Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 8, 2011

Welcome to Alameda, may I take your order?

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Alameda Point, Business, Development, Transportation — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

So, I’ll confess, I was actually out-of-town for the past few days, and as much as I adore you all, I don’t do a lot of blogging while I’m away.   That’s why I had more “time neutral” posts up then something more timely and relevant, like the dueling editorial letters from City Officials — more on that next week.   While I was gone, I did get this email and wanted to throw it up before it got too late as reviewing the editorial letters and going through everything I missed while away including the City Council meeting is going to take a bit more time.

Anyway, folks who go through the Webster Tube side of Alameda will know that the new Stargell alignment is pretty much done, there’s still some landscaping to be done, and the College of Alameda has put in some really nice low walls that has given the College a nice presence at that entrance.  You all may have been wondering what the huge parcel to the right of Webster Street when you are coming out of the tube into Alameda was going to be.   Right now it’s just a weedy area and there are some leftover “No on Measure A” signs still planted among the weeds.   It’s sort of a weird patch of space and the access is fairly limited so I never had huge hopes for anything spectucular there — or really anything at all — and since I can’t recall anything coming through the Planning Board about that space lately, I just assumed that Catellus was going to wait and incorporate that into future plans for Alameda Landing.

Turns out, Catellus already does have plans and they have begun marketing them already.   For those who elect not to click through, here is the rough map:

Your eyes do not deceive you, it does indeed say “drive thru pad.”  And this is how they are marketing it:

Actually, if you click on the full marketing materials, it’s pretty clever in general.

Unfortunately, if the plan is to load the parking on the Webster Side of the property , it’s going to make the entrance to Alameda look seriously unattractive.   Hopefully the plan will be to plant some largish trees, maybe the City can negotiate with Catellus to construct the entrance archway that has been part of the Webster beautification plans forever.

There are some obvious problems with the site.   The first is: that curve is a doozy, cars coming off of Webster fly through that curve and that entrance slated to be off Stargell might be missed the first 100 times or so.   Second, the pedestrian access is pretty bad right now to that particular parcel, as in nonexistent bad.    If the idea is to get customers from the College of Alameda or people walking home from the Webster Street bus stops the City or Catellus will need to plop a new crosswalk in.

While I’m not in love with the idea of yet another drive-thru business planned for the West End, after all, I’m not sure which business would fill the space considering that the West End is fairly well represented in the fast food market.   Maybe an In-N-Out or perhaps the Starbucks will move in order to take advantage of the drive-thru window.   There are also plans for a Multi-Tenant pad as well, so essentially it will be a pocket strip mall.  Here’s what I would like to see though.  I would like to see a nice sized sidewalk on the Stargell side and access to the storefronts from both the Stargell and the parking side, as opposed to the currently heavily auto-centric look they are going for.    I imagine that the storefronts will probably end up including a cafe of some sort (Starbucks, Peets or maybe we’ll get an independent small business operator) and probably a nail shop because those pedicures don’t take care of themselves.


  1. A parking lot as soon as you enter Alameda via Webster??? Yikes!

    Comment by alameda — April 8, 2011 @ 7:12 am

  2. I’m all for another drive-thru dry cleaner like Revelation on Encinal. It would also be great for people dropping off and picking up going to and from work. It also doesn’t generate the litter that fast food places do, something that more pedestrian access would increase. Of course if this were some other state, we could have drive-thru liquor stores and gun shops. Not a good thing, but boy would the blogs be burning it up then!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — April 8, 2011 @ 7:25 am

  3. Remember when this project was pitched as a mixed-use project, not just another suburban yawn?

    It was never mixed-use, but wow, could it get any worse?

    So much for a new, more attractive gateway to Alameda’s west end.

    Comment by John Knox White — April 8, 2011 @ 7:43 am

  4. Loren, you may want to do some digging with the City. There will be no access to this site from Stargell due to Cal Trans queing issues back to Webster. Has the City weighed in yet in any way regarding the site plan? I think this is currently zoned for residential uses.

    Comment by fergus jones — April 8, 2011 @ 8:51 am

  5. Very appropriate. Looks like a giant blue dildo sticking it to West Alameda,

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 8, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  6. Obviously Catellus is targeting the college campus by putting a fast food restaurant on that site, but Catellus needs to think about the larger picture. There are already plenty of fast food restaurants on Webster, and this site is part of the gateway to Alameda and one of the entrances to a well planned residential community.

    Mariner Square Athletic Club has plans to build a state of the art fitness center and spa where the Bayside Pavillion is. I like the idea of a Peets and a Noah’s Bagel store wehere you have plans for the fast food restaurant. We lost Noah’s at Alameda Towne Centre when they were undergoing renovations, but maybe Noah’s will come back if they can be on one of our main streets next to Peets.

    Catellus also remember we are going after LBL and a Peets and Noah’s bagel shop would be a great addition to the West End. It would also be more compatible with a health and fitness club.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 8, 2011 @ 9:38 am

  7. That driveway on Stargell might end up as an entrance only.

    That drive-in looks wonderful,what a great place to eat, totally surrounded by a sea of traffic (buses, trucks, cars) you will be able to get a mask with any eat in order.
    I would hope that there is enough room on the Webster St. side to place a berm and some large shrubs to completely hide that “strip Mall”

    Comment by John P. — April 8, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  8. All is not bleak on the west end. Encinal High School presents “Seuscical the Musical” for performances Friday and Saturday evenings, starting tonight. This is one of a series of amazing theater productions at the school including this year, the Diary of Anne Frank and Dead Men Walking. Lacking a theater, the drama department nevertheless manages to produce plays worthy of serious viewing.

    Comment by barbara kahn — April 8, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  9. Lauren, U really should get out of Bayport & come to Alameda once in while. You’re not paying attention. Don’t be so smug U miss something by not reading “ActionAlameda”=”Planning Board Shoots Self In Pedicure” None of U were @ the “Shootout @ The Otaez Corral” planning bd mtg. We seem to have way more nail shops than a city this size can use. And no bakeries.

    Comment by alameda vigilante — April 8, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  10. Vigilante: I actually wrote a whole post two years ago about nail shops and my philosophy hasn’t changed on said use.

    Comment by Lauren Do — April 8, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  11. So the “gateway” to Alameda will be a parking lot along Webster and along Stargell a drive thru lane, trash dumpsters, and the loading docks for the multi-tenant building?

    I think you’d be hard pressed to come up with a more pathetic site plan than this.

    Comment by david burton — April 8, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  12. John that’s my preference as well. It’s an important gateway and it needs to be treated as such, but Catellus will most likely want signage on that site to direct folks to Alameda Landing.

    This is an opportunity to have a “voice” on the gateway to Alameda from the West End.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 8, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  13. Catellus is a great development company and they have been recapitalized by a new owner-TPG Capital.

    Their previous owner Prologis was an industrial REIT who was used to developing more industrial, large big box types of developments such as Pacific Commons in Fremont. This entrance plan for Alameda Landing is typical for that type of development.

    We need to help Catellus understand what we want in Alameda, and now is a good time to communicate with them. They will be coming to the Planning Board in the next few months with changes they want to their original plans, and I think their entrance plan should definately be part of that discussion.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 8, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  14. post#9 “vigilante” I was there and I saw Karen Bey there. Of course we wouldn’t know who you were because you don’t want to use your real name for some reason.

    Comment by John P. — April 8, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  15. Karen, Your right about the entrance to Alameda. The present plan looks fine for any freeway off ramp in the Valley, but it just doesn’t make it for our entrance. I hope WABA gets involved in this process, it certainly needs to be.

    Comment by John P. — April 8, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  16. I think Jack Richard takes the win on characterizing this project, (although I would have gone with the limp dick visual instead). It isn’t really worth nitpicking more than that, but I just couldn’t resist pointing out that they expect burger buyers in their large SUV’s to come off Stargell down an entrance way, and do an immediate 180 degree turn in an area about as wide as two parking spaces in order to enter the drive through. That’s good planning there, boys.

    Comment by notadave — April 8, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  17. notadave, maybe that little thing there just as you enter is a turn table, you just get on it and it shoots you right down the driveway to the fast what ever it is place.

    Comment by John P. — April 8, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  18. ok, that I would pay for.

    Comment by notadave — April 8, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  19. In-N-Out is to fast food what Target is to retail. You think it’s hard to get through the tunnel into Alameda now at certain times of day, just wait if they come in. I vote for Wendy’s.

    Comment by LindaonOtisSt — April 8, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  20. I did attend the meeting where the Planning Commission discussed planning Webster Street and the Catellus project. I think there’s a lot of positive things coming down the pike in this regard, but to bring it to fruition, as other above said, we all need to be involved.

    But the reason I’m writing here is because, one great thing I got out of attending that meeting, was a chance to meet Ken Kay.

    Ken Kay was the land planner who designed Bayport. This guy (with assistance from Alamedans like Irv Hamilton) took the time to research Alameda architecture and land-use designs and tricks, and, IMO, integrated what he learned well into Bayport, in the form of those mini pocket parks, the diversity of housing architecture, and the de-emphasis of the car via the car alleys in the back. Now, now: I know there are a few out there who wont accept Bayport whatsoever. But, I tell you, that’s light years ahead of the what happened on the former drive-in. Yes, I will admit it is suburban style development — but there was an attention to detail and thought that Kay put into planning Bayport that, to know he’s now involved in land-planning the retail site, gives me a strong measure of confidence about Alameda Landing. (I can’t quite remember this but I **think** Kay was also the land planner for the beautiful mixed-use Marina Village — but someone will have to confirm this or not).

    Having said all that, nonetheless, people should still be engaged in the process and continue to press the high expectations that all of you have, as does I am sure Ken Kay.

    PS: no, I am not working directly or indirectly, or indirectly any steps removed, with Ken Kay. I just think when someone like Ken Kay or Don Parker [Marina Village’s developer] comes to town and affects out built environment in a significant manner in terms of beauty and acreage, we should make sure to acknowledge their lasting contribution to our city. As Ralph A. used to say, you know, it doesn’t take much to say thank you, so you should make sure to do that now and then.

    Comment by Tony Daysog — April 8, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  21. A good bakery would be nice. I’d bet a lot more people would go to this location for their fresh bread fix than Park St. since it’s easier to find parking.

    Comment by welbilt bread machine — April 8, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  22. 20
    Great piece in the Spun (or J-urinal, can’t remember which) the other day, Tony! Couldn’t agree with you more.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 9, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  23. OK. so my cousin worked on this project and not to interject the sacred Ann Marie Gallant name, but he told me a while ago and we laugh about it all the time, that she actually told them Catellus, they she would approve anything they proposed if they brought an In and Out Burger to Alameda. Honest, the Catellus folks laugh about it all the time!

    What can we say? She’s likes a good burger and only had to pay for it with the gateway to the City. Ahhh, but she was so good ;-(

    Comment by Stella Giordini — April 9, 2011 @ 10:06 am

  24. the configuration of the drive-thru looks like it could be nothing other than In-and-Out. The marketing art above is also an exact template of the drive through menu at In-and-Out.

    I’m often surprised by my own inability to judge scale on some of these maps. I’ll make a point of doing a drive by. We may find that the designers know what they are doing and this works. But my gut reaction is that the driveway on Stargell will back up around the hairpin curve into the tube and we could see accidents as a result.

    If northbound Webster is allowed to make a left at Stargell as it appears, the merger at the apex of the hair-pin also looks like a liability. The Webster traffic has it’s own lane, but that doesn’t mean people won’t recklessly force their way across lanes trying to get to the driveway which will stop traffic in the other two lanes, backing into traffic speeding out of the tube.

    This little island of dirt is sort of a microcosm of the Alameda ingress and egress conundrum. Even similarly shaped.

    Comment by M.I. — April 9, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  25. We can hope for a Noah’s, but we’ll likely end up with an Arby’s. Welcome to Alameda, indeed.

    Comment by Kristen — April 9, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  26. Mark, the traffic problem will be solved by the planing board and public works before it is ever built.
    As for the comments about the IN and Out Burger I gotta wonder if In and Out wants to be that far away from a free way off ramp.

    Comment by John P. — April 9, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  27. I would think that they would be better served by switching the multi-tenant pad and the drive-thru pad. It would make a much nicer look to that corner, and the traffic situation would be better. Also, closer for the tenants at Independence Plaza to walk. Also slightly closer for the COA students to get their burgers.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — April 10, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  28. Whose grand idea was this? Where did these developers go to school? The College of Alameda? Talk about ghetto, and the juxtaposition with the tunnel with it’s gorgeous architecture and then poof! there you are, on Webster and Stargell, no presentation, stark, unrefined, down-right ugly, with no thought or landscaping. And the City College looks like a prison. It is HIDEOUS. Gosh, now I wish we would have bought a home in Fairfax or San Anselmo, this town is beginning to look like a set of a bad hip hop video and attracting more ghetto cliental. Also noticed that a plethora of cars drive about 60-80 miles out of the tunnel and continue to speed through the rest of the town, EVEN THOUGH THE SPEED LIMIT IS SUPPOSED TO BE 25.

    Comment by IO — June 6, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  29. There is now a big red sign with leasing contact info just before you turn right onto Stargell from Webster.

    Comment by alameda — June 7, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  30. @28. Yes … I see a lot more cars speeding all across Alameda, not just out of the tube. Whatever happened to the much touted/enforced 25 mph speed limit???

    Cars often jump the lights on Webster (at Stargell, both ways). This is an accident waiting to happen and it isn’t going to be pretty at those speeds.

    Can’t help but wonder if APD is slacking off …

    Comment by alameda — June 7, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

  31. Hey IO, you sound a bit racist, maybe you should move anywhere but here.

    Comment by John P. — June 7, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

  32. I can tell you what is not going to be in their another hair or nail salon. Alameda has waaaay too many already. How about a bake sale betty’s or a zacharys. We’ve got every fast food chain represented already.

    Comment by Frank — June 21, 2011 @ 10:28 am

  33. I agree with Kevis they should switch the residential pad with the drive thru. It makes so much more sense. And John I don’t I have to agree with IO and I am not racist. Although Webster St….ugly stepsister to Park is getting better. But really does this end of the Island need any more fast food drive-in’s?

    Comment by Joe — June 27, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

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