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More housing at Alameda Point?

Submitted by on 1, August 8, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Representatives for developer SunCal on Thursday night unveiled new development concepts for Alameda Point that could put more than triple the amount of housing on the site than originally planned.

Architect Peter Calthorpe, a star of the new urbanism movement who is working with the Irvine-based developer, showed a crowd of 250 people aboard the USS Hornet design concepts that could put between 4,000 and 6,000 homes, townhomes, apartments, you name it at the former naval air station, which encompasses a third of the city.

The plans would also shuffle the Bladium sports club and 200 units of low-income housing to other, yet-to-be-determined locations on the base. And you can probably kiss some of the historic buildings out there goodbye.

The preliminary development concept for the site envisioned about 1,700 homes, a luxury hotel, a golf course, shopping, offices and transit. But multiple challenges in the homebuilding industry and on the site, including Bay mud, a flood plain, rotted infrastructure and oh yeah, all the toxic crap out there, could prevent the plan from penciling out.

These new plans, on the other hand, would save the Earth just by existing as an infill development that would house people who could otherwise end up in Brentwood and Antioch, and could have environmentally friendly power, transit, graywater systems and walkability.

Plan A, which weighs in at 4,000 housing units, includes a new, walkable downtown for Alameda Point; a big, successful employer looking for a windswept-campus-with-a-view (think futureGoogle); a network of interconnected green spaces; a new elementary school; an historic district; a sports complex; and wetlands restoration. Single-family homes and townhomes would ring higher-density housing, including low-slung apartment buildings, senior housing, live/work homes (living space upstairs, shops downstairs) and more.

Plan B, at 6,000 housing units (it has taller apartment complexes), includes all that plus a solar farm to power the whole enterprise. And they say it would only happen if they can somehow manage to put together some pretty ambitious-looking transit to get people on and off the Island, including some space age personal transit pods that would run on raised tracks from here to Oakland and back (check out these videos showing a demonstration project at London’s Heathrow Airport).

The meeting’s attendees, who partook in an impromptu design charrette after the presentation, seemed to love the green spaces, the solar farm and the new school. They were a little less excited about all the new homes, which would definitely not comply with Measure A.

If you missed out on last night but want to know more, there will be a whole pile of meetings coming up on the Point over the next couple of months. We’ll keep you posted.

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