The Rosefield Packing Company's first food processing plant was built around 1915. The northern portion was originally used as a Pickle Factory. A new hollow tile office building and processing room were added in 1927. In 1932, Rosefield had patented a process for making homogenized peanut butter and sold the product under the brand name Skippy.Environmental Concerns
The existing south wing, which replaced the old warehouse, was added in 1946. The company was later purchased by Best Foods in 1955 and continued to produce peanut butter until the plant was closed in 1974.
The City of Alameda Housing Authority purchased the building in 1978 and used it for the housing authority administrative and maintenance facility.
The cost of underground fuel tank removal and cleanup at the Skippy Plant has likely exceeded the $230,000 the Housing Authority paid for the property in 1978. The Housing Authority removed the gasoline tank and performed the initial cleanup of the tank site in 1986 but then discontinued remediation. In 1993 the Housing Authority renewed the cleanup in order to sell the property. The investigation renewed, additional soil excavation was performed in the vicinity of the location of the former tank.Current Property Use
Soil and groundwater contamination was determined to extend beneath the northeast corner of the warehouse. The Housing Authority intends on excavating and removing soils up to the building foundation in its continued effort to sell the property.
The Housing Authority is proposing to demolish the deteriorating Skippy Peanut Butter Plant building. A proposed redevelopment scheme for the site and the nearby Alameda Beltline Brownfield calls for a strip mall, anchored by Walgreens.Lessons Learned - Cleanup Following Development
Environmental contamination of the properties is not the only obstacle to this redevelopment plan. The Skippy Plant is considered historically significant for its contribution to a popular American cultural item. The properties would also require an amendment to the general plan to rezone the properties for retail use.
TENANT COMPLAINTSWhat to Look For
The underground storage tank removal and contaminated soil excavation raised the ire of a tenant of the housing authority that occupied a portion of the warehouse. A combination of fumes, noise and access restrictions created by the excavation, soil stockpiles and dump truck traffic can place real and imagined burdens on tenant/landowner relationships.
In cases where buildings are constructed over contaminated areas, or contamination has migrated underneath buildings the cost of investigation and cleanup increase significantly.
Railroad tracks of the Alameda Beltline Brownfields were located north of the Skippy plant.Site Statistics
The Eagle Avenue Housing Development, "the modulars" was completed in the 1980's adjacent to the Skippy Plant. The Modulars were constructed following the demolition of dilapidated war housing, that had gone unused since the end of WWII. Across Atlantic Avenue from the Skippy Plant is another recent development, the senior housing, also built on WWII housing brownfields. Remaining WWII housing brownfields are spaced along Atlantic Avenue from Webster Street to the Alameda Naval Air Station.
DEVELOPER: Broman Development Company
ACREAGE: Skippy Plant: 3 acres, Alameda Beltline: 5 acres
INVESTIGATION STATUS: Determination of extent of contamination in soils and groundwater complete.
CLEANUP STATUS: Contaminated soil near NE corner of plant to be excavated and hauled off-site.
COST OF ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION TO DATE:
$300,000 (estimated) RESPONSIBLE PARTIES:
- BEST Foods Company
- Alameda Housing Authority