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Boatworks plan moving forward

Submitted by on 1, April 27, 2010 – 4:50 amNo Comment

The Planning Board said they’re interested in moving forward on a plan to build a 175-unit development on a long-vacant, blighted waterfront site.

The newly downsized Boatworks proposal could come to the board for its official consideration on May 24.

An architect working for Francis Collins, owner of the 9.5-acre site at 2229 Clement Street, said he’s on board with a city staff proposal which could include townhomes, duets, single family homes and an apartment building. The proposal also calls for two acres of open space.

Members of the board said they’d also like to see wider streets that are better connected to existing roads (they said they’d like to see Blanding Avenue extended through the project) and that they want some sort of commercial use incorporated into it as well. But they rejected calls from some residents to try to restore and reuse one of the old warehouses on the site – once home to the George A. Dow Pumping Engine Company and later, the Pacific Coast Engineering Company – saying the building is in bad shape and that fixing it up would be too costly.

“This has been a long road, and hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel,” Board President Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said. “In the end, I think what we want to see is a site that really improves Alameda.”

Efforts to develop the property have spanned nearly two decades, with the city – which wanted half the site for an Estuary Park – turning down several development proposals and Collins unsuccessfully suing the city for stalling his plans.

In March 2008, Collins submitted a proposal for a 242-unit development that included a host of homes that would be affordable to lower income families and other market-rate units requested as a bonus for building the affordable homes.

The discussion came as the board considered a draft version of an environmental impact report generated to work out noise, traffic and other impacts the development could create. The study showed Collins’s plan would create significant traffic impacts. Another impact would be the loss of two warehouses that are considered historic resources, including the former Down building.

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