Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 12, 2011

On Target

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Business, City Council, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

So I’m not going to write about last night’s City Council meeting because I have not watched it yet.   As much as I enjoy watching City Council meetings, watching them live or even attending them is definitely not my cup of tea, so more than likely I’ll write about it tomorrow or the next day, whenever I get around to finishing the actual video.

But, what I am going to write about is Target.   So last week City Manager John Russo tweeted that Target had sent a letter of intent to the City of Alameda.   It was clarified on Twitter that it was indeed Alameda Landing that Target had its bullseye on.   Recently an email was sent by the commercial real estate brokers with this graphic proudly announcing:

Accompanying this email was a PDF brochure which gave an overview of the property in order to sell the site to potential clients/tenants.   So here are the proposed details of the site buildout, which seems awfully optimistic in light of the fact that there has practically been nothing done at Alameda Landing for the past few years or so.   The Stargell Improvements don’t count.

A Spring 2012 constructing beginning date seems very aggressive given that there should be some (a lot?) of community pushback on the idea of a Target in Alameda, much like what happened when Target was proposed for South Shore.   Although honestly, with 20/20 hindsight, wouldn’t a Target have been loads better than the Ross?

The main reason why the Spring 2012 date seems super aggressive is that the proposed site layout is markedly different than the last one I remember coming before the Planning Board for approval.

The largish building labeled A1 in the map is clearly the Target which is identified as the “anchor” in the key:

Depressingly it looks like Alameda Landing will be modeled after Catellus’s Pacific Commons in Fremont instead of what it originally looked like which was a more street oriented design.  Yawn.


  1. Citizens Against AFD made the news last night. It’s one thing to protest the report on drowning, but it was convoluted to trot out the petition for County service in the same photo op. I hope Target brings big tax bucks because it ruins the site for more creative development, but if nobody is chomping at the bit to build anything else WTF. I still think access is dubious too. Coming through the tube is not like jumping off 80 at Buchanan in Albany.

    Comment by M.I. — October 12, 2011 @ 7:45 am

  2. Everyone I have ever met in Alameda has made a comment about building South Shore at the beach along the lines of “what were they thinking.” add in the courthouse, post office and McDonalds and it’s certainly a clean sweep of opinion.

    The economy is going to be a big pressure to get this project going, but hopefully the council and planning board will resist the “dear god, build us anything please” pressure and insist on something more than a sea of parking and some building dotted in and around it. It’s the worst of “urban” design and generates all the types of traffic and environmental concerns that Alameda has said they are concerned about.

    This is clearly going to have to come to the planning board for approval, hopefully staff will be mindful of all the past discussions and insist on a plan that moves Alameda forward instead of taking us back to some of the worst land-use decisions in the last 50-years.

    Comment by John Knox White — October 12, 2011 @ 7:58 am

  3. And to think I was worried about Alameda looking like Walnut Creek only to find out it is going to be more like Fremont….Speechless….
    Just think of the other stores we can get to fill those vacancies…..Marshalls, Dollar Tree, Big Lots, Famous Footwear, Cash for Gold and maybe a Claire’s.
    We sure have vision in this town!

    Comment by J.E.A. — October 12, 2011 @ 8:50 am

  4. J.E.A. you forgot the “payday loan store”. After all this is in the West End.

    Comment by JOHN P. — October 12, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  5. 3 — You just described Greehouse Marketplace in San Leandro. Marketing studies (ad naseum) show that Alamedans shop at Target, Costco, Home Depot and other big box type stores. Ever wonder why they want you to type in your zip code at the check out of these stores? Stores like Nieman Marcus, Sur la Table (Ferry Building), William Sonoma, Bloomingdales, Crate & Barrel, Apple Computer, want to locate at busy urban centers. Alameda doesn’t want to become an major urban center because of … traffic… You get the bad with the good. Look what happened when Orchard Supply tried to open at South Shore.

    Comment by David M. — October 12, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  6. The first lady shops at Target:

    Comment by Irene — October 12, 2011 @ 9:38 am

  7. John, you’re right, this plan will have to come back to the planning board for approval. This type of project is wrong
    for Alameda Landing. We can do much better!

    In light of the fact that America’s Cup is coming in two years, I would like to see the waterfront developed first. With hotels, restaurants, houseboats, condos, etc. on the waterfront, we should be able to attract more quality retail when the time comes to develop retail. Hopefully we learned our lesson from South Shore and will insist that the waterfront gets developed first.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 12, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  8. Target, Costco, Home Depot – all of these stores are big box anchor stores that belong in a “power center” like Pacific Commons. Pacific Commons is located on Auto Mall Parkway off the 880 freeway where it belongs.

    Alameda Landing is a waterfront site surrounded by a lovely upscale housing development that was developed by Warmington Homes. Homeowners in this subdivision paid from $600K to over a $1m for their homes.

    Who are we? What is OUR vision (not the developer’s vision)? And what is our “brand”?

    Taken from the City of Alameda homepage:

    Alameda is a sophisticated island Bay Area community, with a small town vibe known for our tree lined streets and Victorian charm.

    Taken from the Warmington Grand Marina Village homepage:

    From its beaches, there are spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
    Because of its proximity to the bay, Alameda is home to an array of marinas and yacht clubs and is a favorite destination among wind surfers and kite surfers.

    A former resort community, Alameda gained notoriety in the 1920s and 1930s with its Neptune Beach attraction that was often compared to Coney Island. Its swimming pools, beach games, roller coasters and a Ferris wheel provided an accessible and family friendly fun for visitors from all over Northern California. During this time, many wealthy Bay Area residents built grand homes in the area. Some of the resort-area Victorian homes, historical tree-lined streets, and buildings from the Neptune beach era still exist in present-day Alameda, and contribute to a beautiful, charming and unique setting.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 12, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  9. 2(JKW)”worst land use decisions in the last 50 years”? Funny, U don’t look that old, JKW. But I am. And U R speaking w/the myopia of a wet-behind -the-ears Easterner. South Shore Center was planned as a shopping center before the land was even dredged up out of the Bay to build it. What wasn’t planned was the courthouse, the post office, or McDonalds[which didn’t exist yet]. We used to have a DMV there, where people from surrounding cities flocked to take their driver tests. And a 2-screen movie theater, w/out a behemoth pkg garage next to it..
    Are you really that dumb or were you just counting on me to set U straight? There are more elegant ways to do that than acting like an authority on something U know little about.

    Comment by vigi — October 12, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  10. Now that we’ve turned the residential parts of the Otis and Broadway areas into 24 hour, 50 MPH truck (18whlrs included; thanks especially to the USPS) and motor expressway feeders from I-880 for the expanded South Shore, we can turn to your neighborhood next…….Don’t worry though, you can count on us to “mitigate” the liveability and safety impacts in your neighborhood. We assure you that Target will attract patient types, those who will respect your neighborhood, not speed, not whip around corners, keep their mufflers in good repair, drive their smart cars and not their Harleys, not thump loud music, keep their trash in the trash cans. In any event, you’ll get used to the changes. And don’t overlook the advantages of truck traffic. The noise cancelling effect of those motors means you won’t be woken by barking dogs at 4am anymore.

    Comment by Vivo — October 12, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  11. correction: 40mph

    Comment by Vivo — October 12, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  12. “We assure you that Target will attract patient types, those who will respect your neighborhood, not speed, not whip around corners, keep their mufflers in good repair, drive their smart cars and not their Harleys, not thump loud music, keep their trash in the trash cans.”

    Vivo, pronounce it Tar-Zhay, maybe that will help the traffic situation and keep the rif-raf here.

    We were glad when they took the track out of Rail Road Ave, and you’re complaining about mufflers.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 12, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  13. Karen and others, you can wish for high end stores, but the space is going to follow the dollars. Alamedans just don’t do enough shopping at places like REI, Crate & Barrel, etc. to make them want to come here. I’m not proud, Target is probably my single largest purchase source off island. The vison we have of ourselves as a community is clearly very different than the reality.

    Maybe we can get Adam to circulate a petition pledging to only shop at Macys for the next year so we can finally attract a high end anchor.

    Comment by notadave — October 12, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  14. More about the impacts of big box stores in our community:

    …a new realization that Big Boxes take more from the community than they give.

    It’s not so much the physical size of the store, but its super-sized effects on existing responsible businesses and on existing good jobs.

    “Everything that is known about the discount retail chains now entering the grocery business suggests that supercenter employees earn wages and benefits comparable to discount retail employees, substantially less then what California grocery workers earn. Thus the development of a robust supercenter sector will lead to the conversion of high wage jobs into low wage jobs”

    It only takes one Christmas to wipe out a small store because it’s such a big part of your annual revenue.”

    National Trust Names the State Of Vermont One of
    America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

    Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2004) – With historic villages and downtowns, working farms, winding back roads, forest-wrapped lakes, spectacular mountain vistas and a strong sense of community, Vermont has a special magic that led National Geographic Traveler magazine to name the state one of “the World’s Greatest Destinations.” Yet in recent years, this small slice of America has come under tremendous pressure from the onslaught of big-box retail development. The seriousness of this threat led the National Trust to name the state to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1993. Back then, Vermont was the only state without a Wal-Mart. Today it has four – and it now faces an invasion of behemoth stores that could destroy much of what makes Vermont Vermont.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 12, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  15. People can shop where they want but I’ve never understood the love for Target. Just looks like a bunch of candy colored plastic crap to me. But let me know if they have a discount vinyl record section…. that would interest me…

    Comment by Jack B. — October 12, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  16. Here’s what we can do to protect our waterfronts from big box retail developments:

    Ed Bedard, vice-president of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association in San Francisco, typifies the growing grassroots concern, “We really have something to protect in that we have a lot of unique, distinctive commercial districts.” By installing formula business restrictions, San Francisco became the seventh community in the state to build in those protections for existing business.

    Formula Business Restrictions – San Francisco, CA
    Since 2004, San Francisco has restricted formula retail and restaurant uses.
    Throughout most of the city, including all of San Francisco’s Neighborhood Commercial Districts, formula retail stores and restaurants are considered conditional uses. This means they must be approved by the Planning Commission on a case-by-case basis.
    The law specifies that the Planning Commission must consider the following factors when deciding whether to approve a formula business:
    • the existing concentration of formula retail businesses within the neighborhood,
    • whether similar goods or services are already available within the area,
    • the compatibility of the proposed business with the character of the neighborhood,
    • retail vacancy rates in the area, and
    • the balance of neighborhood-serving versus citywide or regional-serving

    Formula uses are prohibited entirely in a few neighborhoods, including North Beach and Hayes-Gough. Formula businesses are a permitted use and do not require conditional use authorization in the city’s downtown district and a few adjacent zones.

    Here’s the policy that San Francisco put in place to protect their neighborhoods and small businesses:…/formula-business-restrictions/formula-business-restrictions-san-francisco-ca

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 12, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  17. Your SF policy skipped out.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 12, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  18. 5. David M. Not sure what your reference is about Orchard. Target was run out of South Shore because it seemed to tip the scale with regard to anticipated hordes of shoppers and traffic. That seemed to be substantiated by the mall owner who wanted additional parking. Was that a multi level lot or roof top parking over retail, I forget? The objection to Orchard was not in the same vein as that to Target. Orchard threatened two local family owned hardware stores, but I don’t think traffic was the problem and in fact they got approval, but didn’t follow through. As to protecting local business, I wonder what impact Pagano’s #2 has had on Encinal Hardware.

    10. Vivo, I don’t live on Otis which is perhaps a better barometer for impacts of revamp of South Shore Mall, but I live on Oak a couple doors from the lagoon and even though the parking lots are now full, street traffic at Clinton and Park doesn’t seem that impacted. Are truck deliveries a really bad impact? I have a friend near Broadway and Encinal who has always ( 25 years) been in shock over traffic and bus service at that intersection but when I asked about the mall upping the ante he didn’t seem to notice much change. The leaf blowers at 6 a.m. on Sunday are my biggest complaint these days and thankfully that isn’t a regular occurrence.

    Comment by M.I. — October 12, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  19. Key Studies on Wal-Mart and Big-Box Retail

    Below are summaries and links to key studies that examine the impact of Wal-Mart and other large retail chains and, in some cases, the benefits of locally owned businesses. For ease of use, we’ve organized these studies into the following categories, although they do not all fit neatly into one category. (Also see the Research section of the News Archive for more detailed stories on some of these studies).

    •Economic Impact of Local Businesses vs. Chains
    Studies have found that locally owned stores generate much greater benefits for the local economy than national chains.
    •Retail Employment
    These studies examine whether the arrival of a superstore increases or decreases the number of retail jobs in the region.
    •Wages & Benefits
    Studies have found that big-box retailers, particularly Wal-Mart, are depressing wages and benefits for retail employees.
    •Existing Businesses
    These studies look at how the arrival of a big-box retailer displaces sales at existing businesses, which must then downsize or close. This results in job losses and declining tax revenue, which some of these studies quantify.
    •Poverty Rates
    Counties that have gained Wal-Mart stores have fared worse in terms of family poverty rates, according to this study.
    •Social and Civic Well-Being
    This study found that Wal-Mart reduces a community’s level of social capital, as measured by voter turnout and the number of active community organizations.
    •City Costs
    These studies compare the municipal tax benefits of big-box development with the cost of providing these stores with city services, such as road maintenance, police and fire—finding that cities do not always come out ahead.
    •State Costs
    Because many of their employees do not earn enough to make ends meet, states are reporting high costs associated with providing healthcare (Medicaid) and other public assistance to big-box employees.
    The expansion of big-box retailers has been financed in part by massive development subsidies and tax advantages provided by local and state governments. These studies document those subsidies and their failure to produce real economic benefits for communities.
    •Consumers & Prices
    Are chains better for consumers?
    How do vehicle miles traveled and trips increase as a result of big box developments?
    •Charitable Contributions
    Small businesses donate about twice as much per employee to charitable organizations as large businesses, according to this study

    Click to access ThinkingOutsidetheBox_1.pdf

    Click to access SFRDS_Summary_May07.pdf

    Comment by John — October 12, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

  20. Orchard was APPROVED at South Shore. They pulled out when the economy shifted.

    Comment by kate — October 12, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  21. Orchard is part of Sears Holding which also owns Kmart.

    Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD) is a retail conglomerate formed in 2005 by the merger of Sears, Roebuck and Co., of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, with Kmart Holdings Corporation, of Troy, Michigan.[2] The company operates 3,900 retail locations under the mastheads of Sears, Sears Grand, Sears Essentials, Sears Hometown Stores, Sears Hardware, Kmart, Big Kmart, Super Kmart, The Great Indoors, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Lands’ End stores. It is the tenth largest retailer by annual revenue in the United States trailing behind Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, Walgreens, The Home Depot, Costco, CVS Caremark, Lowe’s and Best Buy.[3]

    The company maintains its corporate headquarters in Hoffman Estates.

    Comment by John — October 12, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

  22. Interesting!

    Comment by kotev1000 — October 13, 2011 @ 8:09 am

  23. 18. Thanks, M.I. Yes, truck deliveries have a major impact. I think that most of the retailers at SS receive deliveries both from their own warehouses and from outside vendors, so there is more than you might think. They are typically very loud (and rattling) especially when they go over the speed limit (which is very frequent unfortunately). Drivers (truckers and, yes, our neighbors from other parts of Alameda) may not realize it, but there is a huge difference from the perspective of the homes along Broadway (which, like the rest of Alameda, are set close to the street) between 25 and 35 (or 40 or 45) MPH. My reaction, and the reactions of other residents most impacted by street traffic, to development proposals would be different if: (1) we enforced the speed limit on Broadway (and, more importantly, we respected the speed limit) and other heavily used streets. It may be an irritant to drive 25, but the noise and safety impacts when the limit is exceeded are a far bigger irritant to the residents along these streets. (2) If we restricted truck routes to reasonable hours. It’s one thing to permit 24 hour 18 wheel traffic in industrial areas or areas immediately proximate to freeways where Targets are normally located. It’s another to have 24 hour truck traffic straight through the heart of 19th century residential areas. I certainly understand the city’s need for sales tax revenue, but there must be balance with the ultimate goal: the well being of the community.

    Comment by Vivo — October 13, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  24. Karen Bey: “…We can do much better!”

    You’re joking right?

    Comment by Jack Bee — October 13, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  25. “Jack Bee” ? Really??

    Comment by Jack B. — October 13, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  26. Jack it looks like its getting close to Halloween ,Somebody grabbed your Mask…..But I don’t think they do as much for community as you have done for the Swimmers. Frank Weeden would tip his hat I’m sure.

    Comment by John — October 13, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

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