Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 22, 2011

Built to suit

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

This post is actually written in advance of watching last night’s Planning Board meeting, but So, I thought I was going crazy when I saw Michele Ellson and Dixie Jordan of Alameda Patch’s posts about the Planning Board meeting that I had missed talking about the agenda items before the meeting.  Turns out, the meeting was not last night, but rather will be next week, so you still have time to weigh in on the issue!

I wanted to point out somethings I really liked and things I hope to see improved in the design of Alameda Landing’s retail space.

As I posted in early October the rendering for the retail portion was really uninspiring for the leasing packet that was floating out there.   It was pretty, not to mince words, crappy.   It had a really strip mall-y sort of feel, which is fine, but definitely not what was promised by Catellus all those years ago.

This new rendering is a whole lot better, in fact, it may just be better than the 2007 design which had serious problems with some side walk issues.

What I like about this design is designated by the little blue arrow, this is a cross street linking Mariner Square Loop with Ninth Street creating what appears to be a retail fronted road.   The best part is more connections as opposed to relying solely on Marshall (to the north) and Stargell to the south for the only east to west streets.   Plus it breaks up what could have been a monolithic sea of parking between all  of the retail pads which will already be a problem with the Target parking needs.   I also like the smaller sized store (and hopefully store fronts) that line both the new street bisecting the project and lining Ninth Street.   It would have been nicer had all the streets gotten the same treatment, but that is a design issue that can still be resolved.

A few concerns, the first designated by the orange arrow is that the Target will have too much blank wall, on the Ninth Street side there should definitely be a pedestrian entrance and a street store front to keep Ninth Street consistent.   And the red arrow is my big concern because that will be facing the proposed residential neighborhood and should probably be designed better than a huge wall, but that of course is an issue for Target, since I believe they build their own buildings.

Hopefully there will be good integration with the existing health club at the corner, but overall, I’m feeling better about this design than the one that was in their leasing literature.


  1. I’m not impressed at all with a “large format” retail center on a waterfront site. Also the Planning Board meeting is on Monday, November 28, 2011.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 22, 2011 @ 8:18 am

  2. Thanks Karen, a few folks were reporting it as last night so I went with that thinking I had missed something. I made the correction in the post above.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 22, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  3. “Large Format Retail – the site plan is designed to support larger format retail buildings”. The objective is to create a retail center in Alameda that can accommodate these larger types of stores”.

    After viewing the new site plans, my position on the Alameda Landing retail development has not changed. I do not believe that this wonderful water front site should be turned into a Power Retail Shopping Center to accommodate larger format retail buildings that will house more and more discount stores. The massive size of the buildings, their obstruction of the waterfront, and the size of the proposed Target Store is of great concern to me.

    While the Alameda Landing project may have been exempted from the big box ordinance, I’m hopeful our leaders will consider the “spirit” and the purpose of the ordinance as we move forward with this project.

    And as we speak, our neighbors in Rockridge are fighting a similar battle to “preserve the character of their community”:

    Concerned Neighbors
    CENA (Claremont Elmwood Neighbors Association)
    Contiguous Neighbors
    Contiguous Merchants
    RDA (Rockridge District Association)
    RCPC (Rockridge Community Planning Council)
    Local Architects and Planners Guidelines Group

    Locals protest scale, traffic of new Rockridge Safeway

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 22, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  4. In a recent article called “Bigger is Not Always Better for Retailers” dated September 26, 2011 the article states that the trend for big box retailers is for smaller buildings. It goes on to state that Big-Box retailers are moving away from the one-large-size-fits all strategy to a philosophy of getting more out of smaller spaces and assessing the needs of each location. What a concept!

    Big box retailers like Best Buy, Office Depot, Target, etc. are looking to downsize existing stores while others are planning to make future stores smaller. And guess what – Target is planning smaller format stores the article states, that will be around 60,000 to 100,000 square feet compared with the 135,000 in a traditional Target store.

    Why? Because consumers are looking for quicker, easier shopping experiences rather than navigating a 190,000 square foot super store. And many of Target’s customers live in the city and drive out to the suburbs — Target wants to bring the Target experience to them.

    The smaller urban format will feature windows, and have multiple floors. The retail giant Wal-Mart has announced a major downsizing strategy, the article states, saying it will build hundreds of smaller stores over the next three years in rural and urban locations.

    I have many questions after reading this article—the main one being: Why are we being asked to approve a Large Format Retail Center with a 140,000 sq ft Target super store when the trend is going smaller? My second question is: Can we expect a Wal-Mart store in this center as well?

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 22, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  5. I agree 100% with Karen Bey. There comes a point when chasing retail stores in search of more sales tax dollars becomes overpoweringly injurious to the city. That point is visible and rapidly closing in on us in this city. We’re marching towards living in a sheltered little residential district surrounded by big boxes with ever increasing traffic.

    Comment by Jack Richard — November 22, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

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