportation Strategies
Need density to support Transit
Plan should focus on cross Alameda connections
Plan needs to support all forms of transit: buses, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Group 3 Observations and Recommendations

Model Places and Neighborhoods
Sausalito waterfront with its community retail and residential mixed use in close proximity to the water.
Ferry Building, San Francisco

Synergy with Port of Oakland and Jack London Square

Financially Feasible Mix of Uses
Increase the residential component of the land use mix.
Need the Navy to clean more land to residential standards
Create an alternative that adjusts Measure A so that less residential land is needed and a wider range of residential densities is allowable.
Develop the "seam" along Main Street; improve the adjacencies to existing residential areas east of Main Street. Integrate housing at South Main and Central.
Ensure that phases of development do not preclude environmental remediation for later phases.
Attract higher education uses or elementary school use for adaptive reuse of some buildings.

Most important Historic characteristics
As an alternative to preserving all buildings, consider a Preservation Park concept for some of the buildings.
Adjust Measure A to allow residential reuse of historic buildings.
Consider schools or school uses for historic structures.

Transportation Strategies
Need density to accomplish BART or light rail.
Focus on bus services, bus priority lanes, and shuttles to move people.
Educate people to the fact that the long-term problem is congestion on I-880, not the tubes.
Non-residential uses should be densely or tightly developed to encourage walking and transit use.

Group 4 Observations and Recommendations

Model Places and Neighborhoods
Central Avenue, Alameda with its tree-lined streets and neighborhood retail clusters.

Financially Feasible Mix of Uses
Emphasize job creation.
Make Alameda Point a destination focused on the Seaplane Lagoon.
Apply work-live ordinance to Alameda Point.

Most important Historic characteristics
Selectively retain historic structures, such as: the O' Club, City Hall West, One hangar, Some Big Whites, and the BEQ and BOQ for senior housing

Transportation Strategies
Did not comment.

Group 5 Observations and Recommendations

Model Places and Neighborhoods
Monterey and Carmel with their golf courses, residential areas, beaches, and greater range of housing types, which is more urban in scale and density and can support transit solutions and a higher quality of life.
Don't reproduce subdivisions like Marina Cove, drive in site, or Bay port. Houses too big, too close together as a result of Measure A. Measure A was enacted to save Victorians. We need a full range of tools to address the challenges at Alameda Point. Need exemption to Measure A for Alameda Point.
Prohibit sound walls.
Provide a range of housing types.
Increase density beyond that allowed by Measure A to yield more green space.

Financially Feasible Mix of Uses
See discussion under Question #1.

Most important Historic characteristics
Headquarters and other building with aesthetic appeal are good.
Warehouses less important to preserve.
Barracks are not critical to preserve.
Relocate Alameda Museum to historic building at Alameda Point.
Integrate various museums, memorials, and transcontinental railway.
Provide historic preservation education and public information.
Bladium is good reuse example. There is community support for adaptive reuse (e.g. theatre).
Important that new development is well integrated into fabric of Historic District to create a continuous community in scale, density, and transitions, etc.
The Art Deco style should be preserved in new development.

Transportation Strategies
Transportation and housing need to be balanced. Mix jobs and housing to reduce trips.
Take advantage of higher density opportunities that already exist (adaptive reuse).
Residential traffic impacts may be more difficult to manage than non-residential.
Create transportation strategies to get people to major employment centers.
Tram is probably not feasible.

Group 6 Observations and Recommendations

Model Places and Neighborhoods
Seaside, Florida (but provide more housing to support commercial).
Watercolor, Seagrove Beach, Florida.
Fort Mason, San Francisco.
Racine, Wisconsin (for integration of marina and housing).
No sound walls.

Financially Feasible Mix of Uses
Alameda Point should be planned in context of whole region; it should be a destination for Alameda.
Need convenience retail, but nothing like South Shore Center.
Avoid conventional subdivisions.
Provide more residential to balance job and housing and to support retail.
Plan for the long-term development market; don't emphasize residential at the expense of non-residential just because today's residential market is strong.

The framework and land use plans should:

  • Integrate the marina and housing
  • Provide smaller neighborhoods
  • Center neighborhoods on schools with shared recreation
  • Move the main gate to Atlantic
  • Move the playing fields from the Sports Complex and southeastern park triangle to free up the waterfront locations for more appropriate water-related uses

Most important Historic characteristics
Capitalize on history of base, including the USS Hornet.
Location and views are at least as important assets as historic structures.
Don't try to preserve all historic structures.
Preserve significant groupings of buildings.
Employ mitigations other than preservation (e.g., documentation).
Use San Francisco's Presidio as model of selective preservation and sensitive infill.

Transportation Strategies
Transit should link Alameda Point and existing Alameda neighborhoods like the rail on
Lincoln once did or like New Orleans' St. Charles streetcar.
Links should connect to South Shore.
All development phases should bear cost burden of transportation for full build-out. If the last phases trigger need for major transportation improvements and bear full burden, they won't get built.
Alameda Point should be exempt from Measure A in order to:

  • Add density (but don't exceed transportation capacity).
  • Permit true mixed-use development.
  • Improve the pattern of development.
  • Provide affordable housing.


After presentations by each of the small groups, the meeting adjourned at approximately 12:15 p.m.

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