Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 14, 2007

Where? The Warehouses!

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Northern Waterfront — Lauren Do @ 7:07 am

Monday, I popped in to the Community Meeting held by Encinal Real Estate to present development plans for Peter Wang’s very ambitious project.   I was surprised to see how many people actually made it out and I arrived closer toward the end of the event.   The event was staged very similarly to the ones for Alameda Landing with huge posterboard of designs and plans and the ability for folks to place stickies on the board with comments about the plans.   The first one I looked at had a few Post-Its (you’ll forgive me if I use the trademarked term without adding a trademark sign, won’t you?) on it and the woman standing next to me said, “They all say the same thing.”  Sure enough, she was right, I was standing in front of the plan that had information about bikes and bike lanes and all of the Post-Its on the board said something along the lines of no Class I bike trail around estuary.  Which was a very valid point, after all accessibility to the estuary for the general public will be the highlight of projects such as this, so it should be accessible for bikers too.

Another board had some Post-Its regarding the frontage that lined Buena Vista avenue, across from Littlejohn Park basically saying that the designers should do something to break up the row of parking that is planned to run along Buena Vista.   Which is a valid point as well.  

Excerpt from the Alameda Sun article:

…The Del Monte building, an iconic red-brick structure across from Littlejohn Park that stretches down to Entrance Road, is being billed as a the future home of a four-star, 180-room hotel and adjacent 56,000-square-foot marketplace. The historic building is slated for remodeling under the first of four phases which would all be complete in about 10 years.

Later, about 150 single-family homes would be built on a large tract of land that juts out into the Estuary flanked by the Alaska Basin to the west and Fortmann Marina to the east. Plans call for separating the homes with lagoons similar to those on Bay Farm Island and off Otis Drive. Currently the property has stacked shipping containers.

During the last two phases of the proposed project, Encinal Real Estate will build 86 work-live units in the Chipman warehouse, a large, nondescript building on Buena Vista Avenue east of the Del Monte building. The warehouse now is used for storage. The area would be set up for 12,000 square feet of retail, and behind the warehouse, 25 single-family homes would be built as an extension of nearby Marina Cove, an extant 83-home development.

In addition, during the last phase of development, a 200-room assisted-living facility is proposed for just south of Encinal Terminals and 10,000 square feet of more retail space would be built.

In line with the city’s plan for the area, Clement Avenue would be extended through the development from Grand Street to Atlantic Avenue…

And of course, what would an issue on the Northern Waterfront be without Barbara Kerr’s $0.02 (I saw her at the meeting too), from ADN:

More Live-Work Dwelling Units?


There is much to be discussed about the presentation of Peter Wang’s preliminary plans for the north waterfront at the O’Club Monday night. The item that caught my attention the most was his plan to turn the Chipman Warehouse into work/live. For those who don’t know the area, that is the building with corrugated metal siding between the Marina Cove homes and the red brick building.

It is listed to contain work/live lofts, parking, and neighborhood retail. The work/live ordinance was specifically passed to save historically significant buildings. Does this ten-year-old building with the son-of-Quonset-hut design fall into that category?

Peter has never built anything in Alameda, so maybe this is a bad dream.

Barbara Kerr

I know that this is only a taste of what Barbara K. has to say about the project, so I will wait for the full commentary on her website.  The corrugated metal doesn’t bother me, I actually like the look, but I have always felt that work/live (or live-work as titled by Don Roberts) tends to be abused by developers quite often, Janet Koike the shining exception.   If it is built to be work/live then the living should be entirely secondary to the use of the project. 

Here is the only handout distributed at the meeting, it’s a little blurry but you get the gist.  

And a special tip o’ the hat goes out to Stefani Leto whose Letter to the Editor in the Alameda Journal nearly made me spit up my coffee (in a good way):

Pat Bail’s remarks in the Sept. 4 Alameda Journal about John Knox White suggest that long-term residency in Alameda might cause deep and lasting bitterness. I’ve been here six years, and I’m not feeling that bitter, so I don’t find these “carpetbaggers” the threat she does. She clearly doesn’t understand his influence in local politics, as “he’s [only] been in town five years.”

Did I miss a change in the city charter allocating influence with a length-based residency formula?

Well, perhaps Alameda has finally grown past “Who’s your daddy?” as a shibboleth. I am proud to live in a small city that is unafraid to contemplate change while also cherishing its historic legacy.

The idea that length of residency provides some special insight into what are fairly common change-related city issues can be tragically myopic. Valuing a person’s competence and intelligence without regard to time on the ground seems to be a sign that this little town is growing up well.

I placed in bold the line that nearly shot coffee up my nose.   Don’t forget this weekend is the Peanut Butter Jam on the West End, free bike parking courtsey of BikeAlameda.



  1. I also stopped by the showcase on Monday. I liked the plans shown, the efforts to preserve the warehouse, and even the work/live. The bike path comments were valid, but if that is what is getting the most frenzy, then that is fairly easy to fix.

    Barbara was also on a rant about “no cobra lighting” Immediately after she wrote that on one panel, one of her “minions” (everybody should have minions) ran up and wrote the same thing. I don’t even know what cobra lighting is, but it must not be good, and if a marketing guy actually came up with that name, I’ll bet they aren’t in marketing anymore.

    Didn’t Peter Wang build the Marina center? It may not be an award winning development, but I believe he has built something in Alameda. I guess if it is not something that Barbara likes, it doesn’t count.

    Comment by notadave — September 14, 2007 @ 8:02 am

  2. Lauren,

    Oakland has had some premier live/work buildings developed by real artists like Peter Volkus, and occupied by real artists, i.e. the Dutch Boy Paint factory on San Leandro Blvd and more recently the Vulcan Foundry along the same stretch. Also the Ford street building near the foot of Park St. bridge.

    Janet Koike has told how she lived in a couple of these buildings in West Oakland in years past which has been part of her driving inspiration.

    The major abuse of the concept has took place in S.F. when Willy Brown was mayor and I believe the Residential Builders Association is the name of the group that essentially conspired to end run the system and turn much of South of Market into “lifestyle lofts”. None of the loft condos near Jack London and opposite our north shore are built under Oakland’s live/work ordinance to my knowledge.

    Alameda’s work/live ordinance is very restrictive and I am amazed at what Janet was able to do in terms of functionality, under our ordinance. The ordinance needs to be refined. Peter Wang may even have found a loop hole in that there is no reference to dates regarding rehab of older buildings, though not having read the ordinance lately I can’t recall if it says “historic”.

    Measure A supporters who are opposed to work/live because “Alameda doesn’t need that stuff”, need to take a tour of some of Oakland’s live/work spaces to get a clue of the possibilities. Some of the spaces in buildings like 4401 San Leandro are in part enclaves of young people living a sort of bohemian existence, as opposed to functioning live/work (OOH-MY!!), but there are plenty of legitimate examples.

    Comment by Mark — September 14, 2007 @ 8:08 am

  3. As one who missed the meeting, I’d be curious if anyone can explain the 150-200 Single Family homes perched (crammed?) at the end of Encinal Terminal surrounding the proposed park?

    Comment by johnknoxwhite — September 14, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  4. I think she was talking about “cobra-head” lighting. So named because it looks, well, like a cobra’s head.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 14, 2007 @ 8:52 am

  5. There are plenty of live-work lofts in the Jack London District – pretty much everything built pre-200 was live-work, and the ground floors of many of the more recent buildings are too (in lieu of putting in actual retail).

    Comment by Moschops — September 14, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  6. oops, I meant pre-2000 of course.

    Comment by Moschops — September 14, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  7. Moschops,

    I know there were (are?) a couple buildings like American Handbag near the produce district which had stuff happening before all the new buildings, but I didn’t think any of the brand new buildings were built under Oakland’s live/work ordinance, even though the design style are “lofts”.

    I’ve never been any of the new buildings but keep meaning to do so.

    Comment by Mark — September 15, 2007 @ 11:40 am

  8. John, the drawings they had had the homes taking up pretty much all of the terminal site with waterways running between the rows of housing, a la venice beach. It was a little confusing, but apparently a chunk of land in the middle of the terminal that is tidelands trust. The developer plans on swapping some of that land for the waterfront land, which would stay as parkland. Kind of the same concept they are trying to do at Alameda Point. If that land swap doesn’t occur then I think they would have to reconfigure the housing around open or park space.

    Comment by notadave — September 15, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

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