Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 3, 2011

Higher appraisal

Quick post because I’m short on time today, the new appraisals have come out for the Mif Albright property and they vary pretty widely.

Just to refresh your memories the initial appraisal of the Mif Albright back in July came in at $9,150,000 to compare the North Loop property was appraised at $8,790,000.


October 21, 2011

Falling to pieces

I want to start this post out my pointing out that I have never seen any benefit to the Ron Cowan land swap and have been pretty down on the whole concept pretty much from the start.   Yes, even before all these people started cropping out of the woodwork to be so vehemently against the project.   But I have to say that the kitchen sink approach that is now being used to be against the land swap is almost as frustrating as the presumptuousness of Ron Cowan and Co.   Almost.

There are a lot of good arguments against the land swap, but the conspiracy theories, the allegations of collusion and the whole finger survey thing is just getting a bit ridiculous.


October 19, 2011

Those fingertips

There is this email that has been floating around about an informal poll being taken on Bay Farm in response to the Ron Cowan development land swap thingamajig.   At this point the whole proposal has taken on this epic weirdness that someone needs to come up with a good acronym for all the moving parts.   Adding to the cluster is this informal traffic survey that is being done by a “coalition of your neighborhood home owner associations.”

So this whole week during the morning commute HOA staff will be taking a “finger survey” to figure out where people are going in the morning.   If you are confused about what a finger survey is, here are excerpts from the email describing the reasoning behind using this methodology:


October 14, 2011

Show time Synergy

A few bits and pieces into the weekend. To follow up on the Chipman/Encinal/Del Monte terminals project, apparently the property is currently in foreclosure and under court receivership right now based on the discussion at the Planning Board on Monday, so it looks like things might be on hold for a while until that’s all sorted out.

I’m sure by now everyone has read the Op-Ed from Harbor Bay Isle Associates touting the Mif Albright Land Swap. So here was my overall reaction, I guess I had never understood why Ron Cowan was so despised in Alameda. I get the whole building a bunch of housing doesn’t necessarily make one that popular in Alameda, but the deep rooted contempt that is sometimes attached to his name was rather odd for newcomers like me.

Reading the op-ed made me understand a little better why there is such a contempt for Ron Cowan and Co.


September 27, 2011

I have to appraise you like I should, redux

Yesterday, John Knox White posted a very common sense blog about the Mif Albright land swap and why the City needed to apply the brakes on reviewing the new negotiated Memorandum of Agreement with Ron Cowan/Harbor Bay Realty and instead get a second appraisal on the two properties in question.

The original assessment appeared to be based on some assumptions about both properties that one could surmise would lead to one parcel being overvalued and the other undervalued.   Of course with the appraisals completely out of whack, this leaves the city in a disadvantaged negotiating position with Harbor Bay Realty, since the only appraisal available would leave one to believe that the cost of the two are nearly identical.

I know that Golf Commission President, Jane Sullwold, has been all over this issue of the appraisals since they were first released.


July 26, 2011

I have to appraise you like I should

Yesterday, I wrote about my concerns about the proposed Mif Albright land swap.  At the City Council meeting, the direction was to negotiate further with Ron Cowan to come up with a better plan.   However, if they are going to be starting from the land appraisals that were done for the two properties then the City is already coming in at a disadvantaged negotiating position.

The City commissioned two appraisals to gauge the potential land value of the Mif Albright site and the North Loop site.   The appraisals generated the following potential values to the two sites:


July 12, 2011

It’s the Ron way

Tonight, there is a special meeting of the City Council to discuss Ron Cowan’s land swap plan for the Mif Albright Golf Course that had been rumored about for years, denied, and then sprung upon the public at another meeting earlier this year.

Here is the packet.  According to the Staff Report, here’s the nutshell of the new proposal:

  • Provide 12. 25 acres of land for public sports fields on the North Loop Road parcels;
  • Work with the North Loop Road Business Association , the Harbor Bay Business Park Association, and companies located near the North Loop Road site to contribute addition funding for construction of the sports facilities so that no public dollars are involved;
  • Work with the property owners in the Harbor Bay Business Park to ensure that maintenance of the sports facilities is included in the work program of the Harbor Bay Business Park Zone of the City s Island City Landscape and Lighting District 8402 and paid for with assessments levied on the properties in the business park;
  • Provide $5 million in cash to the City, which the City can allocate between the Golf Complex and the sports fields as needed , with an assurance that sufficient funding will be made available for the design and building of the new Mif Albright Course;
  • Exchange title to its 12. 25 acres of land for title to the City s existing Mif Albright property; and
  • Develop new homes on the Mif Albright property.

April 15, 2011

Sporting chance

All right, yesterday I mentioned in passing (and tweeted it) even earlier:

As City Staff promised they slapped up Ron Cowan’s land swap proposal up on the internet pretty darn fast.   And it must have been a task because it looks like from the scans that whoever put together the packet might have actually typed (!) a portion of the application.   And by typed, I mean, with a real typewriter.   You know, the one not connected to a monitor.   The kind that goes clickety-clack when you press the keys.   Yes, typed.  Someone get Harbor Bay Isle Associates a copy of Adobe Acrobat and a lesson in creating forms, stat!  But I digress.


April 14, 2011

Reporting on the CAFR: you’re doing it wrong

On Tuesday night, after the whole business about the Golf Complex was completed.  The decision was that the City Council would give City Staff time to review the proposal by Ron Cowan before making any definitive decisions.    KemperSports seemed sufficiently chastened by prospects that any number of alternate operators might be able to fill in for them and came in a lot more flexible than before.   Acting City Manager Lisa Goldman confirmed that our former Interim City Manager had made promises to KemperSports that the City would issue tax-exempt bonds to finance KemperSports’ capital improvements to the site (in the neighborhood of $5 million) and that KemperSports would pay the debt service on the bonds, which Lisa Goldman put the kibosh on because it wouldn’t be kosher.

The City Council asked to have City Staff work on a pinning down a few more items in the Alameda Junior Golf Association term sheet and then to bring back a lease to the Council.   I’ll talk more about the Cowan plan when I get a chance to review it, but another equally interesting conversation occurred after most people vacated the room last night that John P. hinted at in yesterday’s comments.


April 12, 2011

Don’t tell me not to live, just sit and putt

Tonight, the City Council, which has been meeting quite a few times since the new Council was seated, will be taking up the issue of the Golf Course, different options and asking for direction from the City Council on how to move forward.   Interestingly enough, as part of the packet, City Staff has included several letters from a few different golf operators who are interested in stepping in if Kemper is unwilling or unable  to do what the City Council would like them to do.  At least three different companies: Bellows Golf Management, Greenway Golf, and Bill Casper Golf, have sent solicitations to the City of Alameda.

And, if that wasn’t enough to complicate matters, there is a letter from Ron Cowan of Harbor Bay Isle Associates who has now come forward about his interest in the land swap idea that was floating around two years ago.   The land swap idea, just to remind folks, is that the City would transfer the land that the Mif Albright is currently situated on for this site that is currently owned by Harbor Bay Isle Associates.    He is offering to build Alameda favorites, soccer fields and baseball fields, in exchange from being able to build his homes on the Mif Albright land.


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