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City selects Alameda Point planning team

Submitted by on 1, January 25, 2011 – 12:02 amNo Comment

A team of city staffers and others have selected a team of consulting firms to help develop a fresh plan to develop Alameda Point.

Perkins+Will, a land use planning firm with offices in several major cities including San Francisco that helped out on the Alameda Landing project, has been selected to help the city with land use planning duties at the Point, Planning Services Manager Andrew Thomas told the Planning Board on Monday night. The team also selected Arup, an international planning and design firm, to help plan a sustainable development and to help the city deal with environmental issues that will affect the Point like sea level rise and energy generation.

Thomas said the city’s Point consulting team will also include Nelson\Nygaard, a firm with transportation demand management expertise. Final interviews have been conducted for a team of economists, but a candidate has not yet been selected, he said.

“We want to create a plan that is fiscally sound, that is financially feasible. We don’t want to create a plan that just sits on the shelf because nobody can build it,” Thomas said.

The selection team included Thomas; Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott; Public Works director Matt Naclerio; Planning Board president Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft; Planning Board member Lorre Zuppan; and Thor Kaslofsky, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s project manager for the former Hunters Point shipyard. Acting City Manager Lisa Goldman will have final say on the economics team, Thomas said.

The selections come as the city prepares to move forward with efforts to redevelop the Point after the City Council decided in July to fire its master developer of three years, SunCal Companies. Thomas said the city hopes to get the land from the Navy directly and to come up with its own plan for outside developers to build.

The city has been gathering input from residents on what they’d like to see at the Point at a host of community workshops and with a workbook available online. Thomas said city staffers will collect workbooks through February 1 and they’ll offer a summary of the feedback they got for the City Council on March 1.

City staffers hope to have a preliminary plan for the Point available by April, and they hope to finalize a plan by July. Thomas said city leaders will need to talk with the community about the tradeoffs associated with any development plan under consideration.

Thomas said many community members have said they want to see more of a focus on jobs at the Point than previous development plans offered, and he said the city is looking at allowing longer-term leases at the Point. But he said housing may be needed to pay for repairs and other things the community might want to see there, adding that housing was the primary source of funding for every set of financials drawn up for the Point.

Planning Board members and a handful of residents offered their thoughts on the planning process Monday night, with members of the board saying they, too, believe housing may be needed to pay for the Point’s rebirth.

“The development of Alameda Point is going to have a cost. And that cost has to be supported by the development,” Planning Board member Art Autorino said. “We’re going to have to put housing there to be able to afford what we want to do.”

Karen Bey told the board the city should reconsider its plans to forgo a master developer, saying a developer would offer more expertise toward the redevelopment process than the city can.

“We made a bad decision once, but that doesn’t mean we are going to do it again,” Bey said.

But Nancy Hird said some of the tradeoffs wouldn’t be required if the city focused on building more industry and less housing at the Point. She said new schools and other public facilities wouldn’t be needed if the city chooses not to build homes there.

Meanwhile, Thomas said city staffers have identified a potential site to offer the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is seeking a site to build a second campus. He said the city may offer part of an area that fronts San Francisco Bay and the Seaplane Lagoon and is also bounded by Central Avenue.

The city plans to submit a proposal for siting the lab here on March 4, Thomas said.

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