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City may reconsider portions of Alameda Landing plan

Submitted by on 1, March 28, 2011 – 12:02 amOne Comment

Developers at Catellus recently told city leaders they’ll need to make some changes to their Alameda Landing plan in order to move forward on the long-stalled development. Now city planners are saying they think residents should have the chance to request some changes of their own.

“(I)f Catellus … is going to suggest certain changes to the past plans to improve the project from Catellus’s perspective, then the City of Alameda and the West Alameda community should also highlight any issues or ideas that the city might wish to raise for future consideration in the amendment discussions,” planners wrote in a report to the Planning Board, which is set to discuss the idea at a special meeting tonight.

They said plans for the development’s retail hub may need to be revisited anyway as Catellus works to secure a deal with Target to build a store on 10 acres on the Navy’s former Fleet Industrial Supply Center site. The discovery that an existing wharf on the site’s waterfront area isn’t structurally sound will likely also mean design changes, planners said.

Other issues planners think residents might want to revisit include a plan for Fifth Street that had single family homes facing the development’s retail center, an area they think could benefit from the city’s new density bonus ordinance, which could allow Catellus to put townhomes or other more “urban” uses there; a parking area for the retail center that some felt was too large for pedestrians to safely cross; and plans to put office space on the development’s waterfront, a plan one former Planning Board member questioned as the market for commercial office space weakened.

Catellus now has the right to build up to 400,000 square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail, 20,000 square feet of health club space and 300 homes on the site. The developer’s representatives have said they hope to break ground on the project by the beginning of 2012 and to see a 140,000-square-foot Target store open there by 2013.

Catellus hasn’t formally requested specific changes, though planners said the developer is hoping to have all its city approvals in hand by the end of the year.

The Planning Board is also set to discuss efforts to revitalize the Webster Street commercial corridor, including changes to the city’s municipal code that would allow buildings on a portion of Webster to stand five stories, or 60 feet, tall and would also allow the construction of a 60-foot-tall monument near the site of the former Neptune Beach.

The changes would allow development of five-story buildings on a stretch of Webster between Eagle Avenue and Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, a move planners hope would allow for redevelopment of a former Days Inn into a new hotel, and up to four stories or 50 feet between Eagle and Buena Vista avenues, up from the currently allowed three stories. They would also allow a monument to be built at the southern end of Webster similar to Neptune Tower, which once stood there.

The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. today at Otaez Mexican Restaurant, 1619 Webster Street. Members of the city’s Economic Development Commission will also attend.

Also see: Progress promised on Landing Plan

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