Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 12, 2014

Swap Trek IV: the Voided Homes

Filed under: Alameda, Business, City Council, Development — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

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.


January 29, 2014

Swap Trek III: the search for space

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

I’ve been sort of ignoring the whole Ron Cowan/Harbor Bay Club swap-y thing lately because it’s kinda reached levels of absurdity.  When last we left this saga Ron Cowan had sent out menacing emails and I actually never wrote about Ron Cowan’s latest plan to build a hotel in the place of the Harbor Bay Club if his residential development was not allowed to move forward.  FYI, don’t visit the website for the architecture firm, it is the most obnoxious thing ever.

I mean, is there a lot more than that?  Ron Cowan says that he wants to build a hotel and “conference center” if the City opts not to rezone the Harbor Bay Club to residential.   Because lots of people have expressed a desire for hotel space on Bay Farm Island.  Right?   The whole plan for the hotel is to put up an alternative — a less desirable alternative but not so outlandish that it doesn’t pass the laugh test — that would be objectionable to neighbors that they might reconsider the houses as the lesser of the two evils.


November 13, 2013

Thrown for a North Loop

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

The easiest part of Ron Cowan’s bid to build housing at the current site of the Harbor Bay Club is before the the Planning Board tonight and that is the rezoning of the North Loop parcel from open space to some type of commercial.   It would be difficult — given the arguments that have been lobbed against various projects put forward including the new-HBC and the old plan to put a sport complex of sorts during the Mif swap era — to say that it should still remain open space.   So I imagine that this one should be approved without much fanfare.

All right, I totally mucked this one up.  I had assumed that anything submitted by Ron Cowan would naturally be a part of the new HBC swap-y thing.  Turns out, this is another parcel that Ron Cowan wants to convert from Open Space to Commercial.   I guess he’s on quite the development kick these days or just wants to be able to sell the land.  This one should actually get some push back from the Planning Board because it must have been zoned open space for a reason (aka because there should be a specific development there: restaurant).   I don’t know if the rationale of “peeps want to buy it if we can rezone it” is a good enough reason.    But anyway, sorry about the earlier mistake!

Oh, since I’m on the topic, the last Planning Board meeting went pretty well even though the EIR scoping for the Harbor Bay Club homes was on the agenda.  The opponents of the new Ron Cowan developments took a page out of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society book and put their best foot forward and let the overly emotional speakers stay in the audience.   Although there were a few notable exceptions including the speaker who suggested that putting the Harbor Bay Club at the North Loop site was a bad idea because there are a bunch of creepy people that work at the business parks over there and the women and children that might use the facility could be in grave danger.   It’s probably all the VF Outdoor rock climbing hippies he’s referring to.   We all know how much of a danger they are amirite?  I hope someone also warned the the students and parents at the Preschool down the street and Chinese Christian Schools.   Because if the area is too dangerous for potential Harbor Bay Club members clearly it’s too dangerous for those long term tenants as well.


September 30, 2013

Swap Trek II: the Wrath of Cowan

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

A few early morning  updates in the body!


So over the weekend I received this forwarded email that was sent to Mayor Marie Gilmore and City Manager John Russo, but to their personal email addresses so you aren’t going to get a copy if you try to do a public records request.   It was sent to them from Ron Cowan, I’m not even going to try to nutshell it for you, just see for yourself.   The “redacted” is because they are the personal email addresses of the Mayor and the City Manager:

cowan email


September 27, 2013

Doesn’t really matter

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

The initial study for the proposed New Harbor Bay Club (New-HBC) (an subsequently the new housing development at old Harbor Bay Club) is up on the City’s website which means that Ron Cowan is deadly serious about this thing.

So the current club looks like this:

And the new club, err…lots will look like this if Ron Cowan successfully pulls this off:


April 18, 2013

One more try

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

All right, quick Alameda Landing update.   At Tuesday night’s meeting, City Manager John Russo pretty much spilled the beans on the proposed burger joint for the entry parcel at Alameda Landing.   He mentioned that if the business comes in then his spouse will no longer need to drive to the Oakland Airport weekly to pick up burgers for their teenage boys.   The only chain burger restaurant that can’t be found anywhere but at the Oakland Airport is In N Out.  Oh wait, I guess it could be Wendy’s too, but few people get excited about a weekly trip to Wendy’s.

As I mentioned yesterday one of the big new items to come out of the meeting was an announcement by Harbor Bay Isle Associates aka Ron Cowan and friends to move the existing Harbor Bay Club to North Loop Road which sits in the middle of a flight path and a bunch of commercial buildings.  Most recently was offered up as part of a land swap deal for the Mif Albright parcel.  Previously was the site where Ron Cowan wanted to build a bunch of housing units under a flight path.

After the Harbor Bay Club is fully moved to the North Loop site, which is going to be “state-of-the-art” and “sustainable”, key buzz words if you are going to do anything these days, HBIA will be building 80 units on the old Harbor Bay Club site.

After their announcement at Tuesday’s meeting they immediately sent out a mass email with a link to their construction blog.


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:


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.


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 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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