Council will consider first Alameda Point land sale

Council will consider first Alameda Point land sale

Michele Ellson
Alameda Point

A South Bay development group wants to buy five acres of Alameda Point taxiway and the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters. Image courtesy of the City of Alameda.

The City Council is set to consider negotiating what could be its first land sale at Alameda Point, to a South Bay development team interested in buying barracks that once housed servicemen and five acres of former taxiway that front Seaplane Lagoon.

On Tuesday, the council will decide whether the city should enter exclusive negotiations to sell the former Bachelor Enlisted Quarters and the taxiway property to Alameda United Commercial. The developer has proposed building 250 hotel rooms and 200 condominiums on the taxiway property; the former barracks could hold a senior living facility, student housing and offices.

The city is seeking $7.76 million for the 20-acre Bachelor Enlisted Quarters property and $7.5 million for the taxiway acreage, plus a $56,000 fee for each condominium that is built. If the council votes to proceed, a final sale price will be determined as both sides work to negotiate a deal, a process that could last between six and 12 months.

The city’s deal with the Navy for the Point property restricts housing development there to 1,425 homes – 800 of which are slated to be built in a planned town center and the rest laid out in a Main Street residential neighborhood across the street from Bayport and in newly constructed housing for homeless people.

The Navy will get $50,000 for every additional housing unit built over that cap. But City Council members and staff have said developers seeking to rehabilitate structures in the Point’s historic district like the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters – which will already be costly projects due to the poor condition of the buildings – shouldn’t bear that burden.

Alameda United Commercial principal Zhen Zhen Li said she believes the projects her group is proposing are in line with what the city wants to see built on the two properties and that she thinks they’ll benefit Alameda, while Jennifer Ott, the city’s chief operating officer for Alameda Point, said city staffers will be looking more deeply at the group’s qualifications to make sure they can complete projects on the land they wish to buy.

Li has helped lead the development of a string of child care centers across the South Bay and elsewhere in the Bay Area; she is also working to secure final approvals for a six-unit condominium complex in Palo Alto and is working on a commercial renovation project on Market Street in San Francisco, she said during an interview Wednesday.

Li is partnering with Salvatore Caruso Design Corporation, with whom she has worked on several projects, including a San Jose liquor store redeveloped into a childcare center, in 2009.

Caruso has worked on a range of projects, including housing, retail and hotel developments. His projects have included renovation of the historic St. Claire Hotel in San Jose and plans for a 1.97 million square foot hotel, condominium and office development in Shanghai, China.

In addition to development projects, Li is a principal in a Cupertino firm that connects overseas investors with development opportunities in eight California counties through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s EB-5 visa program, she confirmed Wednesday. But she said her group doesn’t intend to seek foreign investors for their proposed Alameda Point projects.

In addition to a development resume laying out their experience, track record and financial bona fides, Li’s group will be required to provide a pro forma and financing plan spelling out how much their projects will cost and where the money to pay for them will come from.

The purchase proposal is one of several developments on the Alameda Point front. Separately, the city will be vetting submissions from nine development teams seeking to develop 800 homes, retail, hotel and office space on a 68-acre parcel in the waterfront town center area that stretches from Main Street to a corner of Seaplane Lagoon, Ott confirmed this week.

The list of candidates for the mixed-use project, first reported by the San Francisco Business Times, includes:

  • Alameda Landing developer Catellus;
  • Tim Lewis Communities, which is seeking to build up to 1,000 new housing units along Alameda’s Northern Waterfront;
  • Alameda Point Partners, a group that includes Harbor Bay Business Park developers SRM Ernst;
  • Mission Bay Development Group;
  • Homebuilder Brookfield Residential;
  • California developer Trumark Companies, which builds residential, commercial and mixed-use projects;
  • California commercial and industrial firm Rising Realty Partners and investor Summit Land Partners;
  • Portland mixed-use developer Williams & Dame, which has its own foreign investment arm, in partnership with Zelman Development Co., a Los Angeles-based industrial property developer that also builds shopping centers, and Portland-based real estate investors Langley Investment Properties;
  • CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm.
    Four of those teams – CIM Group, Catellus, Mission Bay and Trumark – also submitted proposals to develop an additional 82 acres where city leaders hope to see a major corporate user or an outlet mall, Ott confirmed.

    Neither of the firms city staffers talked to behind closed doors before issuing its requests for interested developers for the two sites in May – DeBartolo Development and the Charles Company – were on the list of firms who submitted pitches as part of the process.

    The paper reported that Tim Lewis Communities had been cut out of the running for the mixed-use site; Ott declined to comment on which firms are still being considered.

    “We’re still in the process of narrowing that down,” she said.

    Panels made up of city staff, Planning Board members and community stakeholders will be interviewing selected candidates over the next few weeks in order to select finalists to forward to the City Council for its consideration in September, Ott said. She said all the development proposals will be made public at that point.

    The city has seen two master developers for the Point – Alameda Point Community Partners and SunCal Companies – come and go, with the former partnership withdrawing and the latter company being kicked off the Island after its development and business plans suffered a crushing loss at the polls.

    Following those failures, city staffers successfully pitched a plan to council members that would see the city taking a more active hand in directing development at the Point, effectively serving as its own master developer by drafting its own development plans and securing approvals for those plans for developers who wish to build.

    Those developers will pay impact fees of nearly $1 million an acre for residential and mixed-use projects and $859,810 for commercial projects after the council offers its final approval on new development fees Tuesday. The money is to be used to pay for utilities, parks, flood protection and other infrastructure.

    The council will also consider approval of a plan for a waterfront town center in the heart of the Point.

    The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. A meeting agenda and materials are available on the city’s website.


    Submitted by marilyn (not verified) on Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    Maybe We should start thinking a little more creatively about our traffic issues, and how they will develop once the base is built out.
    How a bout charging a toll to go through the tube?