Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 2, 2014

Don’t speakeasy

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

I’ve been thinking a lot about the grand opening of Capone’s Speakeasy and wondering why it went so badly.  I’m sure by now folks have heard the rumors about the the involvement of police of the first evening, the police blotter has not yet been updated so I can’t confirm if the rumors I have heard are correct.   There is a range of how the police got involved, but the story almost always ends with one of the owners ending up on the wrong side of the Alameda Police Department, which I’m guessing that if you own a bar is not where you want to be.

Yelp has an assortment of reviews, mostly bad, some good.  I generally take Yelp reviews with a huge grain of salt and my general policy on Yelp reviews is that I typically won’t say anything about a place that is a small business if I have an overall negative outlook.  I will ding big corporations, but never little mom and pop establishments.  With that said, between these reviews and others it really seems like amateur hour over there at Capone’s.   I mean when they announced the whole “dress code” thing early on, I got it, but knew that I was probably not the type of patron that they were going for.  I don’t dress up. Period.  Unless I have to go to a wedding and even then I do it reluctantly.  But I was willing to be supportive by not crapping all over their dress code thing. As commenter dave suggested the owners should have done this:

Perhaps a better idea would have been an invitation-only Grand Opening, requesting formal or even 20’s era attire, then splash the photos on social media & open the next weekend to the public, however attired.

Or even better hold a soft opening if they really just wanted to get the damn place open and then run that invitation-only Grand Opening in a few weeks after the kinks have been fully worked out.  In the days of social media being able to make or break you, the decision to launch out of the gate with this dress code seems surprisingly tone deaf.

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September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

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

Nothing for today except enjoy your day off if you have it.

I tried to go to Capone’s the Sunday after the grand opening on Saturday night, because I sort of wanted to see if I’d get turned away for wearing jeans and the husband wearing shorts.  According to the Yelp reviews people were getting turned away left and right indiscriminately for “inappropriate” attire.   Since I wasn’t going to get belligerent if I did get turned around and I sure as hell won’t get dressed up to go to breakfast, I thought I’d try it out.  Unfortunately Capone’s was closed on Sunday morning even though it listed a 9:00 a.m. opening time.  Oh well.

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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