UPDATED: Developing in Alameda

UPDATED: Developing in Alameda

Michele Ellson

While much of the public's attention toward development has been focused on Alameda Point, another area of the Island may see hundreds of new homes, a lot sooner.

Alameda's Northern Waterfront is home to the Del Monte warehouse, the former Encinal Terminal property, a Chipman warehouse and 22 acres of Alameda Marina property. All of the sites may see housing development.

All told, about a half-dozen sites where homes are proposed or may be considered line the waterfront directly, while others - including the Pennzoil property - are nearby.

Developer Tim Lewis Communities is seeking permission to build as many as 414 new units on the Del Monte warehouse property; the developer also owns the Encinal Terminal property, which the city thinks could hold as many as 234 homes. Lennar is seeking design approvals for its 89-home Marina Cove II development on the former warehouse site, and the marina property is listed as a "housing opportunity" site that could hold up to 400 homes in the housing element of the city's general plan - its blueprint for housing development in Alameda.

City leaders have signed off on 182 new homes on the Boatworks site on Clement Avenue, thought he project may soon be amended. A property with a warehouse next door could hold as many as 53 new homes, city staffers say.

The Alamedan has updated its popular development map with the latest information on what's developing in Alameda, and we've added the sites that may also soon make their way into the city's housing development pipeline. At the request of one of our readers we've also attached a spreadsheet listing all the active and pending housing developments in Alameda and sites where housing may one day be built, so readers can tally the numbers for themselves.

If you've got suggestions for ways we can improve the map - or information to add - let us know by leaving a comment or e-mailing me at michele@thealamedan.org.


Submitted by Liz Taylor (not verified) on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

Alameda needs more businesses more than it needs housing. The housing proposed- hundreds of homes on limited space, leaves no room for gardens, Trees, yards, or paths- things that make Alameda, Alameda. The practical matters of too many cars, insufficient parking, aged infrastructure and emergency services don't seem well thought out either. Pity.

Submitted by squire (not verified) on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

The Chipman warehouse was flattened and hauled away last month. Nothing but an empty lot now.

Submitted by Richard Hausman (not verified) on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

The issue of more businesses is more complicated than "we need more." Businesses only thrive when there are residents nearby and that means housing, and housing can only be built when the economy is growing. Obviously, since 2008 it hasn't, although it's slooowly coming back. There's also the issue of what kinds of businesses. Look at Park Street: the restaurants seem to be doing well but retail is not. The dollars that once supported those retail businesses that are now closed or closing (Dog Bone Alley) are going off island. As the economy begins to gain strength, the housing will gain strength and the retail business will come back.

Submitted by Louise Goeckel (not verified) on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

I encourage planners to prioritize more trees, sidewalks, bike and dog-walking paths, interesting green spaces, small business development, support for the arts, community gardens, sunlight, fresh air and inter-generational mixes or else the desired home buyers will choose other locations. We have the winning formula now, so let's preserve the essence of what people are really buying.

Submitted by Build it and th... (not verified) on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

Dropping my 2 cents. We have great schools here on the island-- they're not perfect, but better than nearby alternatives. Let's continue to invest in schools, students, and teachers.

Submitted by Steve Gerstle on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

There is also the influence of Airbnb in Alameda. There are a few dozen listings for entire homes, including someone who rents out a trailer in his front yard on Pacific Avenue.

Submitted by MJ (not verified) on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

It's time to start naming traffic jams after city council members and bureaucrats, complete with official signage.

Submitted by Amanda Soskin (not verified) on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

Hard not to agree with R Hausman above, commerce is tricky, that said, the City runs itself as a bedroom community, servicing its 80% commuter population, rather than developing an integrated economic development to address the needs of residents, those commuting to and from Alameda, and those living and working on the island. The city does not deploy mechanisms to really identify and utilize its assets, namely its talent, for example incentivize entrepreneurs and volunteers. Nor does it effectively enable Civic groups or our business associations to do what it otherwise can't and wont. Simplified, the City measures its performance in terms of first response, number of trees pruned and drains laid. The civic sector must do its part. If Alameda really wants to move the needle, civic organizations can just as easily work with developers to influence projects, civilians can rally together to coordinate/staff/fund community projects, networks exist and can be formed to support new businesses to establish themselves here in Alameda. There is no shortage of talent, however, there is in my opinion a shortage of civic leadership. This we can do something about!

Submitted by AP (not verified) on Fri, Jun 20, 2014

Ha! The Airstream AirBNB is a round the corner from me. Since the people in the house are renters I wonder if their landlord is aware.

Submitted by Rob Byrne (not verified) on Fri, Jun 20, 2014

It is overdue. This site needs to be developed. I own a home on Benton Street which over the past 15 years has seen industry take over the roadways at all times of day and night, with 18 wheelers illegally moving through the tiny streets unclear of truck routes. They break trees, curbs and hit cars. They back up the streets far more so than any amount of cars could. They also pollute at an exponentially greater rate. Everyone who has leased the building abuses the street routes and without clement street open at Grand we have semi trucks moving two directions on tiny Bemton street. Develop the site. Home owners who have been here for the duration have seen these plans fall apart at the last minute several times. It continues to get worse BECAUSE it is not developed and in the mean time the building gets ignored. Access to the water and the marina walkways and the new open park site are all but cut off. Currently a pedestrian has to walk into the roadway on Sherman street to access the other side of the building. I am confident clement avenue will open now that the penzoil containers are coming down but down ,as we've seen in the past, waiting has put heavy industry vehicles on these streets for 15 years and those trucks go away NOW! ...if we develop. Without it, the city and the owners will continue to get the revenue from industry and that will just mean more trucks clogging the streets. We have witnessed the truck traffic dominate, particularly since 2007. The traffic that is supposed to eventually find clement, all going to the del monte building currently, is taking alternate routes but much of ot comes straight down Lincoln from Tilden and turns left on the tiny street of Benton. With development, the industry goes away. With a shuttle to Oakland as proposed, many of us can take the ferry without getting into our cars. And with some more parking, perhaps working with wind river to lease the multitudes of empty spots they possess, this can become a green belt pedestrian community. We have to start somewhere. It will contain restaurants and small grocery to accommodate the people living in and near the building. That will keep many of us from having to jump in our cars. With a shuttle to Oakland, I myself will not need to now purchase a second car. In fact, we may be able to commute door to door if we can get to the Oakland ferry via the shuttle they provide. This has the potential to become a pedestrian centric neighborhood. I think the additional cars will be a burden, but no more a burden than the industrial fleet of container trucks driving through here every day spewing their virtually unregulated exhaust and ruining our quality of life. This is a first step in the right direction. Some are hesitant because all our ducks aren't in a row. But let me reiterate that the history of trying to develop this site has seen version after version fail. We have to start somewhere. It's not a perfect plan but it's a good plan that will increase our quality of life tremendously. Perhaps the question we should be asking isn't if we need to cure all of our traffic woes with this development, after all, the real mistake was building this in the middle of our neighborhood in 1927, decades after many of the homes already existed. If we are going to fix it, we need to start somewhere. As I see it, in the short term things will get exponentially better as we slowly add small vehicles while immediately ridding our neighborhood of the 18 wheelers. In five years we will have more small vehicle traffic on our neighborhood and there are plans to address them, as I have seen over the past 15 years. The city and the developer only need incentive to get the ball rolling. Again, it's not a cure all but anyone living in this area absolutely will see their quality of life change dramatically for the positive as access to parks, green ways local shopping and coffee shops are born and all of it in walking distance.

Submitted by Margaret Scott (not verified) on Sat, Jun 21, 2014

Please develop the site. Buena Vista and Benton streets are clogged with diesel spewing trucks. Having a community with shops that can be accessed without getting into our cars and having access to the marina will be a boost to the blight that currently exists simply because the building has been left to rot. The above post is correct. The trucks are far worse than any cars that might come from new development. Either develop it or turn it into a park. Now is the time.

Submitted by AP (not verified) on Mon, Jun 23, 2014

The house next to the AirStream trailer has been raised. Strange.
The housing development at the DelMonte building is going to cause a million problems. If there were fewer units, it would be fine. But from all that I am reading, I am against it.