Development Alert: City Council considers Del Monte development

Development Alert: City Council considers Del Monte development

Bill Chapin
Del Monte warehouse

The City Council is due to make decisions regarding the Del Monte warehouse and Alameda Point developments at its next meeting. Here is a look at what’s on the agenda.

Del Monte development headed to City Council: After months of hearings, the Planning Board in November signed off on the final element of a plan to covert the former Del Monte warehouse on Buena Vista Avenue into a housing and shopping development with up to 414 new homes and 30,000 square feet of retail space. Now the City Council will consider the board’s recommendations and make some preliminary decisions on whether the project moves forward. Before sending its recommendations to the council, the Planning Board changed what had been one of the plan’s most controversial aspects: a traffic management program designed to discourage driving and car ownership among residents. With neighbors expressing concern about new residents choosing to park on the street rather than purchase an optional parking space, the board agreed to let the developer include a parking space in the price of each of 308 housing units to be built within the historic warehouse.

What’s next: Of the five documents related to the project that got a thumbs up from the Planning Board, three of them require the direct approval of the City Council. The council will consider preliminary approvals for all three – the master plan, environmental study and development agreement – on Tuesday. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. It will also be broadcast live on television and streamed online.

More information: The meeting agenda and related materials are available on the city’s website; additional documents are on the planning department’s major projects page. The Alamedan’s coverage of the project can be found here; the community group PLAN! Alameda has been following the development and posting information on its Facebook page.

Alameda Point postponement: City Manager John Russo is recommending that the council reject the two finalists vying for development rights to an 82-acre Alameda Point site designated for a commercial campus, known as Site B, and to delay any decision on the project for six months. The city has been negotiating with Catellus Development Corporation and Mission Bay Development Group since the City Council approved them as finalists in September, but neither has been willing to agree to upfront investments in infrastructure or land payments. Both developers said such commitments were too risky given the challenge of finding a corporate tenant for such an isolated location. Essentially, the city now believes that Site B will not attract the sort of commercial investment it had been hoping for until the adjacent, 68-acre waterfront town center development – with its planned housing, streets, utilities and ferry terminal – is further along. The Planning Board will receive a presentation on the status of Site A and meet representatives from Alameda Point Partners, the finalist the City Council picked to develop the town center site, at its December 8 meeting.

What’s next: A proposal to postpone a decision on developing Site B is on the agenda for the City Council meeting set to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. The meeting will also be broadcast live on television and streamed online. The Planning Board will get an update on Site A, the waterfront town center, at its December 8 meeting; that also starts at 7 p.m., in council chambers at City Hall.

More information: The meeting agendas and a site map are now available on the city’s website. For more information on plans to revitalize the former Naval Air Station, see the city staff report on the finalists for Site B, the staff report to the Planning Board for Site A or The Alamedan’s coverage of the two projects.

Bachelor Enlisted Quarters: The Planning Board is also set to consider approvals for redevelopment of the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at 2401 Lexington Street on the Point. Developer Alameda United Commercial wants to fix up the 20-acre property – a former barracks and mess hall whose three buildings cover more than a half million square feet – for use as a boarding school, a senior assisted living facility, recreation and dining. The company had also proposed purchasing the Point’s taxiways and developing a hotel and 200 condominiums there, but that plan seems to have been terminated: Mayor Marie Gilmore announced a settlement agreement with the developer at the council’s November 18 meeting. The city was seeking $7.76 million for the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and Alameda United Commercial has offered $20 million to redo roads, utilities and other infrastructure to make the site suitable for use.

What’s next: The Planning Board will consider approving a development plan for the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at its December 8 meeting. Subsequent approvals needed to move forward with the project include a Certificate of Approval from the Historical Advisory Board, which will consider whether the rehab plan meets with federal Department of Interior standards, and a Planning Board design review.

More information: A staff report detailing the proposal, plus attachments, are available via the city’s website; the city’s Alameda Point web page is here. The Alamedan’s earlier story on Alameda United Commercial’s plans is here.

Neptune Pointe housing plan is history: Last week the city announced that developer Tim Lewis Communities has agreed to abandon its interest in a plan to purchase Neptune Pointe for housing development. The Roseville homebuilder won a federal government auction for the 3.899-acre property in 2012 and the city rezoned it to permit housing, prompting the East Bay Regional Park District – which had long desired the land for an expansion of Crab Cove – to sue the city and the developer. The federal government later sued to reclaim McKay Avenue from the state to retain access to the property after the state said it wouldn’t let a private developer use it, and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted to sue the feds. After a community group collected enough signatures to put a measure to rezone the property for parks and open space on the ballot, the council voted to make that change itself. The city’s press release says Tim Lewis was urged by Mayor Marie Gilmore to relinquish its interest in the property.

What’s next: Unclear. As of The Alamedan’s last reporting the park district hadn’t abandoned its lawsuit, and Gilmore had said publicly that the federal government wouldn’t talk to the city about the property. Tim Lewis had been willing to pay the nearly $3.1 million the federal government sought for the property, which was the cost of downsizing the footprint of the federal agency that occupies it – and the park district’s offer was much less than that, an amount its representatives have said is the fair market value for the parcel.

More information: The city’s press release on this latest development is on its website; The Alamedan’s coverage of Neptune Pointe is here.

Editor Michele Ellson contributed to this report.