File #: 2015-1297   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 2/17/2015
Title: Status Report on Site A Development at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Public Hearing and Community Outreach Schedule, 2. Exhibit 2 - Presentation of More Detailed Development Concept for Site A, 3. Exhibit 2 - SUPPLEMENTAL Presentation of More Detailed Development Concept for Site A, 4. External Correspondence, 5. Presentation by APP, 6. Submittal
Status Report on Site A Development at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: John A. Russo, City Manager
Re: Status Report on Site A Development at Alameda Point
On November 18, 2014, the City Council approved an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Alameda Point Partners (APP), the potential developer for a 68-acre mixed-use development site at Alameda Point (Site A) consistent with the Waterfront Town Center Plan.  The ENA requires that APP complete a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) and a Development Plan for Site A before the end of the 6-month ENA period.  On January 20, 2015, City staff and APP presented the terms of the ENA and an initial development concept for Site A to the City Council.  That meeting began an intensive community process that includes monthly hearings before the City Council and Planning Board, meetings with other boards and commissions, stakeholder meetings and community open houses (outlined in greater detail in Attachment 1).  
The terms in the ENA with APP require that Site A development: create upfront traffic mitigating transit infrastructure, such as dedicated bus rapid transit lanes and a new ferry terminal, to Alameda Point concurrent with the initial phase of development; construct certain utilities to serve the entire Alameda Point property thereby catalyzing employment uses in the adjacent adaptive reuse and enterprise areas; and fund near-term sports fields and waterfront park amenities for the entire Alameda community.  
This staff report provides more detailed information on the development concept that was provided to City Council in January, offers initial responses to the comments made by the City Council at the January public hearing, and provides a summary of the status of the public outreach process and major feedback received from members of the community since the January 20th meeting.
I.      Update on Development Plan for Site A
APP has updated its development concept for Site A with more detailed information on street sections, multi-modal transit, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities, building heights, land use designations, and building setbacks consistent with the Town Center Plan (Attachment 2).  This development concept will evolve through feedback from the City Council, Planning Board, other boards and commissions, and the community at-large, culminating in a formal Development Plan application and approval process.  APP proposes  an incremental approach to development of Site A that will preserve a significant amount of the character and history of the site and still be consistent with the Town Center Plan.  This modest and deliberate method will ensure a truly mixed-use development, which includes new amenities (i.e., parks and open spaces and restaurants) and businesses, not just housing.  
II.      Response to City Council Comments
At the January 20th meeting, the City Council raised a number of issues and questions regarding the Site A development.  A summary of those comments and staff's initial responses is provided below.  In many cases, additional review or analysis will be required by APP or staff before a definitive response can be provided.   
·      Opportunities for creating unexpected and surprising public pathways and streets (e.g., non-linear curving features or paths) consistent with the "look and feel" of military towns should be explored as part of the site planning process.  
Response:  Staff agrees.  In fact, one of the aspects of the current site plan proposed by APP that staff appreciates the most is the curvilinear street around portions of the ellipse south of Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway (RAMP) and the pathways proposed through the "urban park" area that follows the non-linear remnants of the former railroad alignment.  APP and its planning team will explore additional opportunities for unexpected non-linear pathways consistent with former military towns.
·      The proposed concept offers a significant amount of connectivity between the adjacent Alameda neighborhoods and Site A, which invites the rest of the Alameda community into the proposed new development.
Response:  Staff agrees.
·      The plan proposes an exciting mix of job, open space and housing uses.
Response:  Staff agrees.
·      The reuse of existing buildings within the plan is a positive feature of the plan.
Response:  Staff agrees.
·      Historic resources and existing features, including the existing jet should be preserved.
Response:  Staff agrees.  In fact, one of the major components of the current site plan proposed by APP that greatly improves upon the City's Town Center Plan is the preservation of the majority of the ellipse south of RAMP, remnants of the former railroad alignment, and a significant amount of existing buildings.  These elements help to preserve the historic character of the site.
·      The elliptical entry along the extension of RAMP within Site A should be maintained.
Response:  The City's Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP) and Town Center Plan propose that the extension of RAMP within Site A be a straight grid connection between the existing RAMP corridor outside of Alameda Point and the Seaplane Lagoon because it is planned as the primary transit entry corridor into the entire Alameda Point property and includes exclusive, traffic mitigating, transit lanes.  It is important to maintain a fast and direct transit route along RAMP connecting Alameda Point and Webster Street.  One of the major improvements of the APP plan over the Town Center Plan is the preservation of the majority of the ellipse, including the existing tree and plane in their current locations, without impacting the straight exclusive transit lanes along RAMP.
·      The proposed development should promote sustainable development and reuse of existing materials.
Response:  Staff agrees.  The MIP and Town Center Plan mandate sustainable practices including significant water quality improvements and the reuse of existing materials from the demolition of existing streets and buildings.  APP's infrastructure and planning teams are incorporating these and other sustainable measures into the Site A project.
·      Concerns were expressed about the high ratio of rental-to-ownership housing (75/25) being proposed for Site A.
Response:  The appropriate mix of rental-to-for-sale housing is highly dependent upon market conditions and  can only be determined at a future date closer to construction. Also, staff believes there are important reasons to maintain a high level of rental housing, including the following: (1) major commercial users and employers are more likely to locate at Alameda Point if a significant amount of high-quality nearby rental housing is provided for their workforce; (2) rental housing has a greater potential to attract residents who do not drive and use alternative modes of transit; (3) current market prices for condominiums in the local Alameda market do not support the high cost of the land and infrastructure at Alameda Point; and (4) very little market rate rental housing has been constructed in Alameda over the last several decades.
·      A greater percentage of affordable housing should be considered.
Response:  The Site A project is building 25 percent of its units as affordable housing.  This is 66.7 percent more than the City's existing inclusionary requirement. In general, affordable housing requires significant financial subsidies from private and public sources.  Increasing the number of affordable housing units even further will have a significant impact on the financial feasibility of the project and will force trade-offs that will diminish the provision of other amenities (e.g., parks and infrastructure) without additional public funding or a greater total number of housing units. APP and staff are reviewing the financial implications of increasing the number of affordable housing units within the project and will report back to the City Council at a future meeting.  
·      Cost estimates of a Seaplane Lagoon ferry terminal should adequately address the need and cost of dredging of the Seaplane Lagoon.
Response:  Staff agrees and has already engaged a marine engineer in assessing the need to dredge the Seaplane Lagoon for a ferry terminal and any associated dredging costs now and into the future.
·      Contamination within certain storm drain lines within Site A should be disclosed to the developer.
Response:  Staff agrees and has disclosed this information to APP.
·      The City's long-term interests should be protected regarding environmental liability, especially as development occurs.  
Response:  Staff agrees and will include appropriate insurance and indemnity clauses within conveyance documents with the Navy and the DDA with APP.
·      The Planning Board should be made aware of concerns expressed about the housing development being planned for the West End and the Northern Waterfront and its impact to the local transportation system.
Response:  Staff conveyed this concern to the Planning Board at its meeting on January 26, 2015.
·      The long-term fiscal impacts of new development should be analyzed, including an analysis of the sensitivity of the impacts to changes in the  mix of rental and ownership housing.  
Response:  While such an analysis has already been done for Alameda Point, changing market conditions make it prudent to revisit this issue now.  In short, staff agrees and has tasked its economic consultant with updating the previous fiscal impact analysis that was prepared for Alameda Point to evaluate the fiscal impacts of the Site A development on the City's General Fund.  Additionally, staff has asked its consultant to assess the sensitivity of the fiscal impacts to changes in  the mix of rental and ownership housing. The draft results of this analysis will be presented to the City Council as part of the Site A status report planned for the March 17th City Council meeting.
III. Community Process and Feedback
As presented in Attachment 1, City staff, along with APP, will be returning to the City Council every month to present a status report on the Site A development planning process and receive guidance from the City Council.  This guidance will be integrated into the ongoing Planning Board and community process.    Additionally, City staff will host community open houses and forums about the Site A development, continue to meet with stakeholders on an ongoing basis and use its email lists, webpages, and social media to inform the Alameda community about next steps at Site A.  At the same time, City staff and APP will be negotiating a DDA document that builds upon the key terms contained in the ENA.
The following provides an update on the public hearings and open houses held since the last City Council meeting on January 20th and the key feedback received at each meeting:
January 26th Planning Board Workshop -  Discussion of Development Concept for Site A.  
Major comments raised by the Planning Board and community and staff's initial responses are as follows:
·      The linear park needs additional thought to make sure it is a useable, attractive public space and not a wide median circled by roads and cars.  Consideration should be given to a one-way couplet around the park.  
Response:  The APP Team is revising the design consistent with this suggestion.
·      Project phasing should carefully consider and describe the timing and relationship between Phase 0, new commercial development, and the reuse of existing buildings for commercial uses.
Response: The APP Team will improve its description of project phasing, including an explanation that the reuse of existing buildings, while shown as "Phase 3," will be marketed and potentially occupied as early as Phase 1 depending on market demand.
·      Town Center "Site A" needs a better name.
Response:  The APP Team is working on a better name than "Site A" for the project.
·      Consideration should be given to shifting the location of the stand-alone multi-family affordable housing site farther west away from Main Street.
Response: The APP Team is revising.
·      Civic and public uses in and around Site A need to be better articulated and defined and public/private partnerships for these types of uses should be explored.
Response: The APP Team will create a graphic to depict both existing and proposed civic and public uses in and around Site A.
·      Block sizes need to be carefully considered to ensure that blocks are not too big per the Town Center Plan.
Response:  The APP Team is revising and improving the design.
·      The south side of RAMP and a small section of the north side needs to be improved to create a better "street wall," per the Town Center Plan.
Response:  The APP Team is revising and improving the design to create a better "street wall."
·      The relationships and relative massing of buildings at key locations, such as within the Urban Park District, should be carefully considered and articulated.
Response: The APP Team is creating graphics and models to better illustrate these relationships.
·      The Seaplane Lagoon should be easily accessible by the public, not just to view, but to access with personal watercraft and sailboats.
Response:  The APP Team is working on ways to achieve this as part of Phase 0 and as part of the long term physical improvements to the waterfront.
·      The re-configuration of the streets and spaces in and around the central plaza with shared spaces for pedestrians, bicycles, and cars is a positive change.
Response:  Staff agrees.
·      The reuse of existing buildings in a number of locations is a positive improvement to the Town Center Plan.
Response:  Staff agrees.
·      While opportunities for non-linear pedestrian pathways should be explored further, rectilinear streets are important for continuation of the City's existing street grid and maximizing the potential for convenient and fast transit.
Response:  Staff agrees.
·      Images of proposed housing types should be provided and the current images of Granville Island provided as inspiration for the commercial uses are positive.
Response:  The APP Team is revising to include images of proposed housing types.
·      The proposed development concept respects view corridors.
Response:  Staff agrees.
·      The proposed development concept does a good job connecting parks and open spaces with both the living spaces and the waterfront.
Response:  Staff agrees.
January 29th Community Open House at Building 14 at Alameda Point
Key feedback received by the community includes:
General Design / Questions
·      "Need a legend on the drawings;"
·      Several people were confused about axial view from RAMP to San Francisco because the current entry road angle throws them off.  A couple thought it might be helpful to dot in the existing entry drive and "green" w/ jet to help them orient themselves;
·      A couple of people did not like the town center name but liked Seaplane Station or Seaplane Plaza (almost anything that referenced seaplanes) with an associated desire to have a seaplane on display somewhere;    
·      People like retaining the jet at the entry green;
·      One request to continue the railroad tracks over to the entry green/jet area;
·      "Are you going to keep the train tracks?"
·      "I really like the thoughtfulness of the plan;"
·      "What kind of tenants will be in the commercial spaces?"
·      "Will you keep the plane?"
·      ​​Would like to see the illustrative plan inserted into a Google Earth aerial of the entire Alameda Point. Also would like a "you are here" identification on plan for future public meetings to help them orient themselves; and
·      Label all streets and identify existing landmarks or tenants, building numbers and various product types.
Open/Public Space
·      Several questions about the nature of the plaza but all seemed to support the anticipated approach and a couple of people liked that the buildings and road got closer to the water than the precise plan;
·      "I'd like a 300' public park around the entire seaplane lagoon;"
·      RAMP design should conform with already approved Cross Alameda Bike Trail designs;
·      Two people liked the idea of a major attraction like London's big wheel (London Eye);
·      Need to put more thought into dog parks. The existing ones on Alameda are tiny;
·      I wish there were more trees;
·      Put a public park on the east side of Seaplane Lagoon in between the street/buildings and the waterfront; and
·      Request for a better and more detailed understanding of the size and functionality of the linear park.
Affordable Housing
·      "Where will the affordable housing be?"
·      Density/Heights/Housing
·      "What are the heights of the proposed buildings?"
·      "Density at the water makes sense;"
·      Several questions about building height and number of stories. One person was disappointed that the tallest buildings might be taller than the existing hangers;
·      A couple of members of the Planning Board liked the idea of shifting the townhomes south of RAMP directly adjacent to the entry green/jet and  thought those units would be highly desirable; and
·      "Density should be closer to Main Street so views of the water are not blocked."
·      "Where will the buses run?"
·      "Where will the ferry terminal be?" Ferry Terminal should be close to office and retail uses;
·      "Will the new ferry terminal replace the old one? Or, will there be two?"
·      A couple of questions on where parking would be for retail, commercial buildings and larger events.
·      A few wanted to know who to contact regarding how to put down a deposit.
February 5th Historical Advisory Board to Discuss Development Concept for Site A.  
The feedback received from the Historical Advisory Board must be provided orally to the City Council at this evening's meeting.  This staff report was released before the HAB meeting had taken place.
February 12th Recreation & Park Commission to Discuss Development Concept for Site A.
This staff report was released before the Commission meeting.
The more detailed information on the Site A development concept provided in Attachment 2 does not yet incorporate feedback from these meetings, but will be addressed in the next draft package.
This report is for information only.  There is no financial impact to the General Fund or Base Reuse Department budgets.
This is for information only.  
This is for information only.
No action required. This item is for informational purposes only.
Respectfully submitted,
Jennifer Ott, Chief Operating Officer - Alameda Point
1.      Public Hearing and Community Outreach Schedule
2.      Presentation of More Detailed Development Concept for Site A