Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 20, 2009

What’s old is new again

That’s right folks, Action Alameda…erm…Save Our City Alameda has put out their plan for the future of Alameda Point.   What they have essentially done was to write 20 or so some odd pages of lead in to someone else’s plan.   Whose plan you may ask, well one that the City commissioned a long, long, long time ago.  How long you might ask, I really don’t know.   Late 90s, maybe early 2000?   The “file” you will be asked to download literally contains those 20 pages of “hey this is what we think should be done and this is what is already out there.”  But the details are sadly lacking even though the point of this effort was, ostensibly, to provide the details. 

The details, however, if SOCA is willing to own the old “Alameda Science & Technology Center” plan, are in that text which is the remaining 100 + pages of the SOCA “plan.”   If you want a copy, email me and I’ll be happy to send it to you.   I’m trying to figure out a way to compress it since it is very very large.  

It’s interesting to note that in the SOCA written part, there is criticism of the SunCal plan for not doing its research on the transportation impacts, however, this plan that SOCA is currently touting has done very little research and/or feasabilities assessments.   How do I know this?   Because it’s in their next steps, at the very end of the document.   I don’t even know if this plan was vetted through any public groups since I can’t find a mention of it on the City archives, maybe someone who has been paying attention for a long time to Alameda Point can comment.

Also interesting to note is the constant harping that the SunCal plan is “housing-centric” without acknowledging that housing is a big part of many of the development “concepts” in the plan.   Including the “digital island” (p. 126 on the reader) where Alameda Landing is proposed to be which is a “center of 24 hour a day digitally-enabled thought and commerce with all the features and functions of a community, including commercial, residential, cultural, individual lifestyles.”   As well as the “Alamedia” village (p. 121 on the reader) which would combine a theme park with film and video and housing.   Hmm, where have I heard of that before?   In the “Alamedia concept” the northwest territory area would be the location of “multiuse structures (commercial-residential) in proximity to both working areas and vistas of the Bay and San Francisco…” as well as another portion set aside for an “artist community.”

Amazingly enough, for a group that warns about the dangers of tax increment financing, it is astonishing that they would be promoting a plan that calls for (p. 125 on the reader):

Alamedia and associated destination theme parks would be connected to San Francisco and San Francisco Airport by high-speed ferries operating 18 hours a day (possibly financed by a joint-venture with facilities capitialized through tax increment financing). [emphasis added]

So, SOCA is either putting 100% behind this plan — the” Alameda Science & Technology Center” — or they didn’t really present an alternate plan.   I wonder how the spokesperson will spin this.  

It’s clear that during the time this concept was written, either the backbone infrastructure of the base simply was not as bad as it is today, or the folks writing the concept didn’t have the  direction to include those in the costs.   Given the time that it was written which I think was late 90s (98? 99?) this was clearly riding the “dot com” wave of “technology for technology’s sake is super duper” and attempting to style Alameda Point as Silicon Valley North and prior to the dot com bubble burst.   Of course, markets are cyclical, so maybe there might be a demand for the type of project set forth in this concept plan, but the concept plan relies heavily on finding that elusive someone somewhere out there with deep pockets to find this valuable (government, educational institutions, big bio-tech corporations, etc…)

Additionally, it is to be noted that the SOCA plan brings up the idea that the proposed Veterans Administration facility should not be located in the Wildlife Refuge area, but rather sited somewhere within the larger Alameda Point footprint.   If SOCA had attende  the Democratic Club meeting where Peter Calthorpe and Pat Keliher presented the SunCal plan, rather than standing outside the door waving letters at people going into the hospital and complaining about not getting time to speak, they would have learned that SunCal is entirely supportive of that idea.   

In fact, Pat Keliher mentioned that he thought building the VA buildings out on the refuge would be infeasible due to the lack of infrastructure in that area and the cost to the VA to build the infrastructure.   And why wouldn’t SunCal be supportive of the VA Administration to be a part of the Alameda Point footprint?   It gives them a huge employer that probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.     A part of me thinks that SOCA came up with this, “well the VA can’t be around the refuge area, it needs to be on Alameda Point” as a way to throw a wrench into SunCal’s evil plans of worldAlameda domination, but in fact they are providing support for something that SunCal would probably like to see happen along with folks who think that the Least Tern deserve some peace and quiet on those runways.


  1. Now that California officially has the lowest bond rating in the country, seems like all of this discussion is a bit silly…

    They ain’t gonna do nuthin’ for nobody out there.

    If there is no money to grease the wheels, nothing will happen. So, fuhged about it, already.

    We can convert the downtown parking garage into a homeless shelter.

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — March 20, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  2. The plan has some noble ideas, but the basic fact, is even the current business at Alameda suffer because of a poor infrastructure.

    The phone system operated by AP&T/AMP because SBC/AT&T/PacBell did not want anything to do with it.

    The electrical has been upgraded from 4Kv to 12Kv, but the vault system and the feeder lines need to be updated. The water system also has issues.

    So no matter the project, a major infrastructure build will be required and that will take money, big money.

    I have not seen the current lease rates of the business that current rent, but it is my guess they are way below market. This is now way to propose a project. It needs to be comprehensive.

    The industries that are out at the point may not stay if rents were market, and to count on the film industry is not good. This industry moves at a drop of the hat. A what makes anyone think that High Tech is the way to go. Silicon Island failed to get going because companies were not interested.

    This proposed plan is just patch work. Given this plan, you might as well just line up bulldozers on main street and level the whole thing.

    Comment by John — March 20, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  3. SOCA is a bunch O’ tards … do we really care what they want to waste their time on? At least they aren’t lying in the middle of our streets like the war and Bart shooting protesters …


    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — March 21, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  4. Re #3: Dude, not helpful.

    Comment by david burton — March 21, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

  5. As projects grind to a halt, home sites turn to wasteland,0,4437021,full.story

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — March 22, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  6. I have yet to see a SOCA/Action Alameda proposal for anything–Alameda Point included–that stands up well against the other alternatives available. The numbers just do not seem to add up very well. SunCal, on the other hand, seems to have finally put together a very green and zero-waste ethic design with very pragmatic business projections.

    I did not favor SunCal’s choice as the replacement master developer, but have been impressed with their grasp of the complexities of the land use, transportation, and economic issues at play at AP.

    Now if the Navy and the VA would just stop pretending that Bush was still president and actually give Alameda a decent break, we might actually get somewhere.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 22, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

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