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ALAMEDA, CA-SunCal wants to triple the housing density included in the redevelopment plans originally approved for the former Alameda Naval Air Station. The company last week began collecting the necessary signatures to place an initiative on the Nov. 3 ballot that would ask voters to waive the density limits for the project.

The existing plan calls for 1,700 single-family detached homes; no condominiums or other high-density housing is planned due to Alameda’s 1973 law Measure A, which bans any new housing larger than a duplex. The initiative, if placed on the ballot and approved, would make Alameda Point and exception to Measure A.

SunCal wants to Alameda Point to hold more than 5,000 condominiums, live-work lofts, townhomes, apartments and single-family homes, as well as 3 million square feet of office and light industrial space. In exchange for the density the plan calls for more open space, specifically 145 acres of parks, a 58-acre sports field complex and more than 20 miles of bicycle and walking trails. Plans also call for $100 million in transit projects, including a new ferry terminal.

“We want to build denser housing on Alameda Point because it’s the economically and environmentally correct thing to do,” Pat Keliher, SunCal’s vice president of operations, reportedly told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s an amazing piece of property, and when the market starts to turn around Alameda Point could be an incredible community.”

The Navy left Alameda Point 12 years ago. Since that time, four developers have tried to make something happen. The project area encompasses a third of the island. SunCal is likely to pull out of the project if it can’t achieve the density it needs to make the project pencil. The Navy last week sent a letter to the Alameda city manager saying it wants to renegotiate the price based on SunCal’s new plans for the site.

SunCal has opposition. A group called Save Our City wants no housing on the site, saying the city needs more office and industrial space so it can produce enough jobs for the people already living there. The group is also concerned about the extent of the ground contamination at the base, which the Navy and SunCal are required to clean up.

The city’s last developer prospect for the 700-acre Naval Air Station, a JV of Shea Homes and Centex Homes, walked away from the table in 2006, and the selection process started over. SunCal competed for the opportunity against Catellus, which was selected to redevelop the nearby 81-acre former US Navy Fleet Industrial Supply Center, and Lennar Corp., which is working on the redevelopment of Candlestick Point and Hunter’s Point.

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