Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 22, 2009

Off a ClifBar

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Alameda Neighbors, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:45 am

So, it’s final, Alameda is definitely not getting ClifBar.  At least for the next 15 years it won’t.   And where did ClifBar choose to locate more than 100K sq ft of business that we would like to see in Alameda? 

Emeryville.

Right at the corner of an intersection that includes retail, residential, and this large commercial/industrial space.   Of course, they could have moved out to Pleasanton or Livermore or some other suburban area where the land is cheap and plentiful, but they chose to relocate to someplace urban.   Just not Alameda.  

From the San Francisco Business Times:

…EmeryTech is a 225,000 square foot building that was originally a valve manufacturing plant. It has “distinctive Bauhaus architectural details that hearken back to the city’s industrial past.” Ellis Partners re-purposed the facility for mixed-use by adding atriums and soaring glass-filled ceilings to allow for energy-efficient natural light, as well as a fully redundant data center.

“Our business is built on five aspirations of sustainability—sustaining our people, business, brands, community and the planet,” said Clif Bar & Company founder and co-owner Gary Erickson. “Our new space is an exciting opportunity to extend all five of those visions.”

Improvements to the space will include a wellness center with state of the art fitness facilities, bike garage, hair salon, kitchen, full-time day-care facility, and theater for employee meetings and community events.

“Clif Bar has a global reputation for its responsible policies toward both its employees and the environment,” added Ellis. “We’ve collaborated closely with their team to ensure that this space not only fulfills their every need, but that it speaks to the values that make Clif Bar a leader in sustainable practices.”

So what is it about Alameda’s exisiting commercial space that simply does not appeal to the type of companies that I think we can all agree are desirable, like the ClifBars of the world.   Is it the lack of a “there” there?   Is it a lack of sufficient incentives for businesses?    What is obvious though is that however we move forward with Alameda Point, at least for the commercial/business space, modelling it after Harbor Bay Business Park or Marina Square probably won’t attract us the ClifBars of the future.

While we were able to lure Semifreddi away from Emeryville, the ClifBar coup may not be a big deal for Emeryville, but the loss is subtantial to Alameda.

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59 Comments

  1. I totally get the point you are trying to make, but Clif Bar was going to move to neither Harbor Bay nor Marina Village. They were going to locate to that happy mixed-use neighborhood called Alameda Landing, remember? The one that never got built?

    In other words, if some developers had kept their word, Clif Bar might have been here.

    http://alamedasun.com/index.php?Itemid=33&id=110&option=com_content&task=view

    Comment by AD — July 22, 2009 @ 7:35 am

  2. I think Cliff Bar would have had more invested in moving to Alameda than Emeryville, though I’m not certain. I do know they wanted to put a huge solar array on their building here, which would not have been built by Catellus. I heard they took a big hit on the peanut butter debacle. I wonder what their specific space needs were and why none of the vacancy at Marina Village would have been suitable.

    Comment by M.I. — July 22, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  3. If you were a successful international corporation would you want to have to deal with the freaks of Alameda when making business decisions? Absolutely not! Feel free to stay wrapped up in your little progressive cocoon of political correctness, but don’t expect that the rest of the world looks at our island and says … “ahhhh Utopia.” Unfortunately, I don’t see things changing here for at least one more generation. Until then, we will sadly continue to drive businesses and revenues away from the island while attracting unemployed transvestites looking for a free lunch and hug. We reap what we sow …

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 22, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  4. So who leaves Alameda first?

    JRT, in search of a land without unemployed transvestites?

    Or willy/edvard, in search of CA living at TN prices?

    Comment by dave — July 22, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  5. dave … apparently, it is the businesses who are leaving Alameda first. Good job Alameda!
    :-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 22, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  6. Only Cliff Bar knows the real reason they did not choose Alameda, but I believe it has to do with the vision that Catellus has for Alameda Landing. Catellus is more interested in developing a Super Target store at Alameda Landing than a Cliff Bar. Catellus/Prologis specializes in distribution facilities, and their idea of retail development is their retail power center at Pacific Commons in Fremont. Power retail centers usually have large format or big box retail stores like Lowes, Home Depot, and super stores like Target or Walmart.

    These type of large format retail stores are NOT compatible with a Cliff Bar campus. Cliff Bar is moving into a space that used to house an Andronicos which says alot about the demographics they are targeting. I question the demographics Catellus is targeting with a Super Target store?

    By allowing Catellus to develop a Super Target store at the Landing -we are allowing them to define our vision for Alameda. Once they put in a Super Target store as the anchor, the rest of the stores will go discount as well, and with so many discount stores in Alameda, Alameda will develop a “brand” for discount stores. Believe me — we do not want this brand! But we’re well on our way with two discount retail centers under development (Alameda Towne Centre and Alameda Landing), both waterfront sites I might add.

    Whats missing is a updated citywide retail strategy. We met early in the process before Alameda Landing and Alameda Towne Centre received all of their entitlements, but enlight of losing Cliff Bar I think we need to re-evaluate our retail strategy before developers define it for us.

    With the new Stargell extention and all the work being done to improve access to Alameda Landing, the value of this site has greatly improved. I ask the question — is a Super Target store the highest and best use for this waterfront site? I understand the need to attract Target to Alameda, but we are making a huge mistake by developing a retail power center at Alameda Landing and miss opportunities like Cliff Bar!

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 22, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  7. #6 To go along with this, it seems there’s a new frozen yogurt place on or near Park St every week.

    What’s up with that?

    Comment by RM — July 22, 2009 @ 10:47 am

  8. Yes, Karen! And, Emeryville doesn’t have any of those annoying big box stores like Home Depot, Best Buy, etc … or any of those pesky multi-use properties like Bay Street. Nor do they have much redevelopment and modernization of older run down industrial use buildings that would drive away businesses like Cliff Bar.

    Lol :-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 22, 2009 @ 10:49 am

  9. #6 & #7. “citywide retail strategy” — ain’t that what the Chamber of Commerce and them business associations are for?

    But I know I have said it in other threads–I think this could be why the cute models of shopping centers and progressive-green-mixed-use-villages haven’t worked out. The cookie cutter plans call for the “anchor” stores, but then the “services” never arrive to support that. Don’t it make sense that every shopping center / mixed use commercial should have on site recycling, postal or package place, cleaners, shoe repair? Instead, what happens is the yogurt shops and nail salons. If you got a pharmacy there, it is okay, but with out these other services, that means you gotta commute all over (whether it is by foot, bus, bike, car… whatever) to do your errands.

    I mean, hell, I like getting a manicure once in a while, but I ain’t in there every week! We must have more than 20 salons on the island!

    It does fill up storefronts, but does it help the city financially?

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — July 22, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  10. Emeryville has a lot of those old factory buildings which convert well to commercial space. Alameda doesn’t really have that (tho it does have the hangars for example, a type of space that isn’t readily available elsewhere). Emeryville also has the central location — and the traffic, which is more like TRAFFIC!! It’s horrendously bad.

    I think there’s a tradeoff here, in Alameda, that’s not always fully recognized — that people want (with good reason) to maintain a relatively quiet, peaceful community, but they also want business and development. The thing is, once you get that, Alameda is likely to turn into a place that you don’t want it to be. With all the traffic constraints here, “success” could lead to a total traffic mess in a hurry.

    Comment by dl morrison — July 22, 2009 @ 11:17 am

  11. PS: I thought Clif Bar left due to delays in construction here, which were due in turn to Catellus’s financial status. Yes, no?

    Comment by dl morrison — July 22, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  12. #10

    Initially, Catellus did talk about adaptive re-use of some of the navy warehouses and rebuilding the pier which is what appealed to Cliff Bar, but Catellus changed directions after they learned of the costs to rebuild the piers.

    As far as I know, Catellus is moving ahead with the development with the hopes of getting Target as an anchor. The Stargell extension and access improvement was the key to attracting a super Target and all of this is in currently in the works.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 22, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  13. Did someone write there was retail at South Shore? I see lots of paper in windows over there.

    Alameda has a bad rep for business. They ain’t comin’.

    Comment by Edmundo Delmundo — July 22, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  14. #6, “we’re well on our way with two discount retail centers under development (Alameda Towne Centre and Alameda Landing)…”

    Does Bridgeside also count as a discount retail center?

    (Nice to meet you on the 4th, Karen!)

    Comment by Susan Davis — July 22, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  15. Might this have anything to do with their decision to go with Emeryville?

    “The company was founded in 1992 in Emeryville, but has had its headquarters in Berkeley since 1996.”

    Comment by alameda — July 22, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  16. Hi Susan,

    I would characterize Bridgeside as a discount center. We certainly did not get the tenant mix we wanted and the waterfront restaurant we had hoped for. I think the timing was difficult for that development. They were competing with two larger retail developments in the pipeline (Alameda Town Centre and Alameda Landing). Looking back, it makes sense to complete one retail development before starting another. We can build on our success and learn from our mistakes much better.

    I am disappointed that all three sites are waterfront and not one of them is upscale. This is what I mean by “branding”.

    Nice to meet you too!

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 22, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  17. I was recently reminded that Disney wanted to build CA Adventure at the Point – Anypone remember why the PB/CC said “No” to them?

    Comment by dk — July 22, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  18. We live on an Island and look around the edges, do you see any kind of good development at our Water Front.

    We have a High School, a Middle School, and a Grammar School on water front property. The children have to cross major streets to get to those schools. Just think if the City had sold the water front property and built the Schools in the middle of those same neighborhoods.
    Bridge side, Towne Center, the post office are all on water front property and make no use of it.
    I’m sure that Alameda Landing will do the same, as they have continually changed plans until we now have a discount center proposed.
    I guess we are just not an upscale Town.

    Comment by John Piziali — July 22, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

  19. If someone should know: where are the customers for these projects generally supposed to come from? That is, from Alameda alone or from Alameda and Oakland?

    Comment by dl morrison — July 22, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  20. #19 — I’m wandering boldly into an area about which I know very little (but have strong opinions). Wouldn’t an upscale center draw from a wider area than Alameda and Oakland?

    E.g., look at 4th Street in Berkeley. Fabulous retail area. Always swarming with people. Are they all from Berkeley?

    Comment by Susan Davis — July 23, 2009 @ 6:10 am

  21. Historically, the only markets that swarm in Alameda are fleas.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 23, 2009 @ 8:55 am

  22. #6 “Whats missing is a updated citywide retail strategy. ”

    Karen, the economy has changed radically since the last study of leakage or retail balance but was the last one so long ago we need another? This is a hard nut to crack, but at some point we needed to tell Catellus to stick to plan A for the Landing in order not to lose Cliff Bar, not just throw it’s hands up over the pilings situation. What good is a study if there is not a clear vision and strategy which is followed.

    This is a tangent but the piling situation confuses me because early on when Catellus, Martin Group and Lincoln properties were vying for the development gig over there, the crummy state of that structure was talked about. Maybe it was that the structure atop the pilings was rotten but there was an assumption the pilings themselves were good for reuse?

    Comment by M.I. — July 23, 2009 @ 10:09 am

  23. #22

    I agree the economy has radically changed which is why I think we need to re-evaluate our retail strategy. Does it make sense to start a brand new discount retail center enlight of the fact that so many retailers are going out of business? And doesn’t it make sense to fill up Alameda Towne Centre first before starting a new regional shopping center?

    Also I do agree that we should not have allowed Catellus to change from the life style center they originally proposed to a retail power center which seems to be evolving now. The original vision for the two regional shopping centers in Alameda, was that one was supposed to be a life style center and the other one more discount. This was the thinking behind developing two regional shopping centers at the same time.

    Finally, enlight of losing Cliff Bar and with all the new access improvements to this site, we should take a second look at what is the highest and best use for this site? I just don’t believe it’s a second discount center anchored by a Super Target store.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 23, 2009 @ 10:54 am

  24. Karen, I’m not familiar with the term “life style center.” Is that another word for a more upscale shopping center? I’m assuming it doesn’t include, say, a car wash overlooking a two-mile stretch of beach along SF Bay.

    Comment by Susan Davis — July 23, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  25. Susan, and others who have been repeating this line about the car wash: What’s wrong with a car wash? Don’t people need to wash their cars? Why can’t you look at the beach while you are having your car washed? Why is eating an activity more worthy of a view than waiting for something (your car)? Would it be better if it was a bike wash? A pet wash? (The pet wash at Bridgeside overlooks the water.)

    This is one of the more interesting buildings at Southshore, and the business is doing great, by all visible signs. I will be sorry to see it replaced by the next run-of -the-mill construction that will see a succession of restaurants, none of them doing that great. It looks that the sentiments against the carwash are based solely on the anti-car tide and not much else—even though the vast majority of us both drive and wash our cars last I checked.

    Besides, it’s not even ON the water. Like everything else, it’s across a major street from the water. This is a limitation Southshore should just accept and move on.

    Comment by AD — July 23, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

  26. AD

    On the one hand, if the car wash is prospering and there is not a clearly more viable use for the site in this economic market, one might wonder why Towne Centre should be in a hurry to rip it down and replace it.

    On the other hand, if there were no post office, court house, McDonald’s or car wash, why would you not think it better to have a series of uses which are clearly enhanced by views, like restaurants? Yes it is better to save the view for such a use than waste it on a car wash where people are preoccupied with their car being washed and mostly ignore the bay. To me that is a big fat “duh!”

    If there were a row of utility poles on shore line obscuring the view of the bay from the car wash you would no doubt be raving about them. Your views and opinions seem rather arbitrary sometimes. I’m inclined to think you are simply a contrarian.

    Comment by M.I. — July 23, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  27. If there was a row of utility poles on the shore, I’d be asking that utilities be put underground and more trees planted.

    I do not separate human activities into upscale and downscale. People who do “downscale” activities, like washing cars, deserve as much of a pleasant environment as those who can afford $40 dollar entrees.

    In that line of reasoning, I was not against the Planning Department being house in the Carnegie. There’s nothing wrong with ordinary things, like processing permits, being done in extraordinary or special places. Beauty humanizes people, even bureaucrats.

    Comment by AD — July 23, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  28. #26
    “Your views and opinions seem rather arbitrary sometimes. I’m inclined to think you are simply a contrarian.”

    Counter to what? Why is it that everyone in this town who does not immediately agree with Beverly Johnson is somehow considered non-normal and “contrarian?”
    Are we all supposed to drive to Oakland to go to a car wash because admitting that our cars get dirty is somehow inappropriate like passing gas in public?
    Is it that in Alameda our shit does not stink because we all take a crap elsewhere? It reminds me of the Leave It To Beaver episodes where a toilet was never shown on television.

    http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/firsttoilet.asp

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 23, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

  29. If you get your car washed by someone else, I wouldn’t necessarily consider that downscale. $20 – 40 for a car wash?

    Besides, Follow Charlie has much better Yelp reviews than the South Shore Car Wash.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 23, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

  30. #29
    “If you get your car washed by someone else, I wouldn’t necessarily consider that downscale. $20 – 40 for a car wash?”

    Is it the price or the act?

    http://www.myredbook.com/

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 23, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

  31. Ack! NSFW!

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 24, 2009 @ 7:23 am

  32. The reason we have car washes, nail salons, yogurt shops, fast sushi, cash checking places, liquor stores and fast food restaurants in Alameda is because people shop there. It is free enterprise. It isn’t a perfect system, but it beats the government determining who can open shop and who can’t.

    Alamedans want these type of businesses and they support those businesses by patronizing them. If we want a different mixture of businesses, then we’ll need a different mixture of residents. Perhaps that is what some want. If we could replace our current crop of Alamedans with a less downscale lot, then Olive Gardens and wine bars would open on every corner. The nasty bits of life would be driven through the tubes and over the bridges where they belong.

    I’m sorry that the rest of us our not living up to the standards of the Alameda Glitterati. You’ll just have to learn to put up with us bumpkins. We do provide you with ample material for lampooning, so perhaps you’ll have to satisfy yourself with that.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 24, 2009 @ 8:29 am

  33. AD- O.K. I have to relent, because your response about Carnegie is consistent not contrarian and I don’t think I want to be a contrarian. Though Carnegie plan was largely about a use which was supposed to pay for itself, was practical in terms of proximity to existing City Hall and getting City Hall West reintegrated. The permit center use is not related to an external line of site. I guess in the minds of many a museum is a better use for a historic building, so City Hall should be a museum?

    28. How many gas stations and car washes line the great Highway at Ocean Beach? I’m not being an architecture snob, but I find AD’s defense of the car wash building being one of the “most interesting” at south shore to laughable. Everything is relative. The car wash at bridge side is not at the edge of the estuary and there is also the coin-op wash, so no need to go to Oakland.

    Both our vehicles are generally filthy.

    Comment by M.I. — July 24, 2009 @ 9:44 am

  34. FYI- From Wednesday Forum on KQED, topic: The Decline of Shopping Malls

    http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R907221000

    Comment by M.I. — July 24, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  35. Shoreline & Great HW are apples/oranges.

    While almost any water view is desirable, the vista from Shoreline is mediocre by Bay Area standards. We live in a beautiful are with many great views, such as Great Hwy, but the view of a scrubby, bland beach over a wide mudflat just isn’t all that in these parts. Restaurants that feature water views tend to have much betters ones.

    And a word about nail salons in particular: they are cheap to open. That kind of business attracts entrepreneurs, often immigrants, who have the drive to own their own business but have limited startup capital. There is nothing wrong — and a whole lot right — with that.

    Comment by dave — July 24, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  36. Susan,

    Yes, a lifestyle center is more upscale. The ICSC publishes a list of shopping center definitions that describe a life style center in more detail. Some examples of life style centers are: The Streets of Brentwood in Brentwood, The Fountains at Roseville, in Sacramento, and the proposed World Oil development in Bakersfield called Bakersfield Commons.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 24, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  37. #25 and #27, Sure, people who wash cars deserve nice views. But my dislike of a seaside car wash isn’t based on “anti-car” sentiments.

    Instead, the reason I don’t think a car wash is a suitable business for a shoreline location is that a car wash neither benefits from nor enhances that view. I.e., you can put a car wash anywhere.

    In my mind, what’s appropriate for a shoreline location is a business that meets the needs of visitors actually using the shoreline — think snack bars, coffee shops, retail establishments catering to windsurfing and other recreational uses, and, yes, restaurants.

    As I recall, AD, you also decried the idea of moving the muffler/body repair shops away from the foot of Park Street (which is a primary entrance to our city), because, to paraphrase, people need to get their cars fixed. Perhaps we have a different sense of aesthetics.

    Comment by Susan Davis — July 24, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  38. I have looked for some roundabout way to say this, but whatever: the nearest communities — Oakland neighborhoods I should say — are not high income and are not likely to provide shoppers for an “upscale” shopping center. Alameda has a fair share of well-heeled residents, but it’s not enough people to support high-end stores. I think the focus on upscale shopping here is probably not realistic.

    Anyway, people in the area generally think of Alameda as a nice place but not as a destination, and getting here is not that easy, at least not compared to a straight shot off the freeway. In fact, it kind of struck me funny when I first moved here, that it seemed much easier to leave than to get back — like “go away and stay away”.

    Comment by DL Morrison — July 24, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  39. #38

    There are several areas in Oakland with high incomes: Piedmont, Rockridge, Montclair, Clarewood, Redwood Heights, Skyline, and more. I’m sure these demographics would love not to have to travel to Walnut Creek or San Francisco to shop.

    Having a lifestyle center in Alameda will provide a variety of different shopping experiences and target a wider demographics than just the discounters. Its good to have both.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 24, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  40. #31– What does NSFW mean???

    Comment by Joe — July 24, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

  41. #40 NSFW

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nsfw

    At first I thought that it was one of those sex worker acronyms from the site I had posted, but it turns out otherwise. Actually, one would have to dig down a few levels to find anything explicit on that site.

    Every profession and every social subgroup has its own vocabulary and its own acronyms.

    BTW, I’m an AK. Can you guess which AK I am from the ones listed here?

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ak

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 24, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  42. It was NSFW in that, I didn’t think that most employers would necessarily be thrilled with visits to an…um…”escort” site.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 25, 2009 @ 7:03 am

  43. Susan,

    Sure a car wash benefits from a nice view—between a car wash on the rundown end of town and one near a nice beach, most customers would probably choose the second. Whether it “enhances” the beach is completely arbitrary–-in addition to that building being unusual and interesting IMO, it enhances the variety of businesses, which is what the famous phrase “mixed use” is about. It also serves the people close by who would otherwise add to the already long lines at Bridgeside and Follow Charlie.

    I was opposed to moving the auto repair shops at the foot of park Street not because of their special aesthetics but because they are established, viable, and useful businesses. You don’t just pluck an establish business and drop it somewhere else thinking it would be just fine. If an area can be made to look nice without destroying the existing businesses, I’m all for it. I’m not for creating lots of nice storefronts with lots of for lease signs on them. Industrial parts of Berkeley and Emeryville have done much of the first. Vibrancy is built on things already there; food places have arrived to supplement business, not anchor it.

    Comment by AD — July 25, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  44. # 41…Offhand, since by acclimation #18 is more or less reserved for JRT or myself, I’d guess # 29.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 25, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  45. “I guess we are just not an upscale Town.”

    The first true words Pizzaalley has ever spoken.

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 25, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  46. Jeff,

    When I was thinking of upscale your name certainly did not come to mind.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 25, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  47. No Karen … I am sure you were only referring to your black friends.

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 25, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  48. dave,

    A better debunking of my invoking Great Highway comparison, for the car wash use at least, would be that the salt air and sand blasting winds make it a lousy location.

    To me it’s not about the majesty of the great Pacific Ocean versus the lapping bay front, it is about access to whatever natural amenity one has. Further, the GH may have waves and sunsets, but I have watched lots of great sky, clouds and weather pass over the primordial silhouette of the San Bruno and Santa Cruz mountains to the south. Minus a few radio towers, that is the same silhouette viewed by the original inhabitants of our peninsula. To me that’s kind of awesome to contemplate.

    Comment by M.I. — July 25, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  49. #44

    We have a winner!

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 25, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

  50. #43, “Whether [the car wash] “enhances” the beach is completely arbitrary…”

    I disagree. The most prominent geographical feature of Alameda is that it is on an island. As such, our shorelines — and how attractive they are — are important.

    I do agree that mixed use is good. But the foot of Park Street is not West Berkeley (an area I love, by the way). It’s the gateway to our city, one already visibly demarcated by a bridge. I think that area could be more attractive, more welcoming, more “vibrant,” as you say.

    Comment by Susan Davis — July 25, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  51. Hmm. My fancy italics did not work there. Just the word “bridge” was supposed to be emphasized.

    Comment by Susan Davis — July 25, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

  52. Susan I agree. I think in the North of Lincoln Strategic Plan, there is a lovely gateway proposed.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 25, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  53. “Lovely” gateway? At the risk of being labeled contrarian again, I’d call it boring! Who needs another structure (an arch of all things) to mark the entrance to an island? We have the most unusual gateways into the city: dramatic bridges and a tunnel! Coming here is almost as adventurous as going into San Francisco. Maybe you’ve forgotten because you cross them daily but people who visit, notice. Most people would laugh at the idea of placing an arch at the end of the Bay Bridge: “If you haven’t noticed yet, this is San Francisco.”
    Alameda is not the Laurel where without an arch you wouldn’t know the difference along Macarthur. Why are people so unable to see the unusual features of this place and highlight THEM instead of copying every blah thing they come across elsewhere?

    The Webster Street entrance has so much possibility. There is all this empty space to do wonders with as you exit the tunnel but the landscaping that’s approved is nothing better than the typical generic suburban off-the-shelf boilerplate. Why not plant an aok forest there instead—what a dramatic statement that would be—in just a few years! Alameda used to be covered in live oak, and live oak is not even on the Master Tree Plan anymore. What about a mural on the tunnel walls as you come in? What about 3D art that highlights special people and moments in Alameda History? Where is the creative spark for all these entrances that are so important? Why wasn’t there a design competition? Is it too late to do better, again?

    Comment by AD — July 25, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  54. Post # 45 “Jeff the Racist Troll” if you were saying that you agree with me, I would rather be drowned in the Sea Plane Lagoon and be eaten by those crazy Geese than ever be associated with anything having to do with you.
    If you had any Black friends and they knew that you made the type of posts that you make on this site,,, wait its obvious you don’t have any Black friends because you are a very, very sick Racist

    Comment by John Piziali — July 25, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  55. I can’t say how much it factored into ClifBar’s decision but I do know there was an issue with the solar power system they wanted to install.

    In Alameda in order to get the full rebate on a solar power system you have to agree to give the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated by the production of electricity to Alameda Power. While most homeowners don’t know or care about this it is a big deal to a business. Without ownership of the RECs you can’t advertise that your business is solar powered. I know this was an issue for ClifBar since they brought it up at one of the public meetings Alameda Power had when they were rolling out their solar rebate program.

    To get your RECs in Alameda you either have to agree to a lower rebate amount or donate some of the power generated to the city. PG&E tried to implement the same system of keeping the RECs from solar systems installed in their area and the Public Utility Commission ruled against them. So in Emeryville ClifBar can install their solar system and take full advantage of it.

    Comment by Marvin — July 26, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  56. 55. I believe the target of the Cal REC program was 20 percent renewable (33% by 2020). Since AMP already procures 80+ percent from renewable sources, seems to me it makes sense to place restrictions on REC ownership for customers that would aready exceed the target renewable goal just by building in the AMP service area.

    Wouldn’t a rebate in this situation mean the rest of the AMP customers (who are already using renewable sources) are subsidizing a company for using renewable energy? Alameda exceeds State renewable energy standards by a huge percentage, why couldn’t CliffBar build on that fact by donating all their solar power back to the citizens?

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 26, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  57. An incidental fyi on West Berkeley (and 4th St): it’s zoned for manufacturer’s outlets. So it’s got lots of specialty stores of a somewhat upscale nature, but they’re not all that pricey. That’s a clever tactic really and it’s worked, at least there.

    Comment by DL Morrison — July 26, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

  58. Jack, you are on to something. Because the customer pool for growing the rebate fund is limited in Alameda compared to PG&E, AMP has less to dole out. The Cliff Bar proposal blind sided the City because their array was supposed to be so big it would have eaten damn near the entire rebate fund. The cruel irony is that they were coming from off island so they wouldn’t have contributed to the fund previously, but their system would have been so large they wouldn’t have bought enough electricity from AMP as customers to ever pay it back.

    In Alameda the rates are low enough that there is less incentive for solar on residences because they don’t pay for themselves at the rate they do in PG&E territory. The other lack of incentive is the high amount of green production dedicated to our system. In green building it is said that the decision to go solar is based on a moral choice more than other things like insulation which have immediate and real economic return.

    Off topic but related to “solar” for you green minded shoppers, if any of you are looking to have a new roof on your home with total tear off and new layer of plywood, ask the roofers to bid the job using OSB with radiate backing which will reflect sun’s radiation out of your attic and reflect furnace heat back into your home, just like those TV ads, only instead of a membrane rolled out in the attic it is built into the new roof. “Oriented Strand Board” is a plywood like product made of wood chips and glue, unlike plywood which is layers of rotary sawn veneers cut from a tree like peeling a roll of toilet paper. Big roof companies buy piles of plywood cheap, so the price bump may be significant, but buying retail regular osb is $9, radiant osb is $11 and ply is about $10.

    Comment by M.I. — July 26, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  59. Speculate about the reason why Cliff Bar went to Emeryville all you want … the bottom line is that Alameda is not a business friendly city. And, until that changes, we will continue to scare away every potential suitor. I mean COME ON PEOPLE!!! Cliff Bar was a “progressive” Alamedan’s wet dream … solar arrays, environmentally conscious mission statement, health food, shiny happy people … IT DOESN”T GET ANY MORE TREE HUGGIN’ GRANOLA LOVE FEST THAN THAT ALAMEDA!!!

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 26, 2009 @ 8:37 pm


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