Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 28, 2008

ClifBar: None

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Business, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:41 am

Sadness, we can’t even get it together to lock in a sure thing.  ClifBar is apparently terminating their relationship with Catellus because things are moving too slowly for their timeline.  They had wanted to move in this year, and seemed willing to wait for a little bit longer after the whole instabilty of the pilings was discovered.  But clearly not too much longer.  

Looks like Alameda is going to lose what could have been a really great business.   Perhaps they will consider the other 2 million square feet of commercial space that is still up for grabs in Alameda, but from what it sounded like ClifBar didn’t want just any old business park environment, they wanted something that would fit in with their environmentally aware businesses practices. 

As it stands Alameda Landing is still just a twinkle in Catellus’s eye, I’ll basically believe that it exists when I start seeing some activity going on behind those chain link fences.


  1. I know everyone laughs at Emeryville. It’s over-developed etc.

    The facts are, first if you like your Alameda lifestyle no Emeryville wouldn’t be for you, it is very different and very urban. So it is good for the people who want it, just not us and I am not saying we do. I just want a town run as effectively as they are. Second, there is no denying that Emeryville is a city run to almost perfection if you like that kind of living/working. They know what they want and they align themselves to get it done. Example, a great corporate citizen resume and sales tax dollars captured. I want this for Alameda but I am too busy with the schools so if someone could get on the ball and fix all of our “brokeness” that would be great. You have my support as long as you vote to keep my schools going.

    Comment by Barbara M — February 28, 2008 @ 8:09 am

  2. This is disheartening. Feels like a foreclosure, of an opportunity at least. Makes you think about having all our eggs in one basket, a la the same developer at the Landing and the Point.

    Comment by Mark I — February 28, 2008 @ 8:12 am

  3. #1 Emeryville is a weird comparison for any town isn’t it? It’s always been hugely industrial with very few residents, and no real residential neighborhoods at all. Oakland has neighborhoods and industrial corridors. West Berkeley has a smattering of residences in what was largely industrial, like parts of our North shore. Emeryville is an anomaly.

    Comment by Mark I — February 28, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  4. I lived in Emeryville before we had kids and once our first was born for a little while. For a young couple it was great. We had a cool old house next to a bunch of live/work units. We used to walk to dinner and the movies all the time. There was a cool wine bar/restaurant less than a block from our house it was great.

    Of course, the style is very different but the way they deal with developers and not getting walked all over is something we can’t seem to do. They also saw a chance to capture sales tax dollars and great businesses and they did it. Their schools have pretty much the poorest of the poor yet they passed a good parcel tax with good support of business even though the tax was largely on them. The schools work a lot with the businesses and that was fostered through a city partnership with the schools.

    They wouldn’t have let what happened with Clifbar happen. I just want some innovation and real vision.

    Of course, like I said before…I am the lazy citizen saying it has to happen and doing nothing about it. Maybe after my kids are out of school but that is so far in the future…

    Comment by Barbara M — February 28, 2008 @ 9:33 am

  5. Emeryville school district along with Oakland was one of the 2 in AC who garnered a negative certification.

    Not a “family-based” community.

    Comment by David Kirwin — February 28, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  6. I didn’t say I would want my kids to go there. I am saying that the city works with the schools to their part.

    We moved here 11 years ago for the schools and community. I miss a well run city.

    Comment by Barbara M — February 28, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  7. Catellus stopped their first version of Alameda Landing because the commercial market went south at the time. This time time they were banking on the 300 houses, which have just gone south. We may have to wait until they can hit the right market at the right time.
    I agree with D.K. on his post #5 ” Emeryville is not a family based community”. Alameda is far less than perfect, but at least we are all arguing over how to make it that way. John P.

    Comment by john piziali — February 28, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  8. Barbara – I too feel unable to find the time to really help Alameda not get walked on by developers. It is frustrating to just ‘spout off’ here, but as long as I keep my eyes open I will say what I see.
    A lot of the differences between the way Alameda and Emeryville developed is all about location relative to the means of transportations

    ClifBar’s lawyer was at both the PB meetings & CC mtg when Alameda Landing was the main agenda item. Every time he spoke he re-asserted their plan to move to the landing was NOT a sure thing. As I sat there I was thinking that that whole ClifBar image thing was just part of the dog & pony show of pretty artist renderings and creative salespersonship of Catullus’s marketing firm. -A whole lot of marketing without real promise. I will admit they put on a good show. People loved the pretty pictures that danced in their heads. I too would have loved it if it was not going to cost us so damned much. No matter how bad a deal I think the agreements concerning the Landing are, it is sad to lose ClifBar as a part of Alameda. I believe most everybody would have embraced them as we embrace Peet’s. In fact honoring Peet’s is part of my daily ritual. ClifBar more recently was concerned about the way APT was limiting solar power rebates – I think CB wanted to have complete solar power to boost their marketing image, and APT’s method of calculating rebates and energy buy-back is less than enticing compared to the way PG&E does their solar energy buy-back and State required rebates.

    I also remember that the Alameda Landing deal was a big ‘rush’ to get it through PB/CC with very little time to examine the agreements – over 1,000 CC packet pages in a single meeting agenda! There was a lot more about the financing in those pages than was being reported in the newspaper or discussed on the dais. At this point I have to wonder if the ‘need to fast-track’ the agreements was slowed because the rush was simply posturing to avoid careful consideration of the agreements, or if Catellus slowed down to see what people like Helen Sause and JKW could do to take the edge off the density limiting MA. Last week’s Kofman Auditorium forum on MA showed there is really no interest in changing MA despite the years of talk and blather. The paper reported there were 50 -60 attendees. (in a room that holds almost 2,000.)

    Looks like at next week’s CC mtg they will be approving another $820,000. to improve traffic at 5th & Ralph A. Way. I wish I had those Landing agreements at my fingertips – I thought we weren’t going to spend more $ on traffic flow until near the end construction, and Catullus had made their improvements…

    Of course none of this is going to help our schools a bit. Catullus fought to reduce the developer fees mandated to go to AUSD, I think the City used $3M of our money to make up the difference between what Cat was supposed to pay AUSD and what they did pay (Actually AUSD is still waiting for some of the promised payment). It cost us a whole lot more than the developer’s contribution to build Ruby Bridges for their developments, and then we had to close some of our other neighborhood elementary schools to fill RB.
    Ruby Bridges was designed to be a K-8,(a 1st for AUSD), but with the lack of student population out there and the consolidating of K-5 schools. RB is a K-5 school for now. The 2nd largest K-5 behind Earhart. Perhaps the most interesting part of Ruby Bridges, the school not the person – is the giant periscope, and its view of the SF skyline. Although I was very much against it when I learned of it in the construction docs, I am drawn to it every time I am there. It’s amazing how many – students and teachers alike – don’t even know about it. For those of you who live near there or who have kids that play there, just go stand under the tallest piece of architecture in the school (probably the whole development) and look up. What do you see in those mirrors?

    Comment by David Kirwin — February 28, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

  9. #8 “Last week’s Kofman Auditorium forum on MA showed there is really no interest in changing MA despite the years of talk and blather.”

    O.K., if DK sez so! Even though there was no clear indication of that at all.

    At the previous Kofman event where 2000 people spent the day “testifying”, i.e. venting from a basis of there anecdotal experiences, there was also no clear “winner”. But the Measure A supporters who also resisted that event now claim it too have clearly indicated the citizens of Alameda strongly supporter Measure A, as is, no changes, ever, ever, ever.

    DK, for all your ability to retain endless facts and minutiae, how is it you can only ever come to one conclusion? (rhetorical)

    Comment by Mark I — February 29, 2008 @ 10:47 am

  10. I vote that we should all go out and have a few beers with each other. We sure seem to bicker on here a lot, but I bet we’re all really just laid back people in “real life”. If you don’t drink… have a shirly temple.

    Comment by edvard — February 29, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  11. The paper reported there were 50 -60 attendees at the MA forum. (in a room that holds almost 2,000.)

    Mark – does this somehow translate as a lot of public interest to you?

    Obviously the planners hoped for a much much larger crowd. The shear lack of interest IS an indication.

    What conclusion do you come to with these facts?

    Comment by Dave Kirwin — March 1, 2008 @ 12:43 am

  12. I went to several of the Alameda Landing meetings and Catellus insisted that we fast track the entitlement process so we don’t lose Cliff Bar.

    The community supported this project mainly because of Cliff Bar and the City made some concessions to Catellus so we don’t lose Cliff Bar. And now we have a not so great agreement in place but no Cliff Bar!

    Catellus has been chasing the market for several years trying to get this project right. First the change from office to retail, and now the office market is heating back up and they lose their anchor tenant. I still have yet to see their retail tenant list!

    I have great respect for Catellus -Prologis abilities as an industrial developer of distribution facilities (see the Prologis web site), but I have deep concerns about their ability to develop a mixed use water front development such as the caliber we are expecting.

    To prove they do, they need to replace Cliff Bar with a comparable anchor or one even better!

    Comment by Karen Bey — March 3, 2008 @ 7:54 am

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