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ALAMEDA, CA-Officials from Catellus Development Corp. and the City of Alameda held a groundbreaking ceremony this week to commemorate its first step in the redevelopment of the Alameda Naval Air Station, which closed in 1997.

The event took place at what the Navy called the East Housing complex. The property consists of a cluster of 590 dilapidated apartments and townhouses that are ready for deconstruction. Catellus, selected to redevelop the East Housing property and adjacent Fleet Industrial Supply Center, is planning to replace the buildings with 437 market rate houses, 49 moderately priced duplexes, and affordable apartment projects of 60-unit and 39 units to be built in conjunction with the City of Alameda Housing Authority.

The entire 215-acre project — bounded by Atlantic Avenue, the Oakland Estuary, Main Street and the College of Alameda — also will include up to 1.3 million square feet of office and R&D space, five public parks, schools and open space extending the entire length of the estuary waterfront.

“When the Navy announced that NAS Alameda would be closed, the community participated in the creation of a reuse plan for FISC, East Housing and NAS Alameda, which is now called Alameda Point,” Alameda Mayor Ralph Appezzato told guests at the ceremony. “The development plan prepared by Catellus for FISC/East Housing is the first implementation of the community’s reuse plan.”

“We’re very mindful that this property represents the start of a reuse process that will change the face of West Alameda and have a substantial impact on Alameda’s future,” says Catellus Chairman and CEO Nelson Rising. “We view this as a landmark project that will be characterized by innovative planning and high quality design and development.”

The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the “deconstruction” phase of the project, which includes site preparation and demolition of the existing buildings. The next step, which is expected to begin in a few months, is the removal of the existing structures. Model homes are scheduled to begin construction next spring, with the move-in dates aimed for early 2003.

Catellus says it plans to separate the demolished materials and reuse as much of it as possible for new construction. This means that the company will be able to crush materials, such as concrete, and use them as base materials for roads or pavement.

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