Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 28, 2008

Full Del Monte

Filed under: Alameda, Business, Development — Lauren Do @ 7:14 am

Over the weekend one of my friends asked me if I knew what was going on with the commercial development at Buena Vista and Sherman.   I responded, what commercial development?  She replied that she saw a huge sign for an international marketplace, or something along those lines at the old Del Monte building site.

Turns out, it appears that Peter Wang, the owner of the Del Monte building site and surrounding property has hired a commercial brokerage firm, GD Commercial, to begin leasing out space for the site which is now being called “Encinal Marina Foods.”   The full package listing, I assume this is for potential leasees, is here.  But here is the two-pager which outlines what sort of businesses they are looking for, which includes a:

  • Grocery Store (40K sq ft)
  • Restaurant (6K sq ft)
  • Sushi Bar (866 sq ft)
  • Salad Bar (216 sq ft)
  • Ramen Bar (518 sq ft)
  • Bakery (833 sq ft)
  • Dessert Stand (195 sq ft)

Just a note from the Sushi Bar on, those would be included in some type of “food court”, which according to this diagram includes a juice bar which was not included on the list.   I am assuming that the “dessert stand” and “ice cream shop” are interchangable as “ice cream shop” is not specifically listed on the 2 pager of businesses wanted. 

Another business missing is the “bookstore” at 730 sq ft, which means they probably already have an interested tenant.

So, if the term “international marketplace” had not tipped you off yet.  Nor did the Ramen bar, nor did the specs of the grocery store (p.6 on the reader, enlarge and navigate) which included a “live fish tank” in the Seafood section or the entire shelving section devoted to rice.  Yes, Alameda, if all goes to plan, we are getting our own Asian grocery store and marketplace.    Squeee!!

Highlights from a recent article about GD Commercial from the San Jose Business Journal:

Developers trying to lure shoppers to their centers are turning to a Milpitas commercial brokerage that offers a different retail palette — all Asian, all the time.

GD Commercial, in operation since 2003, has become a go-to real estate company for developers who want an alternative to the well-known bigbox stores that fill Bay Area shopping centers.

John Luk, a veteran broker with GD, has one word to describe most of these malls: “Boring.” He knows that developers and city officials value well-known retailers for their credit-worthiness and ability to draw shoppers, but he says the market is oversaturated.

“It’s the same thing again and again and again: Applebee’s, Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s,” Luk says…

Luk and the 25 brokers at GD mine the Asian business community to find retailers who serve the growing Asian population. They know the people and, more importantly, they know what’s on their shopping list and work to bring those businesses into the shopping centers.

As Luk puts it, “Every Asian wants to buy live fish.”

“My vision is if the demographic is strong enough — more than 20 to 30 percent Asian — and it’s the right land use in the right location with a willing developer, then come to me. We offer
certainty,” he says.

Firmly entrenched in the South Bay, GD Commercial has branched into Alameda, where the company is working on Encinal Del Monte, a 70,000-squarefoot indoor international market located near the water.

While I would disagree with Mr. Luk that EVERY Asian person wants to buy live fish, I would say that a lot of us would like to buy fresh fish and have the grocery store butcher and deep fry it for us (which is a service offered at many large Asian grocery stores, but not at the tiny rinky dink ones in Oakland Chinatown).  

It would appear though the Mr. Luk must have already lured the potential grocery store tenant to the site already, otherwise why name the development “Encinal Marina Foods”?   Marina Foods, for those that do not know, is an Asian grocery store chain, the closest one to Alameda is in Union City/Fremont.   If they were still trying to lure an anchor like a 99 Ranch or Lion, they certainly wouldn’t be naming the marketplace after one of their main competitors.   

I have to say that I am super excited about this project.  Sometimes there are just some things that you cannot get at your Lucky’s, Safeway, Trader Joes, or Nob Hill for asian cooking.   Rather than refrigerated cases being full of frozen pizzas and lean cuisine, they’ll be full of things like mochi and chive cakes.   Or instead of produce sections filled with bagged and pre-washed lettuce and apples, you’ll find things like taro root, daikon, and durian.  And most importantly you’ll find in the meat section an assortment of bones essential for making soup stock for staples like pho.   Did I mention the fresh noodles as well?

According to the Planning Department, this has not yet gone to the Planning Board for conditional use permit (30K threshhold) because apparently Conditional Use Permits, once given, is only valid for one year so if the project is still a few years out, they’ll wait until they are ready to rehabilitate the interior before putting in an application.

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39 Comments

  1. That is way cool! I have been to the MArina Store in Fremont It is next to an amazing japanese 99 cent store, that would also be great to have here, and was impressed with their selection. As for sushi, sorry, but that is so last year. Here are the latest trends:

    http://www.goodmagazine.com/section/Features/the_next_sushi

    I vote for the dosa shop myself.

    Comment by notadave — July 28, 2008 @ 7:53 am

  2. Double. Parking.

    Comment by TTO — July 28, 2008 @ 7:54 am

  3. Will those of us that are not asian allowed to shop there?

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — July 28, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  4. Good stuff … but where is this 5-star hotel?

    * 150-room 5-star hotel located at the other end of the building with separate entrance

    btw, I know a “lot” of Asians are vegetarians … and they are certainly not rushing out to buy fresh fish or visit the butcher anytime soon :-)

    Comment by alameda — July 28, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  5. Alameda is sorely lacking in vegetarian cuisine — probably because we are lacking in vegetarians — but let me shower a little praise on Central Vegetarian on Park St… it’s really good!!

    Comment by Jack B — July 28, 2008 @ 10:33 am

  6. After ATC and the Blanding center, I’m not expecting anything great on the retail front in Alameda. Sounds nice though.

    Comment by MarkD — July 28, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  7. Not that I have anything against this new “marketplace” (I would love to have access to Asian specialty food items!) but it seems as though we will be circling the city with retail and empty office spaceto the detriment of the two “downtown” business districts. Not to mention that there is a risk of saturation, in terms of restaurant type places.

    Does anyone know what is happening to the Park Street Marketplace?

    Comment by E T — July 28, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  8. The site is a great site and the west end is a great place for Asian market…can’t wait.

    Comment by Joel — July 28, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

  9. Fine with me. In the ideal world, I would love to see the site as an ethnic foods emporium. Whenever I’m in Lucky’s I cruise the “ethnic” foods aisle for salsa, soba and gefilte fish. (Not all served at the same meal.)

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 28, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  10. An International market in Alameda would be great but I saw some really bad reviews on Yelp about Marina Foods. I would like to know more about the store — especially since it’s the anchor tenant.

    Also I’m wondering about the proposed hotel and what other land uses are planned for this mixed use development?

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 28, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

  11. Thank goodness … because if there is one thing that the Bay Area does not have enough of, it’s asian cuisine!

    LOL :-)

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — July 28, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

  12. Bring it on! I’d heartily support Indian cuisine as well.

    Comment by J. Michael Bergstrom — July 29, 2008 @ 12:35 am

  13. the west end is a great place for Asian market

    Buena Vista and Sherman isn’t exactly the West End, unless you live in Fernside.

    Maybe they should put in a recycling center too, so those poor old Asian couples won’t have to trudge through the Posey Tube with their big loads of cans and bottles anymore.

    If I worked at Wind River, I’d be really excited about this development. But since I don’t (I work in Oakland and commute past the site every day), I can’t say I’m thrilled about the prospect of all that Oakland Chinatown traffic coming to Alameda.

    Comment by pch1013 — July 31, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  14. “I can’t say I’m thrilled about the prospect of all that Oakland Chinatown traffic coming to Alameda.”

    Don’t worry, they won’t. They have everything they need in Chinatown right on the other side of the tube. An Asian market in the Del Monte building will fail quicker than you can say sayonara!

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 2, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

  15. So after some research (15 secs on google), it seems to me that Marina Foods are pretty low-end for being next to a “5 star hotel”. . . .Idunno, maybe I’m just to cynical of proposed Alamede developements these days. Todays Five Star Hotel & International Market place could be Tomorrow’s Best Western & grocery store.

    Comment by MarkD — August 3, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  16. I’m not so sure it will fail. The City of Fremont did a number of market studies that support this kind of retail — but my concern is the same as #15. Seems to me the best development strategy for this kind of development would have been to start with the 5 star hotel or a high end restaurant like PF Changs or both. I would have preferred to see them come to the PB and City Council with phase one of their project be the hotel, a high end restaurant and a international market. You get a better understanding of the development this way, instead of developing it a piece at a time.

    Also I would want to visit a Marina Foods to see if these rumors about Marina Foods is true before we approve a Marina Food store in Alameda.

    Comment by Karen Bey — August 5, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  17. #16, all,

    Regarding what “we approve”, Thursday the HAB was asked to approve a historic renovation plan for the Del Monte building with modern upgrades to accommodate a current modern usage, which has been approved by the chief Historical Architect of Technical Preservation Services at the US Department of Interior.

    The design includes new fenestrations on the North elevation between existing openings which would be glazed with plate glass without divided panes, and set flush with the brick facade. The corrugated sheet metal awning on both north and south sides is proposed to be replaced with plate glass with black lines (technical term escapes me) between the laminated plates of glass.

    None of these design details seemed to thrill anybody including AAPS, board members, etc. However, considering the authority that had given previous approval and the explanation of design given by the applicants preservation architects, the HAB granted approval.

    The reasons such designs are acceptable, even though they seem to run counter to most people’s concept of historic preservation is that changes to historic buildings are not to be confused with those restoration features which are historic. Got that?

    An exchange with one resident who lives near the building indicated disappointment in our vote. He had handed us a letter with critical comments on the awning before heading to the PaRTy at the Hornet.

    I am concerned that the buck stops with HAB on this and whether we did our best. Our vote is entirely defensible, but I’m not looking forward to future stages of this project coming back to HAB without a more input from the neighborhood and others qualified to comment.

    Folks who like to second guess board decisions should walk in those shoes a little. At the moment, I have blisters after walking a fairly short distance.

    A very important point about design review on National Historic Monuments is that in Alameda, HAB has the final and only approval on exterior design, not the Planning Board or City Council. I do not know where responsibility would reside if we had not created the HAB.

    Comment by Mark Irons — August 9, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  18. 17
    “The design includes new fenestration’s on the North elevation between existing openings which would be glazed with plate glass without divided panes, and set flush with the brick facade. The corrugated sheet metal awning on both north and south sides is proposed to be replaced with plate glass with black lines (technical term escapes me) between the laminated plates of glass.”

    It’s this kind of shit that drives a person over the wall and through the looking glass into the land of oz!

    Who the fuck made up the word “fenestration’s”, why don’t you say “windows” or “openings”? You probably drink a “lovely lemony and waxy Pinot Grigio” instead of 2 buck charlie.

    Comment by laquan white — August 9, 2008 @ 7:35 pm

  19. Oh laquan/tay tay, you’re such a common sense, plain-spoken, straight-shootin’ regular guy with that attempted personal attack there on Mr. Irons.

    Hey, if you really do want to stay in that sewer where you are now and continue making personal attacks, I have a suggestion: Maybe next time you should try throwing some crap that doesn’t miss the mark so completely. That way you’ll still look like a scumbag, but at least you won’t also look like such an utter fool. Mr. Irons is many things, but he surely isn’t anything approaching an elitist wine snob. Come on, now, laquan.

    Comment by Not laquan white — August 9, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  20. Fenestrations is from the french word for window … fenetre :-)

    NLW – just because we both have black sounding names doesn’t mean that we are the same person … or o all black people just look the same to you?

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 9, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  21. # dix neuf

    Tu m’emmerdes! C’est un vrai con! Vas faire foutre a la vache!

    Comment by laquan white — August 9, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

  22. Laquan, go have another drink and calm down. It’s appropriate to me because windows are what were designed into the original building. These are new holes cut in the wall which are a real departure. I could have just said holes, like assholes. Like Laquan and T.T.S. for instance.

    I’ll feel bad about what you guys say when you become real people with real names. For now you are merely phantoms and pains in the ass, but until you post as yourself you ain’t gettin’ no respect from me either.

    Comment by Mark Irons — August 9, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

  23. Mark Irons … you truly are an idiot :-)

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 10, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  24. #17 Mark – thanks for this info, but I don’t know what this means : “None of these design details seemed to thrill anybody including AAPS, board members, etc. However, considering the authority that had given previous approval and the explanation of design given by the applicant’s preservation architects, the HAB granted approval. ”

    Who is AAPS?
    Relying on who, for what? – Which ‘authority is standing in to make decisions in the public’s interest? So what is HABS’s job – “Rubberstamping?”

    Also, Mark, considering the following statements you made –

    “An exchange with one resident who lives near the building indicated disappointment in our vote. He had handed us a letter with critical comments on the awning before heading to the PaRTy at the Hornet.”

    and…

    “I am concerned that the buck stops with HAB on this and whether we did our best. Our vote is entirely defensible, but I’m not looking forward to future stages of this project coming back to HAB without a more input from the neighborhood and others qualified to comment.”

    SOoooo…..

    I have to ask; “Why ‘o why would the HAB make a final design decision when you feel you have not received the expected amount of community feedback, and the meeting was scheduled to conflict with another important community meeting?

    Did AHAB put fliers in doors of everyone with in a mile of the project, or notify all homes along access roads that would be affected by the project, or whom would be faced daily with the final design?
    Did you try to get community and inform the public input thru articles in the community newspapers?
    Did you even post adequate info on this BLOG?
    Did you put any requests for feedback out with information that final design decisions would be made by your board?
    Have you ever noticed that Lauren even has “Meeting Notices” in the upper righthand corner of every page?
    How hard did you or any other AHAB member try to get feedback before this decision?

    When you realized the meeting schedule conflict, and the lack of public feedback on what you consider and important decision – You had the right, (obligation?) to postpone or table decision until adequate public notice, information and feedback was achieved.

    Is that not important to you?

    Why do you blog here?

    Mark, I know you are just one person on the board, and I ‘m not blaming you or suggesting you carry ALL the responsibility. After all, you are the only AHAB member to put info here, but with all the time you spend posting here, perhaps YOU could have been informative, and YOU could have but the brakes on the decision until the public was adequately informed.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 10, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

  25. Holy smokes … David Kirwin is right!

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 10, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  26. In defense of Mark I., he did post information that the Del Monte project exterior would be coming before the HAB on Thursday.

    Also AAPS = Alameda Architectural Preservation Society, the most visible member is, of course, Christopher Buckley.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 10, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

  27. Thank you Lauren.

    How do the missions of AHAB & AAPS differ?

    And Lauren – How does one create links to city packets? I think if we had gotten more info, Mark’s post would not have slipped by w/o response.

    Comment by Dave Kirwin — August 10, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  28. “However, considering the authority that had given previous approval and the explanation of design given by the applicants preservation architects, the HAB granted approval.”

    The role of HAB is purely ADVISORY, as evidenced by their name and also by the fact that their “decision” (opinion) on the megaplex was largely ignored by the Planning Board and council. This limitation of HAB’s powers was written somewhere in the municipal code as far I remember but I can’t find it now, unless it’s changed. This does not mean David Kirwin is not correct in his expectations for better noticing. BUt this might be explained by the fact that they are probably well aware of their lack of real teeth in such matters.

    Comment by AD — August 10, 2008 @ 8:10 pm

  29. I do not know how to put #28 together with this line of post #17:
    “A very important point about design review on National Historic Monuments is that in Alameda, HAB has the final and only approval on exterior design, not the Planning Board or City Council. I do not know where responsibility would reside if we had not created the HAB.”

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 11, 2008 @ 5:56 am

  30. I’m not a member of AAPS so I don’t know what their mission is. AAPS is a non-profit (?, I’m not sure, Kevis B. would know)

    The HAB is a city board that is, I believe, largely advisory in scope, but from what I understand, when it comes to historical landmarks in Alameda, it is the only entity that is authorized to grant a certificate of approval for exterior work done on said landmarks. I don’t know how much leeway they are given though if the Federal Government has signed off on an exterior project though (as would appear to be case here).

    As for creating hyperlinks, you can simply paste the URL into the comment box and it will automatically turn into a hyperlink. Or if you want to get fancy, basic HTML code can be used to do things like bold, italic, etc…

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 11, 2008 @ 7:42 am

  31. Federal approval preempts everything else … that whacky Supremacy Clause strikes again :-)

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 11, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  32. Maybe the HAB member who posts here all the time would know the exact scope of his board’s authority and direct us to the language that describes it?

    Comment by AD — August 11, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  33. The HAB meetings seldom have much public attendance other than applicants, unless there is a neighbor who is freaked out by the possibility of construction. These people often make appeals which are wildly beyond our narrow purview which is basically to rule on the preservation of historic features. We are not even there to rule on final design review which is a staff decision, though we are allowed to use the design in our decision on demolition, which is what we are actually authorizing. We can’t consider the impact of construction noise as some neighbors would like.

    On this agenda item we had one neighbor who did not question the design but who spoke to say he was excited about something being developed which wouldn’t involve so many trucks trips as the previous use and said he was skeptical about the viability of the hotel but didn’t object to it.

    Barbara Kerr spoke in protest to the landscaping not conforming to the general plan, but we weren’t voting on that. Chris Buckley spoke that AAPS was concerned about the awning. Woody Minor simply said that the building was THE premier industrial building left on the island. The one member of the public who had come to the the previous meeting where Del Monte was discussed, left us a letter with concerns about the landscape and awning.

    I proposed asking for continuance based on the meeting at the Point, but in honesty didn’t feel there would have been but one additional speaker, though that person might have been compelling enough to have made some difference. No other persons contacted the board with comments or concerns after my original blog post. Perhaps that is because blogs are so ineffectual as tools for activism as Ani Demusheva suggested in her Sun editorial. I don’t think so.

    The HAB does not have much teeth, but it seems to be more than mere advisory capacity, especially in the odd case where the building is national historic structure. Our decisions can be appealed to and over turned by the Planning Board and City Council, which has happened since I’ve been there.

    It would be advantageous to meet with the other two members to review meetings but this project is ongoing and the Brown Act would be violated.

    I will reiterate that on local buildings our authority is to use the Secretary of Interior’s standards on historical buildings. If staff makes findings for a resolution we can vote with those findings and if we dissent we must explain our own findings.

    Here in lies the crux of our decision. This design came to us pre-approved by an authority from the Secretary of Interior’s office which is the source we would normally use to to dispute any proposal. “Catch-a 22″. Like I said, the second guessing crew can now go hog wild, but even though we were conflicted about our own finding we didn’t feel we had much choice.

    “Maybe the HAB member who posts here all the time would know the exact scope of his board’s authority and direct us to the language that describes it?” AD, you can’t make a simple request without sounding petulant and snotty can you? Maybe it’s just my jaded ears, but it seems the request was mostly for the purpose of being petulant and snotty.

    But the rules and authority of the board are described in section 10-2 of the Alameda Municipal Code. I’ll try to post a link for the Secretary of Interior’s standards.

    My original two blog posts on Del Monte were for the purpose of transparency and public involvement which is still my objective. It’s fitting that in Alameda and on a blog, the first response was an extraneous personal attack about vocabulary, that has little to do with the issue. Viva Alameda.

    Comment by Mark Irons — August 11, 2008 @ 10:32 am

  34. Where was the personal attack? Didn’t you write # 19?

    Comment by laquan white — August 11, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  35. “We are not even there to rule on final design review which is a staff decision”

    Design review is a staff decision? Please explain. I thought it was a Planning Board decision, sometimes advised by HAB.

    “Our decisions can be appealed to and over turned by the Planning Board and City Council, which has happened since I’ve been there.”

    Again, explain. Only a binding decision can be appealed. I don’t think HAB’s decisions are binding.

    “If staff makes findings for a resolution we can vote with those findings and if we dissent we must explain our own findings.”

    If you explain them, can you also enforce them?

    “Perhaps that is because blogs are so ineffectual as tools for activism as Ani Demusheva suggested in her Sun editorial.”

    Perhaps. Which is even more reason to do all the other things suggested in #24 above.

    “Maybe it’s just my jaded ears, but it seems the request was mostly for the purpose of being petulant and snotty.”

    It must be your jaded ears.

    “But the rules and authority of the board are described in section 10-2 of the Alameda Municipal Code.”

    Section 10-2 of the AMC has to do with driving permits.

    Comment by AD — August 11, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

  36. #30
    AAPS is a non-profit. The mission of the organization is expressed on the first page of the Web site at http://alameda-preservation.org/ : “Dedicated to the architectural preservation of historic structures in the City of Alameda”. So we are an advocacy organization for architectural preservation, founded in 1972 in reponse to the widespread tearing down of historic buildings to build tacky stucco apartment blocks. Christopher Buckley is the current president, and also chairs the political action committee.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 11, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

  37. AD if you want it right do the work yourself. try 2-10 this time.

    Comment by Mark Irons — August 12, 2008 @ 9:11 am

  38. Thanks, Mr Historic Advisor. Would your attitude be different if I were to address you at a televised public meeting?

    Comment by AD — August 12, 2008 @ 10:21 am

  39. Drove by the Del Monte building site today and they have removed a lot of the upper windows on both sides and are beginning work on the building. It is good something is this City that is planned and they are not going to talk about it for 10 years before starting.

    Comment by Joel — August 16, 2008 @ 6:03 pm


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