Townhomes, shops proposed for warehouse site

Townhomes, shops proposed for warehouse site

Michele Ellson

A Southern California developer wants to replace an Oak Street warehouse with condominiums and small shops. The Planning Board will weigh in on whether to review the plan on Monday.

Newport Beach-based City Ventures is proposing 32 townhome-style condominiums; 5,600 square feet of commercial space broken up into 10 shops that could incubate small businesses; and a 2,000-square-foot commercial or community building at 1835 Oak Street. The 2.58-acre site, which housed a glass manufacturing business until 2012, sits between Clement Street and Buena Vista Avenue about a block from Park Street.

“1835 Oak Street represents a unique opportunity for Alameda to create a mixed use development that would create opportunity of 30-40 young Alameda families and 8-10 start-up businesses while driving financial benefit to the City and enhancing the vitality of the neighborhood and Park Street Corridor,” the company wrote in a 10-page project overview submitted to the city.

City Ventures said the development will be similar to spaces like Oakland’s Temescal Alley, spaces they said have created “unique neighborhoods and a start-up culture.”

The company is also offering a $15,000 per unit fiscal impact fee for each home it builds, to offset the cost of providing services to new residents. All told, its representatives claim the development would generate $1.5 million for the city and its schools plus $85,000 a year in property taxes.

In a report to the board, City Planner Andrew Thomas and Supervising Planner Allen Tai said the site would be a good place to build either an employment base or homes.

“Ultimately, it is a policy decision about how best to balance the General Plan policy objectives and goals in this neighborhood,” they wrote.

While the city has more homes than jobs, the development would provide additional housing for low-income residents, which is in short supply on the Island, the planners wrote.

City leaders have sought to develop up to 300 homes in the neighborhood, which is planned to hold a mix of uses. A 182-unit development had been approved for the Boatworks site on Clement Avenue, but that project has stalled; another 106 homes are allowed on the site of a commercial storage operation. The warehouse backs up to SKS Manufacturing and is adjacent to a veterinary clinic on Buena Vista Avenue.

SKS Manufacturing’s managers had been “firmly opposed” to the project but have since said they’re in favor of it based on meetings they’ve had with City Ventures, letters to the city show.

“(W)e are no longer opposed to the rezoning of 1835 Oak Street for residential use and we are in fact in favor of the proposal that City Ventures has submitted for the property,” SKS Vice President J.W. Keating wrote in a January 24 letter to the board.

If the Planning Board offers its blessing Monday, the project will need to undergo additional environmental impact and design review before construction can begin. The company will also need permission from the Historical Advisory Board to tear down the 73-year-old warehouse, which once housed a portion of a U.S. Steel Corporation plant and may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

City Ventures bills itself as a builder of eco-friendly communities that feature solar power, energy-saving appliances and community gardens. The company has built a variety of home types, from townhomes to luxury single-family houses, most of it in Southern California.

The developer’s proposed project includes a solar roof over parking spaces that would provide power for the development.


Submitted by Bernice Wong (not verified) on Thu, Feb 6, 2014

With the new Alameda EOC on Grand and this new development on Oak Street, the Northern Alameda waterfront is starting to look up.34

Submitted by Cari T. (not verified) on Thu, Feb 6, 2014

I hope this passes! I live about five doors down on Oak Street and I'd love to see more homes and shops in the neighborhood—anything at all would be better than a vacant building!

Submitted by Allison (not verified) on Fri, Feb 7, 2014

More homes OK but 32 townhome-style condominiums not! Whatever happened to Measure A?

Submitted by Laura (not verified) on Mon, Feb 10, 2014

Which AUSD schools will these families attend? The entire North end of Park Street has been intentionally rezoned to increase the family/residential population and according to city documents will generate 100s of new students, but meanwhile AUSD's nearest neighborhood elementary, middle and high schools are severely impacted.

AUSD does have a nearby campus just a few blocks from SKS (on Eagle/Everett) that is larger than the size of the Main Library and recently our Board of Ed voted to include the site in its Facility Master Plan (included it in order to get a future bond for AUSD facility upgrades passed) but an assessment hasn't been scheduled and probably never will. Why? Because City Hall has gripped AUSD BOE very hard, demanding an exchange of the AUSD campus for future acreage at Alameda Point, see Closed Session BOE agenda here:

So, where will the children from our new residential neighborhood attend school?

Submitted by Betsy Brazy (not verified) on Thu, Feb 13, 2014

The developers held an information session at the Main Library last year. It was very impressive. Several of us asked them to include a 4BR option as there's a shortage of such homes on the main island, and make the whole complex affordable. Students probably will be within Haight Elementary's boundaries, although it's also an easy drive to Beacon Day.

Submitted by Ron Gilmettte (not verified) on Fri, Feb 21, 2014

It is good to see Alameda moving forward with developing the waterfront area. It would be nice to see some shops similar to what College Ave. and Piedmont Ave. contain.