East BayNews

Alameda voters approve housing, homeless services for vacant office space


A majority of voters in Alameda’s special election Tuesday decided to convert several vacant office buildings on McKay Avenue to senior housing and homeless services.

The 3.65-acre parcel, which once belonged to the federal government, was the target of two competing measures on the ballot. Voters preferred Measure A, with 53.36 percent in favor, which calls for a $40 million project to convert the property near Robert Crown Memorial State Beach into 90 units of senior housing, a 50-bed respite center for homeless adults and a daytime resource center for seniors. Measure B, which would have converted the land to open space, failed with 56.39 percent of voters in opposition.

A little over 29 percent of Alameda’s 48,739 registered voters cast ballots in the election.

Measure A supporters, including Mayor Ezzy Ashcraft, said in their ballot argument that the 11 former federal buildings and their location “are a perfect match for Alameda’s urgent need for additional senior and homeless services.”

But opponents, including former Mayor Trish Spencer, said the measure “is another example of the City Council’s fiscal irresponsibility” and isn’t guaranteed to serve any of Alameda’s homeless population. Opponents also criticized the Council for holding a special election on the measure now at an estimated cost of $580,000 to $700,000 rather than waiting for the November 2020 general election, which would be much less costly.

Measure B backers, including former Vice Mayor Doug deHaan and former Fire Chief Robert Lagrone, wrote in their ballot statement that it would support “Alamedans’ open space vision for generations to come.” 

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