8-story waterfront apartment building proposed at South Shore Shopping Center in Alameda

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- The South Shore Shopping Center in Alameda may soon be cutting back on retail in order to add residential units.

The developers for the 600,000 square foot retail space have proposed building 1,200 new housing units over the next two decades. The first phase of the plan-- which they hope to build by 2025-- would include building a 300 unit, eight-story apartment building on the waterfront.

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While the developers believe the proposal will help address the slowing retail industry and the housing shortage, some people who live in Alameda are questioning the size.

"We're a little concerned about the number of units that are gonna be brought into town, traffic of course," Victor Meng, who has lived in Alameda for nine years, said. "And we have kids that go to school here and the schools are already overcrowded."

Meng also said the eight-story building would block his views of San Francisco across the bay.

Remy Monteko is the head of the South Shore Shopping Center, which is owned by Jamestown, L.P.

"I understand their concerns. It is a change for the island. We can't deny that it is," Monteko said when asked about those concerns. "But, you know, we're on a waterfront site here and there's a car wash, a McDonald's close by, and a Big Five. We think the highest and best use for this land really is housing."

Like all of the Bay Area, housing is something Alameda desperately needs.
We sat down with Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft to ask her about the new housing proposal. She said she is open to the new development, but wants to make sure it includes not only low-income housing but housing for middle-income families as well.

"I would keep an open mind because what I like to tell people is I can't turn the clock back. We are in the Bay Area," she said. "We do need more housing."

She said in order to solve the traffic problem that may arise from the new development, the city will need to help create a less car-dependent lifestyle.

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The developers said they do plan to have low-income, middle-income and market level housing.

The proposal is still in the preliminary phases and it could take years until it's approved. If it is, they hope the first building is complete by 2025.

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