Planning Board to consider apartments for low-income seniors

Planning Board to consider apartments for low-income seniors

Michele Ellson
Del Monte

The Planning Board will consider approvals tonight for a 31-unit apartment building for low-income seniors proposed to be built as part of the Del Monte warehouse development.

The board will consider approving the development plan and design for a three-story apartment building on the corner of Buena Vista Avenue and Sherman Street, adjacent to the Del Monte warehouse. The board will also consider a recommendation to the City Council to give the Alameda Housing Authority a nearly half-acre parcel the city owns there to build on; the rest of the land needed for the project will be provided by developer Tim Lewis Communities.

The City Council approved the Del Monte project in December, signing off on up to 380 new homes and 30,000 square feet of commercial and retail space on the 11-acre property. So far, Tim Lewis Communities has plans to build 308 units in the Del Monte building and the 31-unit senior complex.

All told, the developer has agreed to build 55 units of affordable housing as part of the $125 million Del Monte rehabilitation project. The apartment complex will house low-income seniors, while two dozen units for moderate-income residents will be included in the main building.

Tim Lewis Communities and the Alameda Housing Authority are proposing a 32-foot-tall apartment building that would sit on 0.81 acres that would be designed to complement the Del Monte warehouse. The senior housing project, which would be built, owned and managed by the housing authority, would be made up of one-bedroom apartments that range from 537 square feet to 793 square feet, most with their own patio or balcony.

The proposed project would be Cal Green certified, with solar panels on the roof and low water landscaping. It would also incorporate “universal design” principles including wide doorways, low countertops and bathroom grab bars so seniors can age in place.

Amenities would include vehicle and bicycle parking, a 2,400-square-foot courtyard, a community room and laundry facilities. Seniors who live in the building will also have access to both existing transit services and new ones Del Monte residents will pay for.

If built, the project would be the housing authority’s third complex for low-income seniors. Its other two complexes, Independence Plaza and Anne B. Diament Plaza, house 300 seniors.

The staff report for Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting didn’t say how much money the affordable complex would cost.

Separately, the board will also receive a progress update on the Del Monte project. So far, the developer has paid $300,000 of the $2 million it promised toward the planned Jean Sweeney Open Space Park – money that is being used for construction documents and drawings.

The developer is also negotiating a purchase of property owned by Wind River for a Clement Avenue extension, while Lennar, which is developing the Marina Shores housing project next door, has given the city $36,000 for Clement Avenue traffic signals.

Separately, Wind River is asking the city to renew previously granted permissions for a fifth building that was approved for its campus but never constructed.

The city also has the results of the first of three neighborhood parking studies that were required as part of the approvals for the Del Monte project. The baseline study, which measured parking usage near the planned development, showed that parking occupancy is just under 80 percent overall, with occupancy ranging from 43 percent to 96 percent on different blocks.

Parking on nine of the blocks studied was 100 percent used, the study showed; Pacific Avenue, Stanton Street and Bay Street between Lincoln and Buena Vista avenues were the most heavily parked streets.


Submitted by MJ (not verified) on Tue, May 26, 2015

How is the above rendering, kind of a Soviet Revival style of architecture, "designed to complement the Del Monte warehouse?"

Submitted by HK (not verified) on Tue, May 26, 2015

This structure appears too modern for the area being developed. Lewis' development of this structure should complement the existing Del Monte facade and the historical neighborhood surrounding it.

Submitted by b. (not verified) on Tue, May 26, 2015

Gosh...another faceless/characterless "modern" design that looks like something you'd find in just about any genericized/genrified city.

Ugly angles, mis-matched colors/finishes. These sorts of buildings are a dime a dozen now and look like they've been put together with Legos by a four year old.

There's no attempt here to fit in with the surroundings whatsoever.

Submitted by C. (not verified) on Wed, May 27, 2015

Design worthy or not - I'm just glad it's more housing for low income Alameda seniors. We need more of it - lots more of it. Anybody know now what the wait list is for subsidized senior housing in Alameda? A couple years ago the wait list at Independence Plaza was 3 to 5 years with no guarantee of getting in once your name came to the top of the wait list. Many Alameda seniors who rent (and who have lived on the island for decades or even all their lives) have already or will be soon seeing their incomes decline as they age. Are we going to let seniors remain in Alameda or are we going to cast our elders aside because the housing market is so red hot that only the rich need apply? Too many people imagine Alameda seniors are well off because they sold their homes at the top of the market and have lots of money and can just downsize by buying a condo or smaller home - or even have assets to afford a market rate rental. Many seniors I know have been long term or life time renters. Others lost their homes in the downturn. Many do not have defined pensions and must make whatever personal savings they have accumulated combined with their social security last until they die - all while being uncertain of what their medical expenses will be as they age. Thirty one units is a good start - but let's build much more affordable housing for seniors to rent all over Alameda Point and on appropriate available parcels elsewhere on the island. People like to think when they get old they won't have financial worries. Keeping sheltered in one's own community and being able to afford medical care shouldn't have to be "luxuries" in old age - but rather basic rights. As far as I'm concerned it's time to drown out the NIMBYs who do not want development of more housing in Alameda. I'd also like to thank Angela Hockabout and others being public in their fight for renters in Alameda. They are brave for coming forward and they speak for a silent block of renters who, like me, who are too afraid to be public about our concern about rent prices and availability because we fear we will have trouble with our own landlord or potential future landlords. We have no family to fall back on. If we get labeled bad tenants because we become tenant activists we don't have anyone to move in with. We could easily be on the street and homeless. It's like there is a whole underground of fearful tenants just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Those who already own homes, the realty community and landlords can minimize it all they want - but the unabated worry just hangs in the air at all times for renters. It is sometimes difficult to think of anything else other than, will I be able to stay here when I retire? It really has consumed us. We have no family. Alameda is all we know. Can't life long Alamedans live out their senior years here with some dignity? Senior housing that is affordable should be at the top of our community's priority list.

Submitted by MJ (not verified) on Fri, May 29, 2015

C., ugly does not necessarily get you more senior housing. It gets you more ugly.