On December 11, the Planning Board approved a conditional use permit for seven new outdoor pickleball courts at The HUB Sports Club at 800 West Tower Avenue, and amendments to the RESHAP (Rebuilding the Existing Supportive Housing at Alameda Point) Development Plan and Agreement to increase the number of supportive housing units from 309 to a minimum of 332.
New pickleball courts
The HUB recently took over the former Bladium Sports and Fitness Club and has focused on expanding pickleball facilities. The HUB is in Building 40, a former aircraft hangar in the Naval Air Station (NAS) Historic District, which Bladium has occupied since 2001. The owner recently partitioned the 110,000-square-foot facility, resulting in Bladium and Sofive Soccer Centers operating the soccer facilities in the northern portion of the hangar along with the outdoor fields on the west side.
The HUB leases the remainder of the building. The HUB added eight pickleball courts to their portion of the building interior and requested Planning Board approval for seven new outdoor courts on the east side in an existing parking lot. Seven-foot, screen-covered, chain-link fencing will enclose the courts on three sides to dampen wind on the courts and noise in the neighborhood. The HUB will not alter the building’s exterior, including lighting. On-site vehicle parking will remain sufficient to meet demand.
Pickleball exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it has had a mixed reception in Alameda. Brian McGuire, City Planner, noted that existing courts are oversubscribed, and that adding courts at this location would provide a desired amenity without impacting residential neighborhoods. The HUB Managing Member Patrick Rolfes said the eight indoor pickleball courts have already increased business not only for The HUB but for local establishments like Firebrand Café. Customers can pay a drop-in fee or purchase a membership to play.
The Board unanimously approved the permit on condition that the applicant provide an aesthetically pleasing fence screen with a design reflecting the historic district.
Increased density at RESHAP
The Board also unanimously approved amendments to the RESHAP Development Plan and Agreement to increase the number of supportive housing units from 309 to a minimum of 332. The project by MidPen Housing Corporation, the Alameda Point Collaborative, Operation Dignity, and Building Futures with Women and Children (Collaborating Partners) will sit at the corner of West Midway Avenue and Pan Am Way.
Andrew Thomas, Special Advisor to the Base Reuse and Economic Development Director, explained that after Planning Board approval of development plans for the RESHAP and West Midway projects in May 2023, it became apparent to staff and the Collaborating Partners that in order to comply with specific Surplus Lands Act requirements and address the significant needs for affordable, supportive housing in Alameda, it should be a goal of the joint project to ensure that at least 40% of all the units constructed between the two projects be affordable to very low and low-income households.
The amendments do not change the number of buildings, their footprints, or height, but do increase the project’s density, resulting in 40% of the total housing units at the combined RESHAP/West Midway projects being deed-restricted to very low and low-income households.
In other decisions, the Planning Board approved:
- Subdividing an approximately 160-acre City-owned parcel at Alameda Point to create 23 individual lots for the RESHAP, West Midway, and Food Bank Projects at Alameda Point.
- An administrative use permit to establish permanent parking for small school buses and a new perimeter fence in a parking lot at 700 Essex Drive at Alameda Point.
Contributing writer Karin K. Jensen covers boards and commissions for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at https://linktr.ee/karinkjensen and https://alamedapost.com/Karin-K-Jensen.