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File #: 2017-4364   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 5/22/2017
Title: Hold a Planning Board Study Session to Consider Site A Preliminary Block 9 Design. The Alameda Point 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 design.
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Block 9 Design Plans

Title

 

Hold a Planning Board Study Session to Consider Site A Preliminary Block 9 Design. The Alameda Point 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 design.

 

Body

 

To:                     President and

                     Members of the Planning Board

                     

      From:                        Andrew Thomas, Assistant Community Development Director

                                                               Jennifer Ott, Base Reuse Director

                                                                           

                     Re:                     Hold a Planning Board Study Session to Consider Site A Preliminary Block 9 Design. The Alameda Point 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 design.

 

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 Planning Board and the project proponent, Alameda Point Partners (APP), and its team of architects and design professionals have completed the Tentative Map for Site A and the Design Review applications for Blocks 11, 10, 8, 7, and 6, the Phase 1 Waterfront Park, and West Atlantic Avenue.

 

BACKGROUND

 

In 2016, the Planning Board held several workshops to review the initial designs for Block 9. While the workshops were productive, neither City staff nor APP felt that the design for the site was improving substantially.  As the result, APP made the difficult decision to select a new architectural firm to design the building.   After interviewing a number of different firms, APP chose Pyatok Architects for the job. Pyatok Architects is a well-respected architectural design firm that has designed a number of attractive buildings throughout the Bay Area, including Avalon Hayes Valley and Avalon Ocean Avenue in San Francisco, and 901 Jefferson Avenue in downtown Oakland.  With over 30 years of experience in multi-family housing design, Pyatok approaches each project with the goal of uncovering the unique needs of the community being served.  Its design principles include the consideration of history and culture, the expression of ecological responsibility and people-centered effort.

 

The Pyatok team began work on the design in March and began showing staff their initial concepts in April.   Based upon these initial design meetings, staff believes that the design concepts for the building have improved substantially over the prior designs and that the Pyatok team is bringing some interesting new ideas to the design of Block 9 and Site A.  For these reasons, staff would like the design team to share its initial design concepts and thoughts with the Planning Board and community.  Exhibit 1 includes the current working drawings for the design of Block 9.    

 

DISCUSSION

 

The building proposed for Block 9 faces onto West Atlantic to the south and the neighborhood park to the north.  The commercial Block 10 with its “urban park” borders the building to the west, and the two affordable housing buildings on Block 8 border the building to the east.  The Block 9 building will includes approximately 182 housing units, 13,145 square feet of ground floor retail space facing West Atlantic Avenue, and 243 on-site parking spaces.

 

The project architects, Peter Waller and Theresa Ballard of Pyatok Architects, provided the following description of the drawings in Exhibit 1.  

 

Along West Atlantic the proposed design includes a five story building at approximately 65 feet in height that in includes four stories of apartments over a tall 20 foot high retail first floor.  The street level retail glazing is set back 12 feet to create a south facing sunny strolling arcade supported by structural concrete columns. The ground floor is set back with an overhead trellis, creating an opportunity for outdoor seating adjacent to the main residential lobby and the important south west retail corner across the street from commercial block 10 and its urban park.

 

Above the ground floor retail space, the residential units are placed at a slight angle to create an interesting pattern along the front elevation and allow for outdoor terraces overlooking West Atlantic Avenue. Angled bays provide corner window views toward San Francisco. Accents of highlighted material (large porcelain tiles with bold texture and color) punctuate these saw tooth bays.

 

Behind the West Atlantic facing façade, the portion of the building that faces the side streets of Orion and Ardent and the neighborhood park to the rear steps down to 55 feet in height.  On the side elevations, the elevations are defined by two story townhomes with three stories of flats above. The townhomes at street level are set back from the public sidewalk with individual patios and recessed entries.  The required storm water treatment system is integrated into the street frontage to enhance the pedestrian experience by placing planters between the sidewalk and the townhome patios to provide a buffer between the public and semi-private realms and filter all storm water for the block at grade level without the need for storm water basins in the public sidewalk.

 

At the side street level, the building façade is enriched with limited application of the same glazed tiles that punctuate the West Atlantic Avenue facade- but in calmer and simpler forms. Above street level, large regular openings create a visual reference to the simple forms of the Navy buildings within the NAS Alameda Historic District.

 

On the rear Neighborhood Park-facing façade, a second residential lobby is provided at the corner of Ardent and Coronado Avenue, creating an active use opposite the linear park and providing residents a second shared entry. A curb cut and loading zone on Coronado allows this lobby to serve as the primary location for move-ins and other utility and building management needs. 

 

A building entry and bike storage and workshop area is provided at the corner of Ardent and Coronado, opposite the active outdoor seating area across the way. Access to the parking garage is located on Ardent, adjacent to the bike entry to create a building that has an active and pleasant pedestrian frontage on all four streets and active uses at each of the four corners of the building. 

 

At this stage in the design process, staff would like the Planning Board to review and comment on the initial design plans include in Exhibit 1.  No final action is requested on this application at this time.

 

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 Planning Board Study Session to review and comment on preliminary Block 9 design plans.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Andrew Thomas, Assistant Community Development Director

 

Exhibit:

1.                     Block 9 Design Plans