Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: 2016-2687   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 3/14/2016
Title: Hold a Public Hearing to Consider Design Review Approval for Block 11, Block 8, and Phase 1 Waterfront Park at Alameda Point Site A
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Block 11 and Shared Plaza Design Review Plans, 2. Exhibit 1-A - Addendum to Block 11 Plans, 3. Exhibit 2 - Phase 1 Waterfront Park Design Review Plans, 4. Exhibit 2-A - Addendum to Block Waterfront Park Plans, 5. Exhibit 3 - Block 8 Design Review Plans, 6. Exhibit 3-A - Addendum to Block 8 Plans, 7. Exhibit 4 - Block 11 Draft Resolution, 8. Exhibit 5 - Phase 1 Waterfront Park Draft Resolution, 9. Exhibit 6 - Block 8 Draft Resolution

Title

 

Hold a Public Hearing to Consider Design Review Approval for Block 11, Block 8, and Phase 1 Waterfront Park at Alameda Point Site A

 

Body

 

To:                                                               President and

                     Members of the Planning Board

                     

From:                        Jennifer Ott, Chief Operating Officer - Alameda Point

                                                               Andrew Thomas, Assistant Community Development Director

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

In June 2015, the City Council unanimously approved the Site A Development Plan for a 68-acre area within Alameda Point that extends generally from the Main Street entrance to Alameda Point to the Seaplane Lagoon and the eastern edge of the Naval Air Station Alameda Historic District (Historic District). 

 

Since the City Council action on the Development Plan, the project proponent, Alameda Point Partners (APP) and its team of architects and design professionals, has been designing the buildings and site improvements for Block 11, Block 8 and the Phase 1 Waterfront Park. The work has been informed and directed by a Planning Board subcommittee and Planning Board study sessions on December 14, 2015 and January 11, 2016.   The plans for Block 11 and the Waterfront Park were reviewed by the Historical Advisory Board (HAB) on January 5, 2016, and the plans for the park were reviewed by the Recreation and Parks Commission on January 28, 2016. The Planning Board held another public hearing on February 22, 2016, to provide final comments on all three proposals.   The HAB will hold a hearing on March 3, 2016, to consider the final Certificate of Approval for Block 11 and the Phase 1 Waterfront Park.

 

At this time, staff is pleased to be recommending Design Review approval for all three proposals.  Since the February 22, 2016 public hearing:

 

                     Block 11 and Shared Plaza (Exhibit 1) and recommended conditions of approval were revised to finalize the required storm water management plans (“C-3 provisions”), add landscape design plans for the interior elevated podium courtyard, provide window details, update the Shared Plaza designs, and provide an opportunity for the Planning Board to review and approve, at a future meeting, the final street tree, street furniture, street lighting, building lighting, and building signage. 

 

                     Phase 1 Waterfront Park (Exhibit 2) and recommended conditions of approval were revised to finalize the required C-3 provisions, add additional sea level rise design information, and provide an opportunity for the Planning Board to review and approve, at a future meeting, the final palm tree selection, surface materials to protect against skateboard damage, furniture, trash enclosure, water fountain designs, lighting design and signage, and sea-level rise adaptive management strategies.   Additional conditions of approval also require a future hearing to review and approve final railing details and/or options to avoid use of a railing along the bulkhead and the final design details for the proposed public pavilion structure.

    

                     Block 8 Affordable Housing (Exhibit 3) and recommended conditions of approval were revised to finalize the required C-3 provisions, add entry canopy architectural and window details, and provide an opportunity for the Planning Board to review and approve, at a future meeting, the final street tree, street furniture, street lighting, building lighting, and building signage.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Community Planning Process

 

The plans for mixed-use, transit oriented development at Alameda Point are the result of a community planning process that is over 20 years long. The major milestones during this extensive community effort include:

 

                     The adoption of the 1996 Alameda Naval Air Station Community Reuse Plan (Community Reuse Plan) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which envisioned reuse and redevelopment of Alameda Point with 5.5 million square feet of employment uses and 1,425 residential units, including public parks and retail services.

 

                     The adoption of the Alameda General Plan Alameda Point Element and EIR in 2003, which placed the Community Reuse Plan vision, goals, and policies into the Alameda General Plan.

 

                     The July 2013 endorsement of the Alameda Point Vision Guide reconfirming the community’s support for the vision and goals presented in the Community Reuse Plan and General Plan.

 

                     The 2014 adoption of the Alameda Point Zoning Ordinance, Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP) and third EIR consistent with the Community Reuse Plan, which established the zoning and development regulations and the Alameda Point Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP) necessary to support 5.5 million square feet of employment uses and 1,425 residential units, after over 30 public hearings and community meetings between 2012 and 2014.

 

                     The May 2014 adoption of the Alameda Point Transportation Demand Management Plan (TDM Plan) consistent with the General Plan and the Alameda Point EIR, which creates a comprehensive program of strategies, measures, and transit services that supports a transit-oriented development at Alameda Point, achieves the City of Alameda’s General Plan goals to reduce automobile trips, and mitigates potential traffic impacts.

 

                     The July 2014 adoption of the Alameda Point Waterfront and Town Center Precise Plan, which established the form-based development standards, height limits and pedestrian oriented development standards for the lands at the gateway and surrounding the Seaplane Lagoon Waterfront Park at the heart of Alameda Point.  The Town Center Plan included the most detailed plans prepared to date for a mixed-use district at the heart of Alameda Point.

 

                     The June 2015 unanimous City Council action to adopt the Site A Development Plan (shown above), which provides a detailed plan for 68 acres at the heart of the Waterfront Town Center planning area. The approval process included recommendations from the Planning Board, Recreation and Parks Commission, Historical Advisory Board, Transportation Commission, and direction from public open houses and public walking tours.

 

The Site A Development Plan

 

The Site A Development Plan implements the Community Reuse Plan, General Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and the requirements of the MIP and Town Center Plan.    The Site A Development Plan includes:

 

                     Approximately 14.8 acres of publicly accessible open space, parks and plazas representing approximately 22% of the 68-acre property, and approximately 16.3 acres of public streets and sidewalks representing an additional 24% of the property.

 

                     Eight hundred of the 1,425 total residential units programmed for Alameda Point and up to 400,000 square feet of commercial development in existing buildings, approximately 200,000 square feet of retail and hotel space in new buildings. Residential units are provided in transit oriented, multifamily building types on eight blocks located immediately adjacent to the primary transit corridor along the RAMP that links a future ferry terminal at the Seaplane Lagoon with the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service between Site A and downtown Oakland.  All residential units on Site A will be within a one-block walk or less of the BRT line, protected bicycle lanes along RAMP and public open space to facilitate a pedestrian oriented environment.  Of the 800 units, approximately 635 of the units will be in stacked flat buildings over parking and approximately 165 of the units will be in attached or stacked townhomes and row houses.  200 of the 800 units (25%) restricted to very low-, low- and moderate-income households.  

 

                     One hundred twenty-eight (128) of the 200 affordable units are permanently restricted for very low- and low- income households.  These units are proposed to be constructed by Eden Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, in two buildings on Block 8 in the first phase of the development.  The development also includes two (2) moderate-income units. Eden Housing will also provide long-term property management and resident services targeted to the needs of its residents.  The 70 moderate-income units will be dispersed throughout the remaining residential buildings. 

 

                     400,000 square feet in existing buildings will be marketed primarily for flexible R&D, office and/or light industrial and retail uses or ancillary retail uses.  These uses are complementary to existing uses within the adjacent adaptive reuse area, which include clean-tech companies and food and beverage manufacturing production uses.

 

                     Dedicated annual funding for transit services and transportation programs. In addition, the project is providing $10 million for construction of the new Ferry Terminal at the Seaplane Lagoon to support expanded ferry services to San Francisco and the region and over $8.5 million to construct complete streets in and around Alameda Point, including key transit improvements, such as dedicated bus lanes on RAMP to support expanded transit services from Alameda Point to downtown Oakland and BART. 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Block 11 and Shared Plaza Design Review Plans (Exhibit 1)

 

Block 11 and the adjacent shared plaza  are designed to meet the community’s design objectives established by the Alameda community through the Community Reuse Plan, the General Plan, the Town Center Plan, and the Site A Development Plan.  Block 11 is located at the very heart of the Site A Development Plan and Alameda Point Waterfront Town Center planning area.  Given its important geographic location within Alameda Point, the Block 11 design must meet a variety of important public planning and design objectives:  

 

Waterfront Orientation: Block 11 fronts onto the Seaplane Lagoon and the new Phase 1 Waterfront Park where it will provide a transition between the urban fabric of Alameda Point and the natural environment of the Seaplane Lagoon and the San Francisco Bay.   The building and adjacent waterfront street are designed to face the water to the south west of the building and make it as easy as possible for residents of the building and visitors to the building to view the water, walk to the water, and enjoy and appreciate the waterfront location.  Designed as a pedestrian friendly "shared plaza" without curbs and decorative paving, the design also respects the Historic District cultural landscape guidelines, which emphasize the Navy's historic street and taxiway design without curbs or with rolled curbs, which serves to emphasize the horizontality and the "flatness" and "openness" of the historic character of the street and landscape pattern. 

 

The waterfront street in front of Block 11 is designed to serve as an extension of the adjacent Waterfront Park and provide a strong pedestrian-oriented, bicycle friendly, street front between the building and the park. Designed without curbs and without asphalt, the waterfront street utilizes paving materials, colors and textures, along with landscaping, to create an inviting public space through which vehicles may slowly pass, approximately 12 vehicles may be parked, pedestrians may stroll along and across, and bicyclists may pass through with little concern for speeding vehicles.

 

Given the unique design being proposed for this important waterfront public street, staff would like to ensure that the Planning Board and public carefully examine and comment on the most current design for this street. Staff is particularly focused on the pavement treatments and patterns where the street turns at the edge of the Waterfront Park.  Page 7 provides the best illustration of the most current design.      

 

Historic District Neighbor: Block 11 fronts onto the adjacent Historic District where it will provide an architectural transition between the Historic District to the west and the non-historic portions of Alameda Point and Site A to the east.

 

The Block 11 architectural design shares architectural elements, materials and colors that reflect and respect, without replicating, the “Art Moderne” architectural style of the most important contributing buildings in the Historic District.  Examples of these elements include the strong horizontal lines that define the architectural design of the building, the use of rounded forms on the south west, water-facing corner of the building, the use of glass and light off-white concrete and stucco materials, and ground floor retail elevation elements that reflect the design of the large multi-pane hangar doors that are such defining features of the adjacent Hanger Row.  Additionally, the siting of the Block 11 building and adjacent waterfront street respect the historic street alignment and maintain view corridors along RAMP and Pan Am Avenue and of the seaplane hangars looking north.

 

Transit-Oriented Mixed-Use Development: Block 11 fronts onto the major transit corridor and commercial center within Alameda Point’s “town center”, where it has the opportunity to create a transit-and pedestrian-oriented higher density mixed-use living environment. Consistent with the Site A Development Plan and Town Center Plan, Block 11 includes 221 of the 800 new residential units approved for Site A. The total building height is approximately 78 feet to the top of parapet.

 

Consistent with the approved Alameda Point TDM Plan and the Site A TDM Compliance Strategy, residents and employees of Block 11 will be provided AC Transit easy passes, on-site bike share facilities and access to other TDM programs.  In addition, the residents of Block 11 will have access to: 

                     Approximately 25,000 square feet of on-site ground floor commercial retail uses;

                     A variety of on-site amenities including approximately 4,500 square feet of interior community and recreational facilities, as well as a large landscape podium above the retail and parking levels with lap pool and a roof top garden with views to the bay and San Francisco beyond;

                     Two lobbies that serve residents, each accessed through a street-facing garden;

                     15-minute transit services to the regional ferry, BART, Downtown Oakland, and nearby Alameda shopping districts, and access to on-site amenities;

                     Directly accessible space for the secure storage of approximately 240 bicycles, with contiguous space for bicycle maintenance and repair; and

                     226 on-site parking spaces plus 10 tandem spaces for resident parking as well as 60 parking spaces available for retail uses. 

                     

Phase 1 Waterfront Park Design Review Plans (Exhibit 2)

 

The 2.63-acre Phase 1 Waterfront Park depicted in Exhibit 2 represents the first phase of a larger 6.7 acre Waterfront Park, which is part of the 14-acre public park plan to be designed and constructed as part of the Site A project.  The 14 acres are comprised of three “park districts”: the “Waterfront Park District”, the “Urban Park District”, and the “Neighborhood Park District”, and each district is designed to provide a range of public open space and park facilities. 

 

The plans for the Park are designed to implement General Plan policies calling for a waterfront park and the Waterfront and Town Center Precise Plan vision for this important waterfront park.  On page 91, the Precise Plan describes the park as follows:

 

“Located at the end of Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, the plaza affords a dramatic view and invitation to the Seaplane Lagoon and surrounding waterfront parks.  As a flexible space for markets, events and outdoor cafes, the plaza can also provide vehicle access as needed for retail venues…With the waterfront promenade integrated through the waterside of the plazas, Seaplane plaza will likely be the most active space in the plan.” 

 

In general, the Waterfront Park District emphasizes spaces for passive recreation and access to the water, waterfront promenades, water viewing areas, seating areas, and gathering spaces.  The Urban Park District emphasizes public spaces adjacent to and within an urban commercial fabric, including an emphasis on outdoor cafés, restaurants, seating areas, and similar public spaces in and around retail areas. The Neighborhood Park District emphasizes active recreational uses adjacent to primarily residential areas, such as children’s play areas and “tot lots”, basketball courts, and other neighborhood and community serving open space and recreational facilities.   As shown on page L-7 of the phase 1 Waterfront Park submittal, the design and programming of the Phase 1 Waterfront Park must be considered within the larger context of the other parks planned within Site A. 

 

The Phase 1 Waterfront Park (Exhibit 2) is designed to achieve to provide public access to the waterfront, an entrance to the Historic District, and ensure the long term viability of the area by addressing sea-level rise in a manner that is consistent with the Historic District Cultural Landscape Guidelines.

 

Provide a Public Gathering Place at the Water's Edge and Create Varied Park and Open Space Experiences.  The Phase 1 Waterfront Park is designed to provide a variety of public spaces for passive recreation and opportunities for the public to enjoy the waterfront location and special events, and appreciate the views of the San Francisco skyline and the historic row of seaplane hangar buildings at the entrance to the Historic District, along the northern edge of the Seaplane Lagoon.   The 2.63-acre Phase 1 Waterfront Park is designed to create three primary sub-areas (i.e., the Overlook, the Promenade & Terraces, and the Taxiway). 

 

The Overlook starting on page LW-4 includes a pavilion for a café with outdoor seating and restrooms, as well as an elevated wood outdoor area for overlooking the promenade at the water’s edge, as well as portions of the promenade adjacent to the water.

 

The Promenade and Terraces starting on page LW-9 consists of a series of terraces and promenade spaces leading down to the water’s edge that provide for a variety of more passive spaces for enjoying and experiencing the waterfront. 

 

The Taxiway area starting on page LW-14 is intended to pay homage and respect to the historic elements of the former NAS Alameda by engraving a timeline along the major east west gathering area into the concrete to remind and educate the public about the history of the site and the Historic District, and by minimizing tree plantings and planted areas to preserve the "openness" of the historic taxiways consistent with the Historic District guidelines.  This area includes open and unobstructed areas planned for special events and food trucks and future retail buildings as conceived in the Site A Development Plan and a temporary multi-purpose lawn for active recreation uses until future phases of the Waterfront Park are constructed and this area is designed consistent with the areas to the north.

 

Consistent with the Historic District guidelines, tree plantings and planted areas are minimized to preserve the "openness" of the historic taxiways.   Where trees are planted, they are placed to emphasize the character defining views identified in the cultural landscape guidelines for the Historic District.

 

Addressing Sea level Rise within the Context of the Historic District Guidelines.  With anticipated sea level rise, the existing taxiways prior to the Site A redevelopment are expected to will flood during higher tides and storm events.  Consistent with the approved Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP) and San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) policies, the Waterfront Park is designed to address 24-inches of sea level rise (plus required freeboard) and additional sea level rise in future years beyond 24 inches through adaptive management strategies. 

 

The Phase 1 Waterfront Park design is also designed to preserve the existing bulkhead and the “horizontality" of the taxiway space, both of which are contributing features to the NAS Historic District. 

 

To accommodate both public objectives, the sea level rise strategy is designed around a series of short terraces spread over a larger space to minimize the impression of changes in elevation and the “flatness” of the site, and it allows for the preservation of the historically significant existing bulkhead and seaplane ramps.   However, it is important for the Planning Board and the community to understand that with sea levels rising, during storm events and annual "King Tides" (unusually high tides), the bulkhead and adjacent promenade will flood occasionally as the sea level rises over time, but the majority of the public park and Bay Trail will permanently remain above the flooded areas behind the stepped terraces.  For these reasons, the official Bay Trail will be placed at the top of the sea-level rise protection rather than at the very edge of the bulkhead.  Through this combination of design strategies, the design achieves a critical balance between the competing objectives of addressing sea-level rise and preserving the historic bulkhead, while creating a sustainable, engaging and aesthetically pleasing community asset and maintaining the horizontality of the site. The sea level rise protection is illustrated in the Appendix of Exhibit 2.

 

Block 8 Design Review Plans (Exhibit 3)

 

Affordable Housing: The Site A Development Plan includes 128 apartments for very low- and low- income families and seniors on Block 8 to be constructed and managed by Eden Housing, Inc. 

 

Eden Housing, Inc. is a fully integrated non-profit development corporation with two subsidiary companies - Eden Housing Management, Inc. (EHMI), Eden’s property management company, and Eden Housing Resident Services, Inc. (EHRSI), which provides services to our senior and family communities.  Eden Housing's mission is to build and maintain high-quality, well-managed, service-enhanced affordable housing communities that meet the needs of lower income families, seniors and persons with disabilities. Eden has extensive experience developing affordable housing developments in high-cost areas, and it has been developing in the Bay Area since its founding in 1968. Since then, Eden has developed and acquired more than 8,000 residential units in 131 properties that the organization owns and/or manages throughout California. Since its establishment in 1984, Eden Housing Management, Inc. (EHMI) has provided professional, quality management for Eden’s properties. Eden Housing Resident Services, Inc. (EHRSI) was formed in 1995 and provides services to all of Eden’s properties. Together, Eden brings a combined package of experience and expertise that covers the spectrum of activities involved in developing, owning, managing and servicing a high quality affordable housing development.

 

On Block 8, Eden is proposing two separate buildings: a senior community building and a family community building. The senior building will include 59 very low- and low- income one and two bedroom units.  The family building will include 69 very low- and low- income family apartments including both one, two and three-bedroom units.  Each building has a two-bedroom moderate-income apartment for an on-site resident manager. Therefore, a total of 130 units is proposed on Block 8.   To qualify as very low- or low- income a household earns between 50 and 80 percent of Alameda County Area Median Income.

 

Both buildings are four stories tall, with three residential floors over a podium parking structure.  Each building has been designed as a U-Shape with three stories of residential units surrounding an open courtyard that is located on top of the at-grade podium parking structure.  This design affords each building a safe and private open space environment that is oriented to maximize sunlight and protect each courtyard from prevailing north westerly winds.  A 56’ pedestrian park runs between the two buildings, providing visual relief to the four story massing, and an open space amenity with shaded pedestrian and bicycle pathways. The internal park is approximately 11,800 square feet in size and will be shared by residents of both buildings.  In addition, the Senior Building includes an additional approximately 6,100 square foot courtyard on the second floor, and the Family Housing Building includes an approximately 8,100 square foot courtyard.  Both courtyards are located on the second floor above the ground floor parking structures.

 

The senior building’s main entrance is immediately across the street from the U.S. Navy airplane and the neighborhood park and immediately adjacent to the BRT service that will run along RAMP.  A BRT bus stop is planned within 150 feet of the senior community’s main entrance and will provide convenient access to the 12th Street Oakland City Center BART station, and other AC Transit lines that serve the East Bay and San Francisco.  The family building’s main entrance faces onto the linear park that runs along G Street. Automobile access to the on-site parking is provided from the side street. Transit passes will be provided free-of-charge to all residents. 

 

Both the senior and family communities will have on-site management and supportive services and amenities including, a community room, a computer learning center, fitness center, management and service coordinator offices, as well as bicycle storage.  The senior building has a library/lounge that opens out onto the internal park. The community room in the family building is located on the second floor and opens out onto the courtyard with a kids play structure, outdoor seating and community gardens.  The senior building’s community room is located together with the other management and community amenity spaces along RAMP to activate the street frontage.

Consistent with the Town Center Plan, all of the community and management spaces along RAMP have 14’ high ceilings.  In a similar way, community and management space has been concentrated along G Street in the family building.  These spaces have 11’ high ceilings.

 

Transit-Oriented Mixed-Use Development: Block 8 fronts onto the major transit within Alameda Point’s “town center”, where it has the opportunity to create a transit-and pedestrian-oriented higher density living environment. Residents of Block 8 will be provided AC Transit easy passes, on-site bike share facilities and access to other TDM programs. The parking ratio for the family building is one parking space per unit. The senior building is parked at 0.47 spaces per unit.  These parking ratios are comparable to other Eden developments that are within close proximity to frequent public transit. In addition, the residents of Block 8 will also have access to: 

                     Approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial retail uses within a two block walk;

                     A variety of on-site amenities including interior and exterior recreational facilities, fitness centers, computer laboratories, an approximately 1,000 square foot community room for the senior building residents, and an approximately 1,350 square foot community room for the family building residents;

                     15-minute transit services to the regional ferry, BART, Downtown Oakland, and nearby Alameda shopping districts, and access to on-site amenities; and

                     Directly accessible space for the secure storage of approximately 94 bicycles;

                     

Conformance with Policies and Plans:

 

General Plan: The three design review plans are consistent with, and implement, the City of Alameda g General Plan.  The Alameda Point General Plan Element establishes the following seven (7) objectives for the redevelopment of the former naval air station:  

 

1.                     “Seamless integration of Alameda Point with the rest of the City”.  The three projects are designed as transit oriented, mixed-use, mixed income that is in keeping with Alameda’s traditional character and scale.

2.                     “Fostering a vibrant new neighborhood”. The three projects create new public and private facilities that encompass a variety of uses, facilities and spaces that will create a vibrant new waterfront neighborhood.

3.                     “Maximizing waterfront accessibility”.  Block 11 and the Phase 1 Waterfront Park improve accessibility to the waterfront and provide spaces and facilities for public enjoyment of the unique Seaplane Lagoon.

4.                     “De-emphasizing the automobile and making new development compatible with transportation capacity”. The two residential projects are designed to promote and support the use of alternative modes of transportation-such as bicycles, buses, and ferries-to reduce present and potential future congestion. The Phase 1 Waterfront Park is designed for pedestrians and bicycles and is located within close proximity to automobile visitor parking and public transit. 

5.                     “Ensuring economic development”. The three projects provide housing, open space, and retail services which are needed to support economic development of Alameda Point and create jobs in West Alameda to replace the jobs lost by the departure of the US Navy in 1996.  

6.                     “Creating a mixed-use environment”.  The three projects are designed to include a variety of uses that promote a transit and pedestrian-friendly mixed-use environment. 

7.                     “Establishing neighborhood centers”.  The three projects contribute to a neighborhood center at Site A that allows for residential, commercial, civic, community support services, cultural and recreational uses that support human interaction and public events. 

 

The following specific Alameda Point General Plan Element policies are examples of General Plan policies that are implemented by the three proposals:

 

Encourage higher density residential development in the vicinity of the multi-modal transit centers, along with parks and community serving businesses and institutions, such as child care and family child care homes, in order to promote accessibility via alternative modes of transit.

Create a series of neighborhoods, each with a central focus of mixed-use development, including local serving commercial and recreational uses and a mixture of housing types and densities serving all income levels.

Create neighborhood centers similar to Alameda’s neighborhood business districts, with supporting uses such as retail and local serving office and civic uses in mixed-use neighborhood centers that are acceptable for nearby residents.

Provide diverse and creative development and architectural styles to achieve distinctive neighborhoods.

Create mixed-use development that locates service-oriented uses near residences and offices.

Foster development of residential, commercial, and retail uses that promote vitality and pedestrian activity along the waterfront.

Achieve human-scale transit-oriented development.

Focus uses that create pedestrian traffic in all areas.

As part of the development or landscaping approval process, define view corridors and develop criteria so that views may be preserved.

Explore the feasibility of creating an outdoor site for cultural celebrations, ceremonies, and exhibitions.

Integrate parks and plazas into new development at Alameda Point.

Provide for community recreation opportunities throughout Alameda Point.

Establish a public plaza at the marina that will serve as a focus for public uses on the waterfront.

Establish a pedestrian- and bicycle-accessible perimeter shoreline trail throughout Alameda Point. Ensure that this trail is open year round, that the trail meets minimum multi-use trail standards, and that landscape treatment of the open spaces adjacent to the Estuary and the San Francisco Bay does not block distant views.

Redesign Atlantic Avenue to include a landscaped transit corridor for buses, jitneys, or future light-rail development.

 

Specific Plan: The Alameda Point Waterfront and Town Center Precise Plan is a specific plan that establishes zoning level form and use requirements for the development of this area of Alameda Point to ensure that development is consistent with the General Plan.  The three design review plans are consistent with, and implement, the following Waterfront and Town Center Specific Plan objectives, principles, and requirements:

 

The Precise Plan includes the following vision and guiding principles for all development in this area of Alameda Point:

 

“The primary goal of redevelopment within the Town Center and Waterfront Sub-district is to create a compact, transit-oriented, mixed-use urban core and vibrant waterfront experience that will leverage the unique character and existing assets of the sub-district, through incremental intervention, to catalyze transformation of the wider Alameda Point area.” 

 

To realize this vision, the precise plan establishes five “core principles”:

 

1.                     “Enhance existing assets and character”.   The three projects enhance and embrace the Seaplane Lagoon, maximize waterfront access, and the history of the site.

 

2.                     “Facilitate strategic implementation”.  The three projects and their associated re-investment in infrastructure support and facilitate redevelopment and reuse of the adjacent Historic District and adjacent “Site B” employment area.

 

3.                     “Cultivate a sustainable transit-oriented center”. The three projects represent the core of a mixed-use, mixed income transit oriented center supported by Waterfront Parks, transit services, and ground floor retail services. 

 

4.                     “Highlight the waterfront experience”. Block 11, the adjacent shared plaza waterfront street, and the Phase 1 Waterfront Park highlight and support the waterfront experience.

 

5.                     “Create a unique destination”.  The three projects represent the core of a mixed-use, mixed income transit oriented center supported by retail and restaurant uses, and waterfront parks that will be a unique destination for visitors to recreate, shop, dine, and enjoy.

 

The Precise Plan includes a series of form and use requirements for all new development within the area, which has governed and directed the design of the three projects. As described below, the three projects are in conformance with these requirements:

 

Land Use Regulations   The precise plan permits residential uses by right on Block 11 and Block 8, and requires ground floor retail uses on Block 11 and “adaptive ground floor space” with 12 foot clear heights and “no-step” entry on the front of Block 8.   To facilitate a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use environment, the Precise Plan requires that Blocks 3, 4, 8, 9, and 11 in the Development Plan have ground floor retail and/or adaptive spaces for retail facing Ralph Appazzatto Memorial Parkway.  Park uses are permitted by right on the Waterfront Park site. A café or restaurant is permitted by right in the waterfront pavilion shown on the park plans. 

 

Building Form Regulations:  As a form-based code, the Precise Plan includes a variety of development regulations specifically designed to address the physical form of buildings and spaces. The intent of these form-based regulations and guidelines is to ensure that the individual developments support the mixed-use, transit-oriented, pedestrian friendly environment required by the General Plan and Precise Plan.

 

Street wall:   To create a pedestrian-friendly environment, Block 11 and Block 8 both exceed the minimum 85% street wall requirement on RAMP and the 75% requirement on the side streets. 

 

Setback: To ensure ample sidewalks and public pedestrian space, both Block 11 and Block 8 provide two feet of setback on RAMP, and 4 to 6 feet on the side streets.  

 

Parking:  The parking provided with Block 8 and Block 11 is consistent with the maximum parking requirements and the parking design standards in the Precise Plan.  All of the on-site parking will be placed in shared parking garages within the buildings.   The parking for Block 11 will be leased separately from the individual units. Parking in the Block 8 affordable buildings will be assigned individually by the property manager.   A public parking lot will be provided behind Block 11 and on-street parking is provided in front and beside both Block 11 and Block 8.  To preserve a pedestrian-friendly shopping and strolling environment on RAMP, all automobile access to parking lots and structures is provided from the streets on the side or rear of the buildings.

 

Building Type and Height:  Consistent with the Precise Plan, Block 11 is a commercial block building type, and Block 8 is a Stacked Flat building type.   

 

To create a comfortable transition between the adjacent Bayport neighborhood and the commercial center at the Seaplane Lagoon, the Precise Plan also prescribes minimum and maximum heights for each block.  The height and residential density of the eight residential blocks increase along RAMP and across Site A from Main Street to the Seaplane Lagoon.  The blocks facing Main Street and the Bayport neighborhood are the lowest density blocks with three-story townhomes. The blocks closest to the Seaplane Lagoon and the commercial center of the project will provide space for the higher density multifamily housing units that will support the commercial uses and waterfront activities.

 

The Precise Plan and the City of Alameda Zoning Code define building height as the vertical distance measured from the average level of the highest and lowest point of that portion of the lot covered by the building to the highest point of the roof ridge or parapet wall not including parapets and other decorative features or rooftop equipment.  The Precise Plan allows the Planning Board to approve a design on Block 11 that exceeds the 65 foot height limit if the finding can be made that: “the building exhibits exceptional architectural design and is transit supportive.”

 

The Precise Plan establishes a maximum height of 65 feet for Block 11 and 50 feet for Block 8.The two buildings on Block 8 are 50 feet high to the top of the parapet. 

 

Block 11 is 78 feet to the top of the parapet.  Staff is recommending the Planning Board include the finding of exceptional architectural design to approve the proposed design. 

 

The proposed design is exceptional with the balance it strikes between a unique contemporary design and its homage to the “Art Moderne” design of the existing adjacent buildings within the Historic District; the open façade at the southwestern corner; the use of high-quality glazing and other materials; and the high ceilings and pedestrian scale of the ground floor uses.  Additionally, the high-density, multi-family mixed-use building fronting Alameda Point’s main bus transit corridor at the heart of the commercial center of the development and within close proximity of the proposed ferry terminal at Seaplane Lagoon create a strong transit supportive project. The proposed design includes an exceptional ground floor level with 20 foot ceiling heights for the ground floor retail spaces. The 20 foot height allows for high quality retail spaces and a very attractive pedestrian oriented retail frontage.  The large volume spaces will also facilitate the ability to attract high quality retail and restaurant tenants to these important waterfront retail spaces.    

 

Bulk and Massing:  As stated in the Precise Plan, “The objective of the Bulk and Massing controls is the creation of buildings that will be pedestrian scaled and visually well proportioned.”  Both Block 11 and Block 8 have been designed to be pedestrian scaled and visually well proportioned.  This has been done by breaking down the overall mass of each building into a sequence of compatible and visually interesting smaller masses.   The front façade of Block 11 is comprised of three smaller vertical masses that are defined by the two vertical tower elements and a change in wall plane between each mass and the vertical column element.  On the side elevations, the massing is more significantly adjusted by the large open courtyard areas that divide the side elevations into two smaller elevations, while retaining a continuous ground floor street wall. 

 

Block 8 utilizes similar, but different architectural strategies, including a series of complementary and visually well-proportioned architectural designs, changes in fenestration, and changes in wall plan across the face of the building to reduce the apparent scale of the building on the block. 

 

Design Guidelines: The Precise Plan design guidelines shaped the architectural design of the proposed buildings.  The buildings in the three proposals are designed to conform to the Precise Plan guidelines, which include:

 

Street facing facades should include architectural elements such as canopies, awnings, overhangs, projections, shading devises, recesses, signage, lighting, varying façade element depths, material and surface variety and texture intended to provide interest to the pedestrian environment.

Building facades exceeding 50 feet in length should include modulation or articulation to the street wall.  This may be achieved with one or more material, texture or fenestration pattern change, recessed building entries, recessed balconies, enclosed building area encroachments and projections, and minor setbacks of 2 feet or less.

The scale and rhythm of the façade should express the height and configuration of a residential unit through technics such as architectural detail, color, massing, and fenestration.

Multi-unit buildings should be designed with prominent entries that are inviting and clearly visible from adjacent streets.

Fenestration should be simple, human scale, elegantly proportioned and generous. Circular, trapezoidal and triangular windows are discouraged.

Exterior elements to control solar heat gain such as fins, overhangs, and horizontal sun shades are encouraged.

Trash enclosures and other utility provisions should be protected and screened from adjacent pedestrian activity.

Garage entries should be placed on the back or side of the building. Openings should be less than 50 feet in width and less than 20% of the length of the façade.

Ground floor residential units facing the street should have street facing entries that should be raised 24 to 36 inches above the adjacent street grade to provide privacy for building occupants.

Buildings should use “cool” exterior siding, roofing, and paving material with relatively high solar reflective index to minimize solar heat gain.

Materials should demonstrate superior performance related to moisture protection, low maintenance requirements, durability, and ultra-violate resistance.

Ground level facades should be designed with high-quality materials that offer color, variety, wear resistance, and visual interest to the pedestrian. 

 

Universal Design:  To address the need for Universal Design, both residential projects include the following features to accommodate people with disabilities and people “aging in place”:

 

                     All residential units will have direct access from an accessible route with elevator service;

                     All units will be constructed with adaptable kitchens and bathrooms with clearances and accommodation for individual accessibility in compliance with state and federal accessibility codes;

                     Enclosed and secure auto and handicap van accessible parking is provided directly contiguous to primary access/egress points;

                     Accommodations have been provided for the visually and hearing impaired.

                     A variety of unit types have been provided to accommodate differing lifestyles and preferences. 

                     Way-finding information is provided for the visually impaired thru the use of contrasting and tactile signage.

                     The buildings, unit and amenity areas are designed to allow for efficient and comfortable use of all facilities;

                     All amenity spaces are accessible via elevator with sufficient clearances for wheelchair use; and

                     Tenant usable doors and entries shall comply with state and federal standards for ease of use and barrier free thresholds.

                     All spaces within the project have been designed with appropriate size and space for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of individual’s body size, posture or mobility.

 

The waterfront park design includes:

                     An accessible route of travel for all users to all parts of the park and the promenade

                     Accessible seating

                     Accessible facilities for all users.

 

Sustainable Design:  To address sustainable design all three projects will meet a LEED or equivalent standard as required by Alameda Municipal Code and Site A Development Plan.  Specific features include:  

 

                     Materials and sourcing of materials responsive to current green building standards;

                     High performance building envelope;

                     Optimized daylighting and lighting controls;

                     Solar panels for photovoltaic energy and solar hot water;

                     High performance energy conserving systems for resident-controlled and metered mechanical, electrical systems, energy efficient window and roofing systems and water conserving plumbing fixtures;

                     On-site storm water collection, retention and filtration;

                     Fenestration and shading design to minimize risk of bird collisions at windows;

                     Transit oriented design;

                     High density site development;

                     Personal wellness promoted through opportunities for community engagement and fitness;

                     Attention to indoor air quality by minimizing usage of materials that contain high levels of VOC and formaldehyde; and

                     Source materials locally where practical.

                     Bay Friendly, drought tolerant landscape materials and design with smart controllers to reduce water consumption;

 

Conclusion:

 

In conclusion, staff finds that the three Design Review applications are:

 

                     Consistent with the General Plan,

                     Consistent with the Waterfront Town Center Specific Plan

                     Consistent with the Alameda Point Zoning District, and

                     Consistent with the findings for Design Review approval included in the attached resolutions of approval and required by Section 30-36 and 30-37 of the Alameda Municipal Code Design Review ordinance.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

On February 4, 2014, the City of Alameda certified the Alameda Point Final EIR in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The Final EIR evaluated the environmental impacts of redevelopment and reuse of the lands at Alameda Point consistent with the Town Center Plan, which included Site A. No further review is required for this review of the project designs. 

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Hold a Public Hearing and Approve:

 

Design Review resolution of approval and conditions (Exhibit 4) for Block 11.

Design Review resolution of approval and conditions (Exhibit 5) for Phase 1 Waterfront Park.

Design Review resolution of approval and conditions (Exhibit 6) for Block 8.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Andrew Thomas, Assistant Community Development Director

Jennifer Ott, Chief Operating Officer - Alameda Point

 

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Block  11 and Shared Plaza Design Review Plans

2.                     Phase 1 Waterfront Park Design Review Plans

3.                     Block 8 Design Review Plans

4.                     Block 11 Draft Resolution

5.                     Phase 1 Waterfront Park Draft Resolution

6.                     Block 8 Draft Resolution