You want to know what led to the the beachfront at South Shore looking the way that it does? Look no further than the City Council meeting from Tuesday night. Essentially we have created the draft for a “vision” for the Town Center portion of Alameda Point. I means it’s really not much of a vision other a few form based codes, very general zoning, some height limits, and open space requirements. That’s it. As long as the developer doesn’t violate anything in the “Precise Plan” then it’s open season.
The agreement from last night’s meeting was to open this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), not proposals, because we don’t want to see what people might do, we just want someone who has the financial ability and the past history to have been able to do something to build anything.
Given the scope of the RFQ and the limitations placed on the developers, it’s HIGHLY unlikely that we’re going to get anything visionary, innovative, or special. And given the constrained time line (six months) it’s even less likely we’re going to get anyone of quality and we’ll just get some cookie cutter developer that has some plan they’ve tried out elsewhere that they think they might be able to shoe horn at Alameda Point.
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:
According to a twitter report, signature gatherers at the San Francisco Transbay Terminal are telling voters (who ask) that if the ballot measure is successful to rezone Crab Cove/Neptune Pointe/that GSA property thingie to open space a possible lawsuit against the City of Alameda is “no big deal” and that money to pay for a lawsuit is already budgeted in the Parks and Rec budget:
As part of the Planning Board meeting about a week ago, the topic of the new Housing Element was discussed. Alameda is currently working on completing the Housing Element for the next cycle. Yes, I know it seems like we just completed a Housing Element, but this is the timeline. This time around we have plenty of land supply to meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) so that’s not an issue. What did come up during the public comment was that a housing advocacy group in Alameda might be pushing for a “rent stabilization ordinance” like neighboring cities, which essentially means that they’ll be seeking rent control for Alameda to be included in the Housing Element as a way to maintain the affordability of the housing stock.
Possibly what has brought he issue of rent stabilization in Alameda to the forefront was first the very publicized case of Benton Street and the much less publicized case of the SRO units above McGees. Add to that the very public battle in Oakland over rent increases, capital improvement passthroughs, etc it is a very current topic to be discussed.
So no one bit yesterday about the magic disappearance of the Charles Company from the City Council’s April 1 agenda. I couldn’t find the old reference until I visited the City website yesterday.
Here was the Closed Session agenda item:
Tonight the City Council now gets to be in the unenviable position of being yelled at by people about the land swap-y deal. The School District has put up a FAQ answering some of the questions that were asked at previous meetings. The City has also put up their own quick and dirty summary of how the land swap works as well, which is here:
So I was watching Tuesday night’s School Board meeting and here’s what I was struck with. One of the arguments that kept coming up, particularly from the neighbors from the Wedge neighborhood because they seem particularly unhappy, is that the School District is getting a raw deal.
It is strange when you consider the narrative that has been repeated during the whole GSA Neptune Point thing is that the GSA and the City and whoever should have bent over backward to accommodate the East Bay Recreational Parks District and essentially hand over the property at whatever price the EBRPD wanted to pay. Accusations were lodged that the City of Alameda wasn’t working as a partner with the EBRPD and that it was the onus of government agencies to work with one another.
So big-ish news, Ron Cowan has now decided that he wants to separate his application to build new Harbor Bay Club from any other development he may propose for the old Harbor Bay Club space. Meaning that he wants the City to okay the new Harbor Bay Club and forget he ever said anything about building anything at the old Harbor Bay Club space. Here’s the open letter.
Of course the Harbor Bay Club neighbors are having none of that. Since Ron Cowan is pretty much synonymous with everything that is horrible about developers in general, they are urging the City to reject that idea because they fear some ulterior motive in this new approach that Ron Cowan is taking. As in: Ron Cowan will build his new Harbor Bay Club which will then kill the old Harbor Bay Club because people like bright and shiny new things and then it will become blighted and the Ron Cowan will swoop in, point to its blighted state and say “see! we have to build something else now! mwhahahahahah!”
I won’t disagree that that probably is the plan of Ron Cowan, but at this point, I don’t think the City can push back and say, “Nope. You have to submit what you are doing for both sites.” I’m pretty sure that’s not how these things work.
I know I should be writing about the Housing Element 2015-2023 at the Planning Board tonight, but I don’t want to. So tonight is a Public Review of the Housing Element for 2015 -2023 at the Planning Board tonight if you are interested. That’s sort of the big agenda item. The other agenda item is a presentation on some housing plans at the Del Monte building but there are no documents so it’s not clear what’s going on with that one. I can’t get that excited about anything at the Del Monte building these days because it changes all the damn time.
Anyway, what I did want to write about was the big news about Google owned Makani Power which is going to be signing a pretty sweet lease at Alameda Point for more than 110,000 square feet of additional space. That’s pretty significant because (1) it’s a lot of square footage and (2) it’s Google dammit. The initial lease will be for six years with five three-year renewal options, which could mean that Google as Makani Power will be here for the long haul. Makani Power, in case you didn’t know does research around generating electricity from wind power.
So everything sounds good right? I mean, we’re getting a sort of a Google campus right?
Just wanted to post a link to this op-ed from the Alameda Sun, since someone on my Facebook page asked if any attention would be given to piece. It was an eloquent defense of Stewart Chen which said exactly what I wanted to write (except for the part about voting for him and being interested in voting for him again) albeit with a lot more gravitas and conviction.
This part is especially quote worthy:
Something that happened 20 minutes ago may be relevant and probative. Something that happened 20 years ago may be relevant, but it is certainly not probative of anything at this time. Time, in fact, does make a difference. The very foundation of the procedure in California to expunge a conviction from one’s record is the belief that one can be rehabilitated and, therefore, should be given a second chance, free and clear of that conviction.