Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 29, 2014

You are what you eat

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

The City of Alameda, in a mission to promote its businesses, has put out a restaurant guide which is really cool and neat  BUT…it’s already outdated with numerous mistakes.

Look no further than the Asian section which doesn’t know how to handle crossover cuisine and just gets some thing really wrong:

restaurants

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August 28, 2014

Come go with me

Filed under: Alameda, Business, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Did anyone catch the Sound Off in SF Gate on the topic of “What are some emerging neighborhoods in the Bay Area?”

Two out of the three responses given by the realtors focused on the whole City of Alameda as “emerging,” which is kinda cool.  Now, granted one of the realtors was an Alameda specific realtor but it still counts!

Excerpt from the first Alameda specific response:

While many may point to a specific neighborhood and talk about how it is changing, the biggest example of this I’m aware of is the City of Alameda. This area, once known primarily for its Navy base, is in the process of transforming itself into a modern 21st century city. With room for development and the geographic benefits of incredible views, beaches, and easy commutes via ferry and BART, the future is looking spectacularly bright!

People are noticing and coming to take advantage of the great schools, restaurants, and shopping, both in the commercial streets bordering residential neighborhoods as well as re-developed shopping centers like South Shore.

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August 27, 2014

Ain’t nobody’s business

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Last week I had a post on the residential developments at Alameda Landing, today will focus on the retail and commercial developments.  If you have swung by, as John P. noted in the other post, the commercial side is going up pretty fast.   Safeway’s shell is nearly complete and it appears that they are really pushing for that October opening date.  Anything before the holidays would probably be a huge boon to Safeway.  Although we had been told that shops such as Corner Bakery and Which Wich were supposedly contenders for space, they are not currently on the list of signed tenants.   According to the most recent iteration of the leasing document here are the retailers:

  • Safeway
  • Michaels
  • Habit Burger
  • Unleashed by Petco
  • Sleep Train
  • Sprint
  • Famous Dave’s BBQ

A tenant “in negotiation” is an unnamed credit union and a bunch of other corner spaces are currently in negotiation as well.

Map here:

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August 26, 2014

Wibbly wobbly timey wimey

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources, Warm Fuzzies — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Map has been updated, thanks everyone!

Between you and me, I have been obsessed with the idea of having a Little Free Library ever since I had read about the whole concept.   Since I had first read about them, Alameda’s own number of Little Free Libraries has grown considerably.  Of course, even while obsessed with the idea of a Little Free Library I hadn’t at the time actually considered having one myself because (1) I’m not handy and (2) neither is my husband.   Anything involving woodworking would be an immediate pass.

But then I became obsessed with them again when I saw a pinterest board about unconventional Little Free Libraries and came across one that had been a newspaper vending box in its previous life.  And I thought to myself, self, you can totally spray paint a newspaper box can’t you?  And I answered, “of course!”   I set off to find myself a newspaper vending box and devoted hours and hours of searching on the Internet for one, but came up empty.   I would looking longingly at the ones around town and looked sad and neglected and wondered if anyone would miss that particular newspaper vending box.

I then moved on to various other ideas and as my husband saw me eyeing a huge outdoor hurricane lamp that I thought might be a candidate for my Little Free Library he asked me what I was going to do with that.  When I explained to him my Little Free Library idea he said that he would be able to help me build something.   And so I decided to share with him my dream project which I had dismissed early on as completely out of my scope of abilities: the TARDIS.  For folks that are not Doctor Who fans, it’s this.

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August 25, 2014

Prince Charming Charlie

Filed under: Alameda, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Kids are back in school today, yay!  But modified scheduled this week so make sure to get your kiddos early.

Someone mentioned the other day that South Shore’s two largest vacant spaces were getting new tenants.  One of those tenants is Charming Charlie and I had read about the speed at which Charming Charlie had expanded and was pretty impressed.   From an article in Fortune:

In less than a decade the young founder and CEO of Charming Charlie has built a $400 million-plus (sales) mini-empire of watches, necklaces, scarves and handbags–284 stores in 40 states that FORBES values at $1 billion-plus. With an estimated net worth of $500 million he’s careening toward billionaire status before his 40th birthday.

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August 22, 2014

Bubbly

Filed under: Alameda, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

With all the talk about potential price points for the new Alameda Landing housing development and the overall affordability issues in Alameda and beyond naturally given the high rates for both for sale and rental units leave some people wondering if this is just another sign of an impending housing bubble which left the housing market decimated.

SPUR recently held lunchtime forum about whether what we are currently seeing in the Bay Area is a sign of an impending housing bubble or if this speaks to the overall affordability crisis that has made it difficult to find affordable housing for a vast number of people.  The conclusion presented by the speakers was that the Bay Area is not in a bubble, it’s just not affordable.

One of the main reasons that distinguish an affordability crisis from a housing bubble is whether the high prices can be explained by supply and demand from the SPUR piece:

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August 21, 2014

Building blocks

Filed under: Alameda, Business, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

For folks that don’t regularly visit Target you probably haven’t seen the explosion of building that has been going on. I snapped a photo when I was at Target yesterday to pick up some stuff for the family. Yesterday afternoon there were a lot of people there and a lot of unhappy babies at Target. But anyway, here’s what you will see when you visit:

2014-08-20 17.02.18

When the wood frames were first being thrown up, I thought this was going to be the multi-family units because I hadn’t noticed how far set back the units were until someone on Twitter pointed it out. Turns out these are going to be the single family houses which front the large green space that borders 5th street.   Right now in lieu of the green space there is a parking lot because they’re probably going to have the model homes available and so they want easy parking that is not the Target parking lot.

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August 20, 2014

Mind your own business

Filed under: Alameda, Business — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

You all are on Alameda Peeps on Facebook right?  If not, you can always hit me up for an add but honestly if you have a low tolerance for complaints you should probably pass.  There are several threads which generally hit the same overarching theme: retail shops.  Most people are not pleased that there are too many chain stores, or nail shops, or yogurt place, or [insert despised retailer of choice here].

And I know I’ve written my own numerous responses to these complaints about the “wrong” kind of retailers in Alameda.  But because people are freaking out about the chain retailers at Alameda Landing and then picking on local whipping boy: the nail salon, it’s probably a good time to write this.

First with regard to Alameda Landing.  According to the deal agreed to years and years ago, in order for Alameda Landing to not decimate the Webster Street corridor there was an agreement that the retail spaces for Alameda Landing would all have a larger square footage.  That way, the small mom and pop shops needing smaller footprints (think Cookiebar) could find a suitably sized home on Webster Street and wouldn’t be tempted to move to shinier digs at Alameda Landing — because all the spaces would be too big.  However, because the spaces are bigger the natural tenant that would be able to invest in a larger footprint would be a chain retail store.   And not any chain retail store, typically chains that are owned by a corporation and not your friendly local franchisee trying to make a living as a small business.  That’s why you’ll probably only see some larger scale chain business at Alameda Landing.  Because it’s there by design.  Naturally your artisan shop selling handmade baby sweaters knit by blind Tibetan nuns would be welcomed, but the demand is probably not high enough to keep it in business despite people declaring that they want unique items and not “junk from China.”

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August 19, 2014

Read it loud, read it proud

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Squeee!   One of my favorite Alameda events is coming up really soon.   Oh by the way, if you haven’t yet gone through the process of signing your child up through Alameda Unified School District’s new online contact information portal you won’t be able to find out who their teacher is until they do.  At Ruby Bridges we were told that posting class lists on the windows are a big no no so you have to go into the office to find out your child’s teacher name and room number.  It’s kind of a pain, but I can see how, for security reasons, that they would want to keep that info largely confidential.  Although it makes it harder for besties to figure out if they’re in the same class together without parent intervention and coordination over texts.

Anyway, one of my favorite Alameda events is the banned book reading that the Alameda Free Library holds annually. So the week of September 21 through 27 the library will be hosting a read out at the main library. They would like to invite groups or individuals who are interested to sign up for a slot to read aloud from a book that has been challenged or banned somewhere for some reason.

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August 18, 2014

The rent is too damn high

Filed under: Alameda, Business — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I know I’ve talked a lot about residential rental rates and how high they have gotten in the past year or so.   But another unintended consequence of the super hot real estate market is the commercial rents and space for retail and service establishment that cater to the residents of San Francisco that have been able to bear the brunt of the higher housing costs.

Therapy is a clothing and furniture store on Valencia in San Francisco.  Their original furniture store is closing because of rising rents from Uptown Almanac:

Therapy’s owner Wayne Whelan explained that he simply couldn’t afford the 84% rent increase his landlord demanded. Whelan said he wanted to stay open until the end of the year, and that he was willing to pay the increased monthly rent to do so, but that he couldn’t commit to the new five year lease the landlord was demanding. The landlord, the Daljeet family, wouldn’t have it. “There was no negotiation. It was like, ‘take it or leave it,’” says Whelan.

Faced with a rent that increased from $5,700 to $10,500 as of August 1st, Whelan paid the higher rent for August, but decided that he would be unable to sign a new long term lease at the increased rate.

However, San Francisco’s loss is Alameda’s gain because there had already been plans to open a Therapy on Park Street so now furniture sales would just simply shift there.

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