Presentation at Brickyard Landing

The latest view of what Laconia has in mind for the Terminal One site was presented at a meeting at Brickyard Landing, Tuesday, 3/24/15.

The general overview:

  • 336 total Units
  • 840 Parking places
  • 5 Condo buildings (back) / Townhouses (center) / Single-family homes (shoreline)
  • Condo buildings presented last evening were all 5-stories tall, 55′ over podium (parking).
  • Townhouses will be 3 stories, with parking underneath.
  • The BNSF property at the real of the site has not been purchased, and consequently the buildings are not back against the park bluff as much as they could be.  This is also a deviation from the Design Principles, which stipulated that “Best Efforts” would be used to secure the property.
  • Circulation:  There is a shoreline road with Bay Trail.  But in a deviation from the Settlement Plan principles, Laconia will not close Brickyard Cove Road, as had been hoped.  Previously the Toll Settlement kept Brickyard Cove Road for project access, fire access, and Bay Trail.

Many people in the large audience suggested strongly and repeatedly that they want the height of the eastern-most condo building (closest to the Landing) to be reduced to 4 stories, or 3 stories.  The lost units could be added to the middle condo building, making it taller, but at least that would somewhat mitigate the blockage of views from the Landing.  Laconia heard these comments, but did not seem to offer any resolution to act on them.

Paul Menzies, Laconia CEO,  said that they met informally for a study session with the Design Review Board.  Evidently the DRB’s suggestions also concerned moving back the project, varying the rhymic line-up of the condos to something more irregular and interesting, and establishing a central entrance to the development to establish a sense of place, and a sense of arrival.

Terminal One Developer

On December 3, 2013, the City awarded Suzhou-Weibang (hereafter known as Terminal One Development, or “TOD”, the Exclusive Right to Develop (ERN) the site.
On March 25, 2014, the City approved the “Term Sheet” for TOD. The LDA, or Land Disquisition Agreement, which is the purchase and sale agreement, the contract to develop the site was signed in the Fall of 2014.  No plans with detail have been presented to the public in a Design Review Board meeting to date.

Spring, 2015.  Here is the most recent of Laconia’s plans.  5 Condo buildings over podium in the back, Townhouses in the center, and Single Family Homes along the shoreline.  The style seems to be modern, rather than echoing any elements of Brickyard Landing or other Brickyard Cove elements.

 

TerminalOne-Elevations

 

Terminal One and Toll Brothers Development

Historical context of Terminal One development.

In May of 2007, Toll Brothers submitted a new plan for Pt. Richmond Shores to the City. This plan incorporated many of the design principles that came out of the three charrette workshops held in December/2006, January/2007, and February/2007, and in it, Toll had sought to respond to the community.

The project design had been improved substantially compared to earlier plans.
Its featured include the following:

  • Project Density: 258 units (reduced from 324).
  • Massing: Buildings are tallest (5 stories) in the back/hillside
    and step down to 2 stories southward toward the shoreline.
  • Buildings were pushed back as far as possible to the north property line,
    though not over Brickyard Cove Road.
  • Brickyard Cove Road: The current road would be used primarily for access to podium parking.
  • Brickyard Cove Road road would be landscaped as a neighborhood street, and thru traffic would be discouraged by pavement changes and landscaping cues.
  • The Shoreline Road, with its dramatic views of the Bay, will be the major entrance to the Community.
  • The Bay Trail will run along the shoreline apron, outboard of the road, in a continuous loop. It will be connected to the Bay Trail segment in front of Brickyard Landing that was completed in the Spring of 2007.City Council action. On June 19, 2007, the Richmond City Council unanimously approved the Vesting Tentative Map, and Design Review Conditions of the revised project, described above. Over 90 Conditions accompanied the approval.Legal Status. In January of 2007, CCCPR filed a lawsuit against the City of Richmond, the Community Redevelopment Agency, and Toll Brothers. It was hoped that a new plan would be developed based on charrette-inspired principles, and that the new plan would satisfactorily reflect the Community’s stated design objectives. Toward that end, a Standstill Agreement was signed, holding in abeyance any legal actions pending the outcome of the charrette.The May, 2007, Plan shows that Toll listened during the charrette. CCCPR and the Community are pleased with the new plan. CCCPR has expressed its intention to drop the lawsuit, pending satisfactory performance by Toll and the City in obtaining certain easements necessary for the above plan to become a reality.
Site Plan, May '07 Plan
Site Plan, May ’07 Plan

The previous Toll Plan for 324 units, and a critique of the plan, follow:

Our goals with respect to the development of the site are as follows:

  1. A median-divided public shoreline road, similar to the rest of Brickyard Cove Road, should provide the main entrance to our community. Brickyard Cove Road should be abandoned in its current location north of the project because to drive along that road once a project is built will be to drive through an unsightly canyon. Emergency vehicle access and Bay Trail uses could be allowed north of the project.
  2. Buildings should be massed against the hills, and moved back as far as possible over what is now Brickyard Cove Road.
  3. Buildings should be stepped down on their perimeters to avoid a blocky, institutional appearance that is out of scale with the fine grain of the community.
  4. We oppose any amendment to the Richmond General Plan and changes to Zoning ordinances which allow increased density and higher building heights until a comprehensive planning study of the Brickyard Cove community, conducted with community participation, is completed.

This site is the most important development site in our community for multiple reasons. It is located at the main entry for our community and will be the first impression for residents and visitors alike. The site has a rich maritime history with a deep water marine wharf on Portrero Reach ship channel, close up views of the vitality of the waterfront, recreational boating and commercial shipping activity, as well as startling views of Angel Island, Marin and San Francisco Bay. Ferry Point, located 500 feet to the West, is the historic western railroad terminus where railroad cars were loaded onto ferryboats for the final journey to San Francisco. Preservation of this waterfront vitality and maritime environment for the enjoyment of residents, visitors and the general public is our goal.

Problems with Toll Brothers Current Plan:

  • The massing and density of the proposed buildings bears no relation to the site and is grossly out of scale with the surrounding community. The buildings are of very similar height and density, located on a promontory affording magnificent 270 degree bay and water views. Only a percentage of the units in this plan would have water views with most units looking into other units or the hills to the North. There is no context in Brickyard Cove or Point Richmond for five-story tall buildings. When over the parking podium, the roof height will reach 80′. This is completely out of scale with the context. By contrast, Brickyard Landing exemplifies the appropriate context with tall buildings against the hillside.
  • The design alternative calls for relocation of Brickyard Cove Road along the waterfront, and thereby massing the buildings closer to the hill to the North. The articulation of the buildings’ exterior reduces the visual impact of this density upon the land and provides water views to 86% of the units, substantially increasing the value of the project to the developer, the City tax base, and the community.
  • Insufficient view corridors are planned for both public and private use. The current plan, by its imposing mass, would create substantial blockage of water views from Brickyard Cove Road as well as Brickyard Landing. The main entrance to our community would be substantially diminished. If built as designed, the road would become a canyon with natural cliffs on one side, and an 80′ tall building on the other.
  • The Design Alternative would eliminate the need for view corridors through the site, as views of the Bay would be available to anyone driving, or riding along the Bay Trail, both of which would follow the shoreline.
  • Provision for the Bay Trail is inadequate. The Bay Trail must be a key component of any development of this site and the current plan does not properly accommodate the Bay Trail. There is no room north of the project for a Bay Trail commute lane.
  • The Design Alternative moves the residential buildings away from the Trail allowing the Bay Trail to meander through a public park next to the waterfront. If the land north of the project were purchased from BNSF, there would be room for a commute route.
  • Inadequate Demarcation Of Private Residential and Public Recreational Areas. The residential buildings are too close to the waterfront making it unclear which area is private property and which area is waterfront recreation area accessible to the public. At one point along the shoreline road, an 80-foot tall building stands 22 feet from the roadway. This looming presence would diminish the shoreline experience for the public.
  • The Design Alternative moves the residential buildings away from the public recreation areas and the relocated Brickyard Cove Road provides clear demarcation of the different areas.
  • Residential Buildings Are Sited Too Close to Richmond Yacht Club. Two residential buildings are located 30 feet from a very active yacht club that conducts sailing events and social functions throughout the year. The yacht club has concerns that a residential use in such close proximity to the club will produce conflicts.
  • The Design Alternative moves the residential buildings to 150 feet away from the club, which would provide a more reasonable buffer between these two uses.
  • Insufficient Exploration Of Commercial and Recreational Uses Of The Pier. There are few deep-water piers available to recreational boaters and this pier should be more available for public access. The use of kayaking, team rowing, and small boat sailing have not been considered at all. This is a focal point of the site and the opportunity for water related commercial and recreational uses has not been adequately explored.
  • The Design Alternative explores water related commercial and recreational uses and would require the developer to maximize the commercial and recreational potential of the pier whether it is structurally sound or not.
  • No connection of Ridge Trails in Miller Knox Park to the Bay Trail. The Ridge Trails in Miller Knox Park end on the bluff above the project and do not connect with the Bay Trail. The developer is not even required to clean up the junky shoreline between the parkland at Ferry Point Way and the Wharf.
  • The Design Alternative provides a connection from the Ridge Trail on the bluff overlooking the project, down the hill, through the project, finally connecting with the Bay Trail. This is an important link and should be part of any development plan for this site.

Action Requested: The Coalition of Concerned Citizens requested that the Design Review Board, Planning Commission, and City Council help the Community by insisting that the above principles be reflected in any plan that is considered for this site, and in particular, that Toll Brothers incorporate the concepts of our Design Alternatives into their plan for Point Richmond Shores.

Bottoms Property/Shea Homes

Shea homes is moving ahead with its plan. Shea proposes 60 units on the site. The buildings are attractively designed, and are placed so to maximize views from units, and respond to the contours of the property. There was a regrettable change from last year’s site, which was less regular in its arrangement. However, in the geotechnical samplings, an underground condition was found that made that site plan unworkable. Many years ago, when the hill was blasted away to create an apron for the port, huge boulders were dropped atop the Bay mud, to provide stability. These boulders are too hard to drill through in order to secure the pilings that the previous plan required.

The positive consequence is that the density was actually reduced from 75 to 60 units.