America's Cup team gets okay for additions to Alameda Point home

America's Cup team gets okay for additions to Alameda Point home

Michele Ellson
Artemis Racing

America’s Cup challenger Artemis Racing got the Planning Board’s okay Monday night to build floating docks in Seaplane Lagoon and to plant a crane capable of reaching 160 feet on an adjacent taxiway.

The team is slated to call Alameda Point’s Hangar 12 home through March 31, 2013 – longer if America’s Cup organizers don’t require them to move to San Francisco in advance of the summer 2013 Cup races – and will need to make the changes before moving in.

The docks will sit astride 45-foot and 72-foot catamarans that will split their time between the water and Hangar 12, with the crane on hand to lift the vessels out of the water to be rolled back into the hangar when they’re not in use. The hangar sits near the Bladium sports club.

Planning Board member John Knox White amended the permit the board ultimately approved on an unusually speedy 5-0 vote Monday to make it easier for Artemis to extend it should they decide to remain in Alameda. The team can go to the city’s zoning administrator for that approval, instead of returning to the Planning Board.

“I’ll just go on record to say that we would like to stay. It’s our intention to stay,” said Bill Erkelens, an Artemis Racing representative.

The team plans to construct a security gate and fence in addition to the temporary docks and the crane, a report detailing the plans presented to the board on Monday said. Hangar 12 will be home to between 12 and 55 Artemis crewmembers during the team’s time there, it said.

City staff determined that the team’s docks would be far enough away from the Point’s California Least Tern colony to avoid any impacts to the colony. And the facilities and floating dock will be moved incrementally to remain clear of the Navy’s ongoing environmental cleanup efforts in the area.

Members of the city’s ad hoc America’s Cup committee voiced support for the team’s request, and city staff recommended approval of the plans. And Planning Services Manager Andrew Thomas said other America’s Cup teams could construct similar setups at the Point.

“As long as they’re willing to live with these same conditions, we could use this use permit for other teams, or other boating uses,” said Thomas, who welcomed the team to Alameda immediately following the vote.

Also on Monday night, a team of students from the University at California, Berkeley’s landscape design studio offered their vision for future development at Alameda Point in the face of predicted sea level rise.

“This is an issue we have been working on, struggling with, for several years now, as part of the many struggles with Alameda Point,” said Thomas, who said he was a graduate of the program.

The students’ vision included an Alameda Point protected by a wide, gradually sloping “super levy” along Seaplane Lagoon that is five to six feet higher than it is now, where houses are placed on the Point’s highest ground. New construction would be built on foundations that would stand 12 feet higher than high tide, while foundations for the Point’s existing hangars would be raised “a few feet.”

The Point could be dotted by new tidal wetlands and multi-tiered parks with different levels that could be used based on where the tides are, some of them skate parks whose channels become canals during high tides. And workers and residents could travel via an enhanced ferry system or a sky tram that would carry passengers over the Bay.

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission has determined that local waters will rise 55 inches by 2100; city staff and the city’s consultants determined that a sea level rise of 18 inches would increase flooding hazards at Alameda Point.

“We think future development must respond to sea level rise,” said Eileen Pearson, one of the student presenters.


Submitted by tomcharron on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

Interesting to read of "super levy" with houses built 12 ft up on the new grounds and raising the foundations of old aircraft hangers!

Wonder what exotic preps will be conjured up for the rest of our island?

Perhaps raising all current island homes and buildings on stilts and providing ferry service along Lincoln Avenue with water taxi runs to residents elsewhere.

Submitted by Bob on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

Artemis Racing appears to be located in the former Aircraft Maintenance Hangar 39 (not Building 12). Hangar 39 contributes to the NAS Alameda Historic District, as evaluated by Sally Woodbridge. The building located west of Bladium Sports Club was built in 1944 and was occupied by Delphi Productions.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

Hmm. City staff said Hangar 12 and the docks would start near Hangar 39 and drift along with the Navy's remediation work.

Richard Bangert's picture
Submitted by Richard Bangert on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

The UC Berkeley students' presentation is interesting, although somewhat fanciful due to lack of understanding of important details about the land. The northwest corner of Alameda Point will indeed be high enough to remain above maximum sea level rise after the four-foot soil cap is in place in a few years. The only problem with building anything there is that no approvals will ever be granted to drive pilings through an industrial landfill.

And likewise, their idea that perhaps the least terns would migrate to the southwest corner and resume their nesting habits is not plausible. When the soil cap is installed next year, it will be seeded with native grasses, from a practical standpoint, to prevent erosion. The least terns need clear un-vegetated land, such as a beach, for their nesting. Turning Site 2 into a sand and gravel landscape is not unlikely to ever come to pass.

Here is a link to the presentation:

I'm gratified that the students liked my wildlife photos that they used on the "Site Opportunities" panel. It would have been appropriate to credit the source where the photos appeared - the Alameda Point Info Image Gallery - especially when it says the images are copyrighted.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

Thanks for providing the presentation, Richard.