- Officials from the City of Alameda and private developer Alameda Point Partners broke ground May 23 on the $500 million first phase of a $1 billion, mixed-use project on the waterfront site of the former Naval Air Station Alameda.
- "Site A" of the transit-oriented development will feature more than 670 dwelling units, including 130 very-low and low-income residences and 310 middle-income units targeted at families and seniors. This first phase of Alameda Point will also include eight acres of parks and public space; almost 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, maker space and gathering areas; new water, sewer, electrical and gas lines; new streets with bike and transit lanes and infrastructure in preparation for a new ferry terminal from which residents will be able to reach San Francisco via a 20-minute ride once the development is built out.
- When complete, Alameda Point will offer 800 living units, more than 600,000 square feet of commercial space and, in addition to the ferry, transportation services like rapid bus, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) connections and car and bike sharing intended to help future residents achieve a "less car-dependent lifestyle." Infrastructure work is expected to take approximately two years, with vertical construction starting later this year. Officials said the Alameda Point project will generate more than 2,500 direct construction jobs.
The ability to ditch one's vehicle, especially for daily activities like banking and grocery shopping, is one of the factors that make developments like Alameda Point so attractive to future residents. And whether it's on the waterfront, in an urban environment, or in the landlocked suburbs of North Texas, the developments that spring up around these walkable conveniences also cater to peoples' desire to be more connected to one another – part of a community.
Developer appetite for these kinds of projects, according to National Real Estate Investor, doesn't show signs of slowing down. More than just consumer preference, mixed-use projects provide investors with much-needed diversification. For example, if the office market tanks, chances are there will still be a demand for one or more other uses integrated into the project, such as residential and retail. In addition, mixed-use developments make good use of land, particularly in already-dense areas.
Rezoning for a wide range of uses can sometimes be problematic, so some communities have sought to resolve that issue with something known as floating zones. This special strategy does not replace or revoke existing zoning but adds an extra layer of zoning over a certain area, allowing developers to build, for example, residential units near transit stations in industrial areas or medical facilities in traditionally single-family neighborhoods. Contrary to the rezoning sought for megaprojects, floating zones, according to the Hartford Courant, are often used to enact small-scale, gradual shifts in neighborhood character.