Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 7, 2011

Stiff competition

Friday was the deadline for the Lawrence Berkeley Labs proposal, in case some of you haven’t been following the coverage.  It appears that Alameda’s competition includes more than just cities putting in applications, private developers have also submitted applications to woo LBL to their particular sites.

As everyone has been pointing out, Point Richmond is probably the biggest competition for everyone given that LBL already owns property out there that would accommodate the needs of a second campus, but the downside is that it’s Richmond.

According to Berkeleyside, there are no less than three Berkeley sites, all proposed by private developers, to bring LBL there:

  • A 12.5-acre parcel off Bolivar Drive near Aquatic Park. Michael and Steven Goldin, co-owners of Swerve, a modern furniture manufacturer, and the Jones family, who owns the land that once held American Soil, are joining their properties together for the proposal. This is raw land, so laboratory facilities would have to be constructed.
  • Wareham Development already leases hundreds of thousands of square feet of space to Berkeley Lab, including the Berkeley West Biocenter on Potter Street. Wareham is expected to offer a Berkeley-based proposal, an Emeryville-only based proposal and a joint Berkeley-Emeryville proposal with properties scattered around the region, according to knowledgeable sources.
  • A 30-acre parcel adjacent to Golden Gate Fields. The Canadian owner of the horse race track, now called MID, has been trying to develop land adjacent to the track for years. Now the company will offer the land, which straddles both Berkeley and Albany, to Berkeley Lab.

Oakland has put out bids as well for several sites, according to the San Francisco Business Times:

such as a portion of Signature Properties’ Oak to Ninth development on the Oakland Estuary, land owned by LBA Realty around the Zhone Technologies campus near Oakland International Airport and Swig Co.’s Kaiser Center, an office and retail complex near Lake Merritt.

The East Bay Express reported that one other site in Oakland was:

KS Properties One, LLC proposed a campus in West Oakland where the Mandela Grand Project has been planned near the West Oakland Bart Station

The City of Dublin is also offering a site, but is much farther than the 25 minute commute requested by LBL.   Ironically, it’s SunCal that has put in the application for the Army base that will be transferred to them by the City of Dublin.   It would be kind of sucky if we were to lose out to Dublin and SunCal.

The short list isn’t to be decided until mid-April.   If I were a betting person I would guess that the Oakland sites would be highly desirable.  Particularly the Oak to Ninth parcels and possibly the West Oakland one.   The problem with Oakland (and Richmond has the same problem) is the perception of high crime, and one of the elements that LBL wanted was a safe community for its employees.

Conveniently, The Old House Magazine featured the West End as a “Best Old House” neighborhood.  So LBL proposal reviewers!  In case you missed it, highlights:

…the area’s West End is now getting the attention. The former home of a massive Naval Air Station, the west side’s fortunes changed in 1997, when the U.S. Navy packed its bags, leaving behind enormous hangers. Before long, a new generation of enterprising Californians started to arrive, converting the cavernous spaces into film studios, fitness centers, wineries—even an absinthe distillery…”It’s funky, it’s edgy, and it’s family friendly,” says Kathy Ledner Moehring, a transplanted New Yorker who bought a 1912 Craftsman bungalow here eight years ago. Kathy, executive director of the West Alameda Business Association, notes that good schools and a low crime rate, plus dozens of restaurants and businesses, new and old, make Alameda a perfect family place.

And finally this is Alameda’s proposal.  Enjoy the reading.

Oh, and vote Yes on Measure A!


  1. Some island residents also are fearful that a new three-member majority on the city council is making a power play to seize greater control of the city, and undercut Alameda’s strong-city-manager form of government. They point to the recent 3-2 closed-door vote to put Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant on paid administrative leave and not renew her contract. Critics note that the three-member majority, made up of new Mayor Marie Gilmore, new City Councilman Rob Bonta, and longtime Councilwoman Lena Tam, appeared to be so intent on getting rid of Gallant that the trio found a way around a city law that prohibits new council members, such as Bonta, from voting to fire the city manager.

    Comment by Dr.Poodlesmurf — March 7, 2011 @ 8:27 am

  2. 1. Huh?

    Back to the topic, if you are on Facebook and want to help the effort to bring the Lab here, please go to “Alameda Loves the Lab”, click like and leave a positive comment. The Lawrence Berkeley Lab folks are especially keen to land where the natives are welcoming.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — March 7, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  3. I am a relative agnostic about the Alameda’s proposal to bring the LBL to Alameda, but I will not be unhappy if Alameda wins this prize.But looking at the number of competing proposals I would not count any chickens just yet, either….

    We have not yet come up with a satisfactory post-SunCal plan for all of AP. (I still favor a Calthorpe-style transit-oriented development with a fairly significant mixed-density housing component of 3000-4000 “green” residences.)

    We need a blueprint for a;; of AP, IMHO, before we carve it up and start building or tearing down anything piecemeal. And we need to proceed as if we will NOT get LBL and not get distracted by this partial solution that may – or may not – materialize.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 7, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  4. It seems like they will be making a decision fairly soon, so I doubt it will have any impact on future possible plans. I suspect they pretty much know what they want to do already. If we’re short listed, we can get a little more excited.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — March 7, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  5. I don’t see either the Oak to Ninth site or the Mandela Grand location as competitive, given the criteria LBNL outlined in their RFQ. The RFQ’s list of desired site attributes includes the following:

    – “The second campus should be located in a safe community to ensure that employees, visitors, and guests are safe when coming to/returning home from work”
    – “The site should be proximate to either existing or planned restaurants and cafes which offer a range in price and food types, preferably within walking distance.”
    – “The site should require minimal or no environmental remediation or have a funded plan approved to address remediation.”
    – “The site…should not be located in areas where there is the risk of flooding caused by storm-related events, potential dam failure, or coastal hazards (including sea water rise) that cannot be mitigated at a reasonable expense.”
    – “The site should have minimal occurrence of highly-compressible ground surface conditions (e.g. areas known or considered prone to liquefaction).”

    While I’m sure they are willing to allow flexibility on some of the aspects of their list, both Mandela Grand and Oak to Ninth seem to fail on too many of the criteria to merit consideration. I would guess that the most competitive Oakland site would be the SWIG development at the Kaiser Center in downtown Oakland.

    Comment by V Smoothe — March 7, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  6. Overall, the Grand Mandela is the best location for the Lab. Great transportation links, adjacent to all types of food venues, relatively close to Berkeley and in an area of vibrant growth. I vote for it.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 7, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  7. I hope that Alameda voters will consider the accuracy of the information provided by AUSD
    ( and by both sides of the Measure A debate when making their decisions on the replacement parcel tax.

    Overall, the information provided by AUSD and by Alameda SOS ( has been far more reliable, far more accurate, and far less hysterically presented than the opposition’s. And read the list of community organizations and citizens who have examined and supported Measure A, too (
    Objective press reports like this by the Island News ( also bear out the lack of accuracy by opponents of Measure A, who have also done their best to frustrate an informed public discussion sponsored by neutral parties such as the League of Women Voters of Alameda:

    The most reliable and accurate studies on the subject show that AUSD is efficiently administered and provides an excellent education to Alameda’s public school students despite being underfunded. Please support Measure A to minimize further cuts to our public schools.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 7, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  8. 7: This is a response to Lauren’s last sentence this morning. It is meant to be a reminder of the “truthiness quotient” in the Measure A election, which is an important matter to this voter and others. Thanks for your forbearance.(Now, back to our topic du jour…)

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 7, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  9. 6. Sorry, no vote for you. Damn, Jack. Our honeymoon is over. And here I was all ready to show up at Pasta Pelican for wine boarding!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — March 7, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  10. The City did a great job putting this together. I think we have a good chance of being short listed and selected!

    Comment by Karen Bey — March 7, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  11. So you don’t think Kate’s going to pose my question to Russo, either? Since she hasn’t even had the common courtesy of a response, even by saying no, I think you’re right.

    My vote on the Lab means nothing so I’ll probably be alone and bored at the wine boarding.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 7, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  12. FYI: Point Richmond is NOT Richmond. Point Richmond is a lovely community w/historic buildings.
    If you’re voting yes on A, you must be oblivious to the NEXT special expensive election parcel tax to fund the EMS Alameda forgot about. Mail-in ballots come out in May for the June 2011 election.
    10: Overconfidence is a jinx.
    CM Selection:will someone tell me why Bonta’s selection for community stakeholder is the leader of OAKLAND Chamber of Commerce & Chinatown? Uh, Rob, you’re vice-mayor of Alameda. It’s not a part of Oakland!

    Comment by notmayberry — March 7, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

  13. 12: Carl Chan lives in Alameda and apparently works both here and in Oakland as a realtor. He is politically astute, a very nice guy, and a committed advocate for minority communities. What is wrong with those Alameda bona fides?

    And being familiar with Oakland’s issues and perspectives is hardly a handicap, either, especially considering that:

    a) Oakland is not going anywhere, and will always be
    closely involved with Alameda’s future, and

    b) John Russo is one of the three finalists, and he is not as well known to Alamedans as he is to Oaklanders.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 7, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  14. Alameda might make the short list but only because they might feel sorry for a site that has the most negatives of any applicant yet really, really tries hard to compete.

    Everybody likes an underdog. Poor little myopia afflicted fake island pretending it’ll charm itself into reality. Good for a laugh, I mean valentines and all. Next are the candy kisses and promises we’ll always be faithful, just love us…please.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 7, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  15. 14. That’s BS and you know it, Jack. Alameda is hardly the worst choice and in the long run could would be the best. Not sure why you’re being so hateful about it. I guess you’re gearing your grump up about something new since the Measure A stuff is almost over.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — March 7, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

  16. 15
    Hateful? Denise, why are you shrinking yourself? Of all people, I would expect you to understand that just because someone is in disagreement, it’s not being “hateful”.

    I know the stereotypical liberal has no sense of humor but that stereotype is proven time and time again on this blog to the extent it’s become musty. You really do take this stuff too seriously.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 8, 2011 @ 9:04 am

  17. You hurt my feelings with that Valentine crack. I’m vulnerable right now.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — March 8, 2011 @ 9:14 am

  18. Comment by Jack Richard — March 8, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  19. Awww, Jack. I love you, too. No matter what happens with Measure A, and even though I voted for it, I am realistic. When’s the wine boarding at Pasta Pelican? I’ll be there.(At least if it doesn’t pass, I’ll get a price cut on my property tax. There’s always a silver lining.)

    Comment by Denise Shelton — March 8, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

  20. We were at the joyous and packed YES on Measure A victory party at Tucker’s Ice Cream. The latest results, with 28/28 precincts reporting:

    Measure A – Alameda USD
    Unofficial Final Results

    YES – 68.43%

    NO – 31.57%

    And the percentage of YES votes is certain to climb as the absentee votes are counted….

    Thank you to all those who worked for and voted for Measure A!

    And Denise, thanks for being OK with our raising your taxes to pay decent wages to AUSD teachers and staff,and to keep class sizes below 60…..

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 8, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

  21. AUSD still says they are not going to have enough money and will have to make cuts. I can keep my fingers crossed that the under and overdressed, surly, lumpen and motley students of Encinal will be moved far, far across town, to attend school with the slim, perfect, squeaky clean, glossy ponytailed students of the East end, where they will continue to strew their emptied, greasy, caked with fake cheese McDonalds containers about with their usual joyous abandon. Few things seem to make the usually hostile, mean mugging monsters of Encinal as giddily happy as their daily trips to McDonalds and the chance to litter up everyone’s yards do.

    Comment by Michelle — March 13, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  22. Unlike the students of many communities, AUSD high school students enjoy the privilege of open campus at lunch time. Have you tried letters to the principal of Encinal? I am certain that this problem is a good candidate for a “think globally, act locally” type save the earth campaign for the students at the high schools. Certainly, littering should become uncool and unfashionable on East End and West End both.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — March 13, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  23. 20

    If your running a School District with 95% Labor Costs ( STAFF, ADMINISTRATORS,TEACHERS with an average Salary, Benefits and Pension cost of over 100,000.00) is there any wonder how you can run a School District on 5% with so many other costs .

    I wonder what % is going actually to Students if 95% going to Staff Administrators and Teachers with all the other costs.

    Jon Spangler says alot of companies run on 95% Labor costs. I’m sure he will give a list of his top 10 favorites .

    Most companies and even Non profits run 7 – 38% labor costs. Anything over 50% labor costs is considered very shaky at best.

    Comment by John — March 13, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  24. 23
    “I wonder what % is going actually to Students…”

    You mean they’re actually paying kids to go to school, but not enough?

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 13, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  25. Comment by Jack Richard — March 13, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  26. Simple school supplies Jack….Something far fetched like New computer systems for the students and New Equipment for the student atheletes. Actually have heat in all classrooms. You know that way out of the box thinking stuff that…LOL

    Comment by John — March 13, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  27. 21. I hate to bust yer bubble, but yer not special for what you endure because you live on the West End. I live on Oak Street on the footpath between the High School and Towne Centre and kids will be kids. The kids can be noisy but are mostly alright. But one day while working across the street on my neighbor’s garage door I witnessed a kid chuck the whole bag and wrapping for a Whopper along with gobs of catchup, right on the walk way to my front door. I’ve told this one before, so I’ll just say he was one embarrassed kid when I got done. I have also chased kids who turned over recycling cans as they ran up the street. It’s all the fault of parents damned over paid teachers!

    Actually, what bothers me more are adults like the ones who left dog shit in my truck and other malicious mischief at my house after I got David Howard’s bogus restraining order request chucked out of court. I would have chalked that action up to kids also, but it happened twice, exactly on the Friday night following each court appearance.

    Comment by M.I. — March 13, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  28. We live on the same block as Washington School. The school kids are not so much a problem as the adults and children who go to the corner store, unwrap their candy or drink their soda and chuck the wrapping in our yard on on the sidewalk. I do not associate this behavior with the schools, but with people who have no respect for property/cleanliness and have not been taught AT HOME how to keep their city clean. Actually, from time to time I have seen teachers with organized squads of kids out and about in the neighborhood doing clean up. Would that the parents would do the same. Duty and responsibility to one’s community is something that we were taught both at home and at school. I don’t think it is much considered today.

    Comment by Kate Quick — March 13, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  29. 21

    I’m sure your impressing those Lawerence Berkeley Lab people with your DS stories.


    Waiting on your list of Very Successful companies

    Jon Spangler says alot of companies run on 95% Labor costs. I’m sure he will give a list of his top 10 favorites .

    Comment by John — March 13, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  30. Pardon me 21

    I was referring to our scholar 27 regarding his social skills and spelling of Heinz 57 . I’m sorry I missed him telling this story before. His DS stories are just special also they really bring alot to this forum. I’m sure bullying those kids really taught them something. I know he impressed me with his bullying.

    Getting back to the Point. When Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, says he will not build any more facilities in California, you know the state is in trouble. How are we going to attract a major company to Alameda?

    California’s schoolteachers are the nation’s highest paid; its prison guards can make six-figure salaries; many state workers retire at 55 with pensions that are higher than the base pay they got most of their working lives. All this when California endures an unemployment rate steeper than the nation’s. It will get worse. There’s an exodus of firms that want to escape California’s high taxes, stifling regulations, and recurring budget crises. When Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, says he will not build any more facilities in California, you know the state is in trouble.

    Comment by John — March 14, 2011 @ 12:44 am

  31. 27. Does “yer” serve as a imprecise yet legitimate contraction of “you” “your”, “you’re” or “your are” for anyone beyond twenty years of age or is its use by those of two-score + really just an example of an old fart hobbledehoy?

    I can understand why the kid was embarrassed

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 14, 2011 @ 9:13 am

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