SunCal Companies has formally submitted its draft concept for developing 696 acres of Alameda Point, a plan whose fate will likely end up in the hands of Alameda voters.
The plan, which calls for more than 4,200 new homes, a major campus for a yet-to-be-determined company, a 55-acre regional sports complex, a new elementary school, retail, entertainment and a host of other uses, does not comply with Measure A, which restricts most housing development on the Island to single-family homes and duplexes.
"To have a real successful, vibrant community, you need to have a diversity of people. To have a diversity of people, you need to have a diversity of housing," SunCal's Pat Keliher said in an interview this week. "Ultimately, the voters will decide. People will have to weigh the pros and cons of the development."
Keliher said an amendment allowing denser development at Alameda Point could be on the November 2009 ballot.
If the plan moves forward, SunCal estimates demolition could start in 2010 or 2011, with construction starting a year later. The development could be completed by 2025. It is unclear what would happen next should a ballot measure fail.
The former naval air station closed in 1997. The Navy's current price tag for the land is $108.5 million, although Keliher said he's optimistic new terms can be negotiated.
SunCal is still developing cost estimates for its development plans. But the firm has determined that it will cost around $679 million just to replace the Alameda Point's utilities, roads and other infrastructure, and another $186 million to restore dozens of historic buildings there.
In addition to more than 4,200 homes of every conceivable type — including single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, live-work spaces and apartments — the plan includes a new elementary school, new parks, a 20-acre campus for a major new business and 375,000 square feet of new retail space.
The plans also call for a 55-acre regional sports complex with a hotel, hostel and food services; a recreational marina on Seaplane Lagoon; a food, wine and entertainment complex in the hangars on Monarch Street; and a children's entertainment or boardwalk area along West Redline Avenue.
SunCal is also proposing $80 million in transit improvements. Its transit plan for the development includes transit passes, car and bike share programs, shuttles, dedicated bus lanes, a ferry relocated from Main Street to the Seaplane Lagoon and streets that are friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.
The development concept calls for restoration and reuse of historic buildings including the Big Whites, the Bachelor Officer Quarters, the Waves Building and the Quonset Huts, while other buildings — such as some of the old hangars— would be demolished.
Keliher said restoring some 30 to 40 buildings SunCal has already looked at would cost $186 million.
A more complete analysis, being done by Oakland developer Phil Tagami, is slated to go to the Historical Advisory Board on Oct. 2.
The plan includes a host of Earth-friendly building, energy, water and waste disposal features.
Keliher said SunCal decided against using an earlier, Measure A-compliant development concept put together for Alameda Point Community Partners, a consortium of developers who abandoned the project in September 2006, citing the downturn in the housing market and the point's price tag. Keliher said the earlier concept vastly underestimated the cost of mitigating challenges at the site, challenges which include a host of toxics, liquefaction-prone young Bay mud and a 100-year flood plain.
A second concept featuring 6,000 homes that was floated by SunCal during earlier public workshops is only briefly mentioned in the current plan. Keliher said that proposal is still being studied in the event that funding for some of the proposed transit options — which included a podlike personal rail transit system to ferry people from Alameda to Oakland and back — materializes.
The developer also is in early negotiations to move the Bladium sports club and low-income housing run by three different nonprofits.
The draft concept will be discussed in a series of public meetings before several city boards and commissions throughout October before heading to the City Council, sitting as the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority, on Nov. 5.
Two weeks later, SunCal is due to turn in a much more detailed draft master plan.
The plan and a series of related documents, including a more detailed take on the proposed sports complex, are available online at http://www.alameda-point.com/APDocs.html.