ALAMEDA -- After more than two years and a host of public meetings, the City Council has given final approval to a plan that lays out a mixed-use "Waterfront Town Center" at Alameda Point, a move that it hopes will help jump-start the area's overall redevelopment.

The 150 acres around what's known as the Seaplane Lagoon at the former U.S. Navy base will become a "retail, recreational, entertainment, and transit center," according to the document, which the council greenlighted on July 15.

Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway will provide the main gateway into the area, where a ferry terminal, waterfront promenades and paths for walking and cycling are planned.

The document also divides the neighborhood into smaller areas, which is expected to help facilitate the redevelopment.

The new ferry terminal will be near the end of Pacific Avenue, or where the USS Hornet and the existing Maritime Administration fleet are located. The aircraft carrier and fleet will remain where they are.

The terminal would also be away from the lagoon's northeastern edge, where spots for kayaking, small boat landings and a marina are proposed, according to City Planner Andrew Thomas.

The lagoon's northern edge will serve as a large public open space, while public water uses would become less intense and more passive near its western edge, or close to a protected California Least Tern colony on federal property.


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"One of the plan's primary goals is to create a vibrant and active public waterfront with an extensive system of parks and promenades that will become an amenity at Alameda Point for all Alamedans and visitors to enjoy," Mayor Marie Gilmore said in a statement after the council's decision. "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new waterfront from the ground up that will rival the quality and excitement of successful waterfronts throughout the country."

The document includes guidelines for the placement and height of new buildings within the area's historic district, such as limiting the height of any new building to the height of the existing former aircraft hangars, and using simple and clean forms for the design of any new structure so that it reflects the industrial character of other existing buildings.

"This plan does a great job at balancing compatibility and respect for the historic buildings which reflect the legacy of the Navy while providing room for new infill development to help finance infrastructure and support transit," City Manager John Russo said.

The area near Atlantic Avenue will be set aside for homes under the plan, the goal being for the neighborhood to integrate easily with the nearby Bayport housing development along Main Street.

"A variety of dwelling types -- houses, bungalows, courtyard housing, townhouses, and apartments -- will provide housing for a diverse mix of ages, incomes, family types, and professional backgrounds that will ensure creation of a diverse and vibrant community," the document says.

A total of about 1,400 homes are proposed for Alameda Point.

The plan also calls for all shoreline edges to upgraded and lifted to address projected sea level rise, except for the western edge, where tidal wetlands may be introduced since it is near the bird colony.

The council's approval of the document followed five Planning Board workshops and public hearings before the Historical Advisory Board and the Recreation and Park Commission.

Contact Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.

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