The potential sale of the sports field is part of a proposed strategy from Allan D. Kotin & Associates of Oakland, a real estate consulting firm the school district has contracted with to analyze non-school properties.
Susan Davis, senior manager, community affairs, for the school district, told Action Alameda News, “the district has applied for a permit to re-zone Thompson Field and the Food Warehouse property as ‘residential’ with the possibility of selling it to a developer at a future date. The goal here would be to raise enough money to create a bigger, better sports field elsewhere. Put another way, the district would not sell the properties unless it could build a modern field in a viable location.
“Please note that this is all very preliminary. No plan has been drafted. The district is exploring ways to better use its properties so as to better serve its students, and if a proposal for this property is drafted, we will give the community ample notice and opportunities to comment.
“Again, nothing but preliminary work has been done and only to prepare the district for public input going forward.”
The permit applications, available through the City of Alameda website, shows that the district has asked the city to re-zone the field as “R-4,” the zoning for low-density “neighborhood residential” housing.
The problem with Thompson Field, according to a presentation from Kotin & Associates for an upcoming board of trustees meeting, is that, although the field is used by Alameda High School, “the track is not regulation-sized; facility/site locations do not meet needs of students; site has poor drainage.”
However, the sale of the property is unlikely to facilitate affordable housing, as the district’s mandate to maximize the sale price would translate to a private developer’s need to build market rate housing.
Word of the rezoning application and potential sale evoked protestations on local social media sites. (Just as predictable were the accusations of NIMBY-ism in response.) Opponents of the sale are starting petitions and planning their statements to the school board and city council.
The Kotin presentation suggests that the sale of Thompson Field could facilitate the creation of a new, unspecified, sports facility at the Alameda High site, with remaining funds going to other programs.
The district will also be evaluating options for its administrative office lease at 2060 Challenger Drive. The $500,000 per year lease expires at the beginning of 2019.
The district board of trustees meets on January 24th, at city hall.