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File #: 2016-3438   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Historical Advisory Board
On agenda: 10/6/2016
Title: Public Hearing to Consider a Request for a Certificate of Approval for Alameda Point Building 8 at 2350 Saratoga Street - PLN16-0468 - Alameda Redevelopers, LLC. The applicant is requesting a Certificate of Approval to restore and modify the General Storehouse Historic Building on Alameda Point.
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Project Plans and Project Description, 2. Exhibit 2 - Historic Preservation Memorandum by Christopher VerPlanck, 3. Exhibit 3 - Draft Resolution



Public Hearing to Consider a Request for a Certificate of Approval for Alameda Point Building 8 at 2350 Saratoga Street - PLN16-0468 - Alameda Redevelopers, LLC. The applicant is requesting a Certificate of Approval to restore and modify the General Storehouse Historic Building on Alameda Point.





To:                                          Honorable Chair and

                                          Members of the Historical Advisory Board


From:                                          Jennifer Ott, Base Reuse Director - Alameda Point

                                          Michelle Giles, Redevelopment Project Manager, Base Reuse


Re:                     Public Hearing to Consider a Request for a Certificate of Approval for Alameda Point Building 8 at 2350 Saratoga Street - PLN16-0468 - Alameda Redevelopers, LLC. The applicant is requesting a Certificate of Approval to restore and modify the General Storehouse Historic Building on Alameda Point.




The proposal includes structural alterations to a 1940 designated historic building to support adaptive reuse for a light industrial, commercial and Work/Live mixed use project.  The proposed modifications would allow Building 8 to be adaptively reused for approximately 88 Work/Live units and approximately 83,420 square feet of mixed light industrial and commercial space. The project plans are attached as Exhibit 1.


To assist staff with the evaluation of the proposed project, the City commissioned a peer review of the project by Chris VerPlank, VerPlank Historic Preservation Consulting.  Mr. VerPlank’s evaluation is attached as Exhibit 2 to this report.




A.                     Historical Significance


Building 8 is a contributor to the National Register-listed NAS Alameda Historic District (Historic District). The Historic District, which was placed on the National Register in 2013, encompasses the oldest and most intact sections of the former military base. The U.S. Navy Bureau of Yards & Docks designed the majority of the buildings on the base in the Streamline Moderne style, including most of the buildings in the Administrative Core, the Residential Area, the Shops Area, and the Operations Area. Building 8 is part of the Shops Area, which consists of several general purpose and ordnance warehouses, repair and outfitting shops, a power plant, and a firehouse. The National Register nomination found the Historic District to be significant for its architecture, community planning and development, landscape architecture, and military history. The NAS Alameda Historic District is also a City of Alameda Historical Monument. As a Historical Monument, any project that could affect the District is subject to review by the Alameda Historical Advisory Board (HAB).  Property records indicate that the reinforced concrete warehouse building was constructed in 1940, by the U.S. Navy. The Navy ceased use of the building in 1997. Building 8 has been vacant for almost two decades and the exterior is showing many signs of neglect and vandalism, including many broken windows, some missing sashes, damaged doors, paint delamination, and biological growth. At the same time, Building 8 is a concrete building whose shell appears to be in good condition.


Building 8 is a three-story, reinforced concrete warehouse with a rectangular footprint and a flat roof (see Exhibit 1, Project plans and description). It contains 288,881 square feet of space. The primary façade, which faces north toward West Ranger Avenue, is punctuated at semi-regular intervals by three four-story towers. The south façade, which is otherwise identical to the north façade, has only one tower. Each tower has an overhead loading door at its base and a vertical strip of fenestration at the second, third, and fourth floor levels. The cargo doors are recessed within rectangular openings with curved sides. The fenestration pattern of the first floor level of the north and south façades is similar, with a mixture of freight doors interspersed among multi-lite, steel industrial windows. The doors open onto concrete loading docks sheltered beneath concrete canopies with curved supports. The loading docks are accessed by sloped ramps. The second and third floor levels of Building 8’s exterior are articulated as horizontal bands of steel industrial windows alternating with simple, planar spandrels. The fenestration bands, which are painted a contrasting color to the rest of the building, are separated from the spandrels by narrow, incised lines. The building and its surroundings are described in greater detail in the Memo prepared by Christopher VerPlanck, Historic Preservation consultant (Exhibit 2).


B.                     Physical Appearance


The architectural features of the subject building were documented in the City’s 1993 historic resources survey. The building’s significant character-defining features include its smooth concrete surfaces, flat roof, horizontal massing, strong vertical accents (towers), steel industrial sash windows, original steel personnel doors at the west façade, curved walls flanking the entrances, the canopy over the main entrance, and canopy with curved support above the loading docks on the north and south façades.


C.                     Proposed Design


The proposed design plans for the building are included in Exhibit 1. As shown in the exhibit, the proposed project entails the demolition of all interior partitions (none of which are historic), the rehabilitation and repair of the building’s historic core and shell, replacement of most existing utilities and infrastructure, the construction of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility improvements, various interior and exterior alterations/improvements to facilitate the building’s intended new uses, and an approximately 4,000 square foot vertical addition.


Building restoration work would entail the removal of all interior partitions (none of which are historic), as well as any post-1943 doors, windows, and additions, including the sky bridge and the addition on the south wall of Building 8. The interior would be reconfigured and reconstructed, including five new elevator/stair lobbies on each floor level, new recycling rooms on each floor, up to 88 work/live units on the second and third floor levels (44 per floor), and a common room in the new roof-top addition. The common room would provide access to a proposed outdoor garden/roof deck that would cover a portion of the roof. Existing skylights on the roof would be augmented by four new skylights. One of the skylights would be pyramidal in shape and would rise 15’ above the roof toward the east end of the building. The new vertical addition would be 3,997-sf and would rise 21’ above the roof. It would be set back 40 feet from the north and south façades, approximately 140 feet from the west façade and approximately 320 feet from the east façade. Set back about 20 feet from the east wall would be a 6-foot-high wind wall to break on-shore winds blowing in from San Francisco Bay.


The four exterior façades of Building 8 would undergo some changes as part of the proposed project. In addition to removing non-historic additions, doors, and windows, the project would add 14 new aluminum storefronts (seven each on the north and south façades) within existing door openings that presently contain non-historic roll-up doors. In addition, nine (five on the north façade and four on the south façade) existing steel industrial window units on the first floor level will be modified to replace the left window panel with an aluminum door. Other exterior changes include the addition of one window to the tower on the south façade, the conversion of 37 steel industrial windows at the second floor level into doors to facilitate egress and provide access to the canopy roof, and the conversion of a total of 76 windows into operable casements on the second and third levels. All extant steel industrial metal windows would be retained and preserved and/or repaired. New code-compliant, metal pipe railings would be added to and/or replace existing pipe railing on the loading docks and the canopy roof.


In compliance with the ADA, new wheelchair ramps would be built at the north, east, west, and south façades of Building 8. The ramp on the east façade would access a new pedestrian entrance proposed for the first floor level. The remaining ramps would connect to existing entrances. New windows would be inserted above the entrance at the second and the third floor levels of the east facade. The original doors in the main entrance on the west façade would be retained and repaired. However, the construction of the ramp on the west façade would result in modifications to the stair itself in order to comply with ADA regulations and local codes. The existing cheek walls would not be affected.


D.                     Cultural Landscape


The proposed project would make very few changes to the landscaping of Building 8, but because the building’s three lawn panels comprise the largest patch of landscaping in the Shops Area, it is analyzed in the memorandum by Christopher VerPlanck.


The landscaping program concentrated on the malls in the Administrative Core and in the adjoining Residential Area. The palette was simple and straightforward, consisting of grass turf and ice plant in the malls, grass and foundation plantings surrounding the buildings, and street trees, including Monterey pines, black acacia, and fan palms. Several ceremonial areas within the Administrative Core, including the entrance mall, were planted in multi-colored fields of ice plant.


For the most part, the Shops Area and the Operations Area were not landscaped. Dedicated to aircraft assembly, maintenance, and storage, these utilitarian zones were off-limits to most visitors. However, there are a few formally planted areas, particularly at the fronts of the buildings adjoining the main north-south axis along Saratoga and Lexington streets, including Building 8.


The VerPlanck Memorandum uses evaluation standards for cultural landscapes that were taken from The Guide to Preserving the Character of the Naval Air Station Alameda Historic District (1997). Within this document is a section that deals with the Shops Area, within which Building 8 is located. This section identifies seven areas of importance that should be addressed when introducing new buildings or landscape features: Spatial Organization; Views/Vistas; Topography; Vegetation; Circulation; Water Features; and Structures, Furnishings and Objects. The Memorandum analyzes the proposed rehabilitation of Building 8 under each of the seven areas. The Memorandum concludes that the proposed project complies with the NAS Alameda Cultural Landscape Guidelines. As a result, the proposed project would not alter in an adverse manner those characteristics that justify Building 8’s inclusion as a contributor to the NAS Alameda Historic District, or the Historic District’s eligibility for inclusion in the National Register and the City’s Historic Preservation Inventory.



Pursuant to Alameda Municipal Code Section 13-21 Preservation of Historical and Cultural Resources, any proposed alteration to a designated City Monument requires review and approval of a Certificate of Approval by the HAB at a noticed public meeting. To approve a Certificate of Approval, the HAB must find that the proposed alterations are consistent with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.  Based upon a review of the proposed plans (Exhibit 1) and a review of an independent third party analysis by Christopher VerPlanck (Exhibit 2), staff believes that the HAB can make the necessary findings to approve a Certificate of Approval for the proposed modifications, which are included in the draft Resolution of Approval (Exhibit 3).



The project is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). On February 4, 2014, the City of Alameda certified the Alameda Point Final EIR in compliance with CEQA. The Final EIR evaluated the environmental impacts of redevelopment and reuse of the lands at Alameda Point, which included Building 8. A Historic Resources Evaluation determined that the proposal is consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards and would not result in any significant impacts to historic or cultural resources. These findings are incorporated into the HAB Resolution.



This agenda item was advertised in the Alameda Journal on September 16, 2016. Notices were also mailed to residents and property owners within 300 feet of the project location.



Staff recommends that the HAB hold a public hearing and approve the proposed Certificate of Approval with the conditions set forth in the Draft Resolution (Exhibit 3).



RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED BY:                     




Andrew Thomas,

Assistant Community Development Director



1.                     Project Plans and Project Description

2.                     Historic Preservation Memorandum by Christopher VerPlanck

3.                     Draft Resolution