Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 15, 2014

Nothing but blue skies do I see

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Business, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I guess given the conclusion of negotiations with Charles Co.  the City is now looking for someone else to signal their interest in Alameda Point, specifically the Town Center portion of Alameda Point.   Tonight’s City Council agenda refers to the start of the RFP process for two parcels at Alameda Point:


There are a few rules for the developers interested in being considered, first you can’t submit any plans.  Period.   The City doesn’t care about seeing your vision, they just want you to tell them about it in narrative form, from the Staff Report:

The RFQs will require developers to submit a project description (i.e., number of units and commercial square footage for Site A and commercial square footage for Site B), and will require them NOT to submit a site plan or any design renderings of any proposed development at Alameda Point.  The selection of the developers/users will be solely based on the qualifications of the developers/users and the quality of their submittal, including past projects, not on the quality of any design drawings purporting to show the future of Alameda Point.  Submission of a site plan or renderings at this stage of the process will result in disqualification of the responding entity. [emphasis added]

So here’s what they want for each site:

Site A is proposed for a residential/commercial mixed-use project on 68 acres.  The RFQ will assign 800 units of the proposed 1,425 units planned for Alameda Point to Site A, and an undetermined amount of commercial development left to respondents to decide based on market potential.

Which means that the overall density for Site A, which is supposed to be the most active part of Alameda Point will end up being very low, which kind of defeats the purpose of the idea of moving the ferry terminal to the Seaplane Lagoon and having increased density around that ferry terminal.  I guess the assumptions that the City is working with is that the businesses that Alameda Point will attract will bring workers living in San Francisco to Alameda in the most ass backward thinking ever.  While I’m sure it happens, it is the exception and not the rule.

For Site B:

The RFQ for Site B should solicit interest in developing mixed commercial projects, with a focus on a major sales tax generator, such as a premium retail outlet (not a “big box” store).  The RFQ responses for Site B can also include corporate “build-to-suit” user(s) that generates significant jobs, business-to-business sales tax or other catalytic economic benefits (consistent with the Town Center Waterfront Plan, the rezoning and MIP). [emphasis added]

Looks like the City’s effort to continue to turn Alameda Point into Vacaville did not die with the demise of Charles Company.

I mean this whole thing is feeling kind of amateur hour.  It’s clear that despite all of the posturing from the City about community meetings and vision statements and targeted plans the City still doesn’t have a good handle on the true vision for what has always been presented as they “key” portion of Alameda Point, the one part that it needs to get really right to set the tone for the remainder of the  development.   Personally whoever worked on the Phase O blue sky ideas has done a better job at articulating a vision than whoever will be crafting this RFP simply based on the “outline” staff report.   It almost feels as though the City is desperate for anything to go anywhere, but maybe we’ll luck out and get a visionary developer than will want to create something that will meet the vision that was stated somewhere many moons ago.   Although if we do get some one like that it will be strictly based on sheer dumb luck as opposed to the City really doing anything to encourage innovative development.



  1. Never underestimate the ability for the local political folks to take a great opportunity and squander it. The default vision ends up being: “How can we be more like Emeryville?” It’s a proud tradition, going back to Victorians being demolished for cinder block apartment buildings, and the crap built along the bay front, both before and after the 1950s bay filling. Oh well, if a few well-connected developers prosper, all is well, right?

    Comment by Jack Mingo — April 15, 2014 @ 6:37 am

  2. A recent article in the SF Business times reports that most of San Francisco’s office construction pipeline is already taken, and the next two years of construction – around 3.7 million sq feet will do little to pacify the demand for Class A office space. Salesforce made news last week as they recently leased up half of the Transbay Tower in San Francisco, and the demand for Class A office space continues to rise in San Francisco even as Class A rents move towards $60 per sq ft.

    I think that Alameda Point is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the current market place.

    Regarding the outlet – a premium outlet is a first class – or high quality outlet (not a Vacaville) and is considered to be “destination retail” – which means it attracts tourism.

    Tourists have reportedly spent $9 billion in San Francisco in 2013 – a record breaking number for San Francisco. Meanwhile Oakland has expanded their “Visit Oakland” team – a marketing arm of the city to promote Oakland has a destination.

    A premium outlet center – or destination retail at Alameda Point is truly desirable, and would help promote Alameda has a destination. Hopefully it will come to pass.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 15, 2014 @ 7:26 am

  3. I think Vacaville’s Premium Outlets would disagree with you that they don’t have “high quality” outlets.

    Let’s be real though, tourists are not going to come to Alameda to shop at an outlet mall. Tourists shop in San Francisco because they want to shop in San Francisco. Tourists spend $9 billion in San Francisco because it’s San Francisco. Alameda is great, but when tourists are deciding on where to visit on their trip to San Francisco, not even a premium outlet is going to make them say, “hey, let’s spend a day in Alameda.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — April 15, 2014 @ 7:39 am

  4. I stand corrected, Vacaville has a premium outlet.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 15, 2014 @ 7:46 am

  5. So what is the rush but for a few profits and ego .
    Should the City really be interested in develloping the point they would portion off the land , sell off the plots and require who ever who buys to built and occupy within 2 years ,
    Advantages , Diverse architecture , diverse ethinicity , diverse income bracket . local money to stay within California instead of being exchange like it is when you swipe your credit card at bull’s eyes store , they contribute absolutely nothing for local economy , goods come from overseas money out of State within seconds . are you still looking for school funds ??? the Fire and Police Dept .
    I am very much looking forward for businesses to advertize a California company.
    Want to solve national problem ! act locally to begin with .
    Get local and regional builder as well as regional the chance to compete with large builder , it would bring back wht the bay area lost middle paid jobs which in turn would directly lower crime rate ………

    Major inconvenient, local politician and edge fund would have nothing to say .Polititian will not cash on it ……
    Regardless how you do it , you will still built on a toxic landfill , happy cancer everyone , should we give all prospective buyers a menbership at the Alameda Hospital when they acquire the property .

    You may or may not want to believe me there , so I am simply asking that you Lauren to inquire about installing a small pool in your backyard , I am giving you the answer right is ” NO ” You cannot disturb the soil .I wonder why? and so should you.
    Being aware of this fact , knowing most pollutan slowly raise to the surface very much like Radon does when they built all these houses did they lay down an inexpensive menbrane to seal off that pollution ? if not 20 to 30 years from now we will have a Hell of scientific experiment .
    Regardless what they do , they still have to take care of transportation / traffic , believing People will use public transportation or bicycle is nothing else short of an utopia .
    Very much like when they said computers will cut paper comsumption , they actually increased it …….not my words the revenue from my stocks in paper Co .

    Comment by Mijoka — April 15, 2014 @ 8:57 am

  6. For any grand vision to be realized, it would need to be home to a large portion of its own customers. Thousands of housing units in dense, 4 story mixed use buildings around the lagoon is the only way to generate enough eyes and feet on the street to activate this space and create a there there(for massive economic development at least). Finding and going through the tube, followed by crossing the island at 25mph just isn’t gonna happen for people beyond alameda and DTO, not even for a shiny new Nordstrom Rack. The traffic scolds and NIMBYs will never allow it.

    We will get half a loaf, but hopefully we get some great public spaces out of it at least.

    Comment by BMac — April 15, 2014 @ 10:17 am

  7. The city of Alameda has no experience in being a master developer…and although they hired more people to do it which we can’t afford…they were better off with someone who had experience. People didn’t want SunCal but at least they had experience. Mijoka, had some interesting ideas but you can’t build infrastructure 1 lot at a time.

    I don’t see it looking like Emeryville, I see it looking more like Jack London in Oakland (hodgepodge of Loft/Apt building, retail, warehouses were nothing is cohesive). I agree with Lauren, they should be building high density around Sea Plane Lagoon if they want people to walk to and take the ferries. Although just about anywhere on the base is walkable to Sea Plane Lagoon.

    BMac….btw the speed limit on Atlantic Ave and Main St. is 35mph which means everyone drive 40.

    Comment by Joseph — April 15, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

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