The West End of Alameda is known for its historical background, its scenic views, and its residential and commercial zones. Thinking of moving here? Make sure to watch my neighborhood feature below.
A Quick History Lesson
Two areas with notable history in the West End of Alameda are the Neptune Beach amusement park and the former Naval Air Base.
First, the Neptune Beach amusement Park, which was opened from 1919 to 1937, used to be called the Coney Island of the West Coast. It had an Olympic-sized swimming pool, ferris wheel, roller coaster, views of the Bay, and a ferry that runs back and forth from San Francisco. That time, it really was the place to be for fun and recreation, and thus, something you should know because it will be referenced a lot if you live in the West End.
Next is the Naval Air Base which is something you can’t miss if you move to anywhere in Alameda. If you’re a history buff, you’ll probably be interested to know that the Dolittle raids launched from here. The base opened in 1940 and continued to be used as an active duty military base until 1997. It had a huge influence on the neighborhoods, the architecture types of the houses and a lot of other things.
Most people suggest that the formal West End starts at Webster and goes west. The West End features a lot of bungalows and other types of architecture that were either developed, retrofitted or used for housing navy base personnel. After 1997 when the base closed, a lot of those areas have been redeveloped. In addition, new homes have been built near Alameda Landing and Bayport community. At present, it is transforming into a more owner-occupied part of the island and also one of the fastest changing parts of Alameda, from a lifestyle and architecture standpoint.
Tucked between Encinal High School and Paden Elementary School is Ballena Bay. It is a cool, small community with primarily condos and townhouses built in the 70’s. People living in these homes take advantage of their proximity to the water by maximizing the scenic views or by building docks. In addition, it’s also a fantastic place to do some water sports, do lots of swimming, canoeing, and kayaking. Also, driving to this part of the West End of Alameda will give you the feeling that time has slowed down. The swaying of the sailboat masts even add to that vibe.
On the north side (closets to Oakland) sits Marina Village. It is predominantly a business park with some condos for the residential areas. All of these structures here were built to take advantage of the water views and give access to the estuary. Not only that, the village also has a great running path and is very close to the Alameda Landing where lots of people love to shop.
Former Naval Air Base
Since it officially closed in 1997, the former Navy Base has been going through many rounds of revitalization. Over the last 5 to 10 years, a lot of businesses, primarily breweries and spirits-based businesses like Faction, Rock Wall, and St George Spirits, have started to take over. Additionally, it is being developed in multiple phases to be able to ultimately house hundreds of apartments and homes, as well as 10s of thousands of sq. ft. of commercial/retail space. To alleviate traffic to the tube when people start moving in to these homes, this neighborhood also has two trans-bay Ferry terminals. Instead of using their cars, people can take a ferry if they’re commuting to San Francisco.
The map above gives an overview of the location of the schools in the West End of Alameda. Depending on where you live, you will fall into one of three elementary schools: Maya Lin Elementary, Paden Elementary School, or Ruby Bridges Elementary School. Eventually, all three options can then take them to Encinal Junior and Senior High School or Wood Middle School.
There are also several charter school options like the Alameda Academy of Learning, Nea Community Learning Center, and the Alameda Community Learning Center. The Alameda Community Learning Center is formerly known as the Arthur Andersen Community Learning Center. It is a 6th to 12th grade public charter school and currently shares a campus with Nea Community Learning Center. Both schools operate under the same charter.
Lastly, at the intersection of Webster Street and Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway sits the 62-acre campus of the College of Alameda.
Shopping at Webster Street means going up and down a long promenade of eclectic shops like the pinball museum and some new arrivals like the Hunter cocktail lounge. These restaurants and shops give off that feeling of being well-established vibe, like the Seelenbacher Jewelers (where we bought our wedding bands) and Wes Café.
For people who prefer the typical shopping mall experience more than going up and down a long promenade of shops, there’s Alameda Landing in the neighborhood of Marina Village. The Alameda Landing is a modern shopping and business park which is also home to large retailers like Target and Safeway’s bigger chain stores. In addition, a lot of other national and local chains like In-N-Out burger can also be found here.
The development of the former Navy Base neighborhood is definitely going to bring a lot more people. However, because of the new work-from-home set-up, it’s probably not going to clog up the Tube like we initially thought it would, 6 to 12 months ago.
Also, to alleviate congestion in and out of the island, there’s also a proposed Oakland Alameda Access Project. The project aims to improve access along I-880 and in and around the Posey and Webster Tubes (SR-260). It’s probably going to start in 2023 but it is definitely something we can all look forward to.
I hope my neighborhood feature of the West End of Alameda has helped you.
If I can give you more context on the process of buying or selling your home, please do not hesitate to reach out. My information is below.
Here’s to all your success!