Land swap will allow development of Encinal Terminal to proceed
AB 1706, Assemblymember Mia Bonta’s first bill to be signed into law this year, is legislation to help Alameda construct more housing. After passing through the Assembly, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on July 27. Bonta first announced the passage on social media. She had previously presented information about the bill to City Council in June.
The purpose of the legislation is to reconfigure the public tidelands and private lands at the former Encinal Terminal. The 32-acre site is located on the Estuary next to the Wind River campus and the new Alta Star Harbor development. With this agreement between the State Lands Commission and the City of Alameda, development of nearly 600 units of new housing may proceed.
“AB 1706 is an important bill for the City and the community,” Bonta stated. “It’s so great that my first bill signed [this year] is one that will deliver for my district. With the signing of the bill, the City can move forward with plans to build 589 housing units, provide access to more than four acres of waterfront parks, and turn 13 acres of submerged lands into a marina. This is a win for everyone.”
In February 2022 Alameda Post coverage of the proposed development of the area, Dennis Evanosky wrote: “[In the] latest set of plans for Encinal Terminals, the developer states that retail shops and offices, a kayak launch open to the public, a water-shuttle, and a marina will complement the housing. [The developer] also plans to allow walkers and bicyclists access along the Estuary’s shoreline by rerouting the Bay Trail that currently runs along Clement Avenue south of the property. Ownership of the shoreline in this project will remain in the public’s, not the developer’s, hands. [The developer] plans to remove the deteriorating timber and concrete wharves from the site. Any wharf-top improvements the developer makes must come before the City for design review.
“[The developer] stated that of the 589 units it plans to build, 80 will fall in the affordable-housing category: 25 for families of four with annual incomes of $68,500 or less; 20 for families of four with $109,600 or less in income; and 35 for families of four with annual incomes of $150,700 or less.”
In August 2022, the State Lands Commission gave the green light to a Land Exchange and Title Settlement Agreement aimed at resolving boundary disputes and reconfiguring the public trust lands at the Encinal Terminals in the City of Alameda. This agreement involves a series of conveyances between the city, North Waterfront Cove LLC, and the state. The Encinal Terminals property comprises four parcels—three privately owned and a 6.4-acre tideland parcel that is publicly owned.
The primary objective of the agreement is to facilitate the mixed-use development of the waterfront site, which includes plans for residential areas, a bay-trail waterfront promenade, parks, and plazas. Once the legislation takes effect, the State Land Commission will be responsible for the management and control of these lands.
“The City was proud to cosponsor Assembly Bill 1706 with the California State Lands Commission and looks forward to breaking ground on this once blighted property that sat vacant for over 10 years,” Alameda’s Acting Director of Base Reuse and Economic Development Andrew Thomas stated. When contacted by the Post, Thomas—who has also served as the City’s Planning, Building, and Transportation Director—elaborated: “This legislation is good for Alameda, good for public waterfront access, and good for housing. The Encinal project exchange results in new bay trail and waterfront public parks and 589 new housing units on the inland portions of the site.”
Assemblymember Bonta worked with the City of Alameda, the State Lands Commission, Alameda Chamber & Economic Alliance, Bike Walk Alameda, East Bay YIMBY and North Waterfront Cove, LLC on the legislation.
The angry geese and other birds currently inhabiting the area will have until January 1, 2024 to vacate, when the new law takes effect.
Update Thursday August 3, 4:00 p.m. to clarify this was Assemblymember Bonta’s first bill of the year to be signed into law.