I ran across this story today about development plans for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station. This from the news report:
The “clustered villages” concept calls for 28,900 people, 12,300 housing units, 26,500 jobs and about 3,200 acres of parkland and open space. That’s 64 percent of the base’s 5,028 inland acres, which is the part slated for development.
There’s a bit more detail here, and the Contra Costa Times—one of the parent publications of this blog—has a whole page devoted to the former Navy facility in Concord. You can read up about development at Alameda’s former base on Lauren Do‘s blog and, too, on Michele Ellson’s The Island.
Park Street’s Good Chevrolet announced yesterday that it was closing its doors after 58 years of business. The Alameda Journal‘s Peter Hegarty has the story. According to Alamedans blogger John Knox White, the store closed because of pressure from Chevy Financing:
Apparently, the Chevy’s Financing Company demanded that they pay down their inventory on Monday (rumored to be close to $2 million) and the Owner John Buono said “enough’s enough” and shut the doors.
You can read more about plans for the revitalization of that area, called the “Gateway District,” over at Michele Ellson’s The Island and at Lauren Do’s Blogging Bayport. (For good measure, here’s the City of Alameda’s page on the area.)
This week’s Life on the Island, the column I write for the Alameda Journal, is about last week’s Alameda City Council decision to let the plans for an Orchard Supply Hardware at Towne Centre continue. I know there’s not universal support for the store because many who opposed it went before City Council to make their case, but many Alamedans I’ve talked to over the years are eager for more local shopping options, even if they’re not locally owned. What’s most interesting to me in the instance of the OSH, is that we’re not talking about new development. We’re talking about a filling an existing building in an existing shopping center.
If you’re like me, you have a hard time getting your mind around development at the the former Naval weapons station. How many years has it been since the Navy left? And how is it that price tag for the property went from $1 to over a $100 million dollars? Confusing. Michele Ellson, writing in today’s Alameda Journal, has a good article about the development plan just submitted to the city by SunCal Companies, the current chosen developer. For more info on the plan, Lauren Do has this post, and this one, too. For all Lauren’s Point-related posts, go here.
I was over at Pagano’s this morning (did you know they now carry Benjamin Moore paint?) and talking to Pat, who is always helpful, and who was mixing up a white for my basement ceiling. We were talking about the Orchard Supply Hardware that it looks like we may soon have in South Shore/Alameda Towne Centre (the City Council voted last night, 4-1, to deny an appeal that sought to keep them out.) I am a local business loyalist and, even before I gave up my car, I made every effort to shop locally. But with local shopping, comes a need for more local options. Do you know that most retail dollars spent by Alamedans are spent off-island? Do you know that sales tax dollars are an essential line item in the city’s budget? In any case, I of course don’t want Pat to lose her job, or business at Pagano’s to drop, or Encinal Hardare to suffer—and I will continue to frequent those stores because, let’s face it, the service is great. But if we’re going to boost coffers we need to get more folks shopping in-town, and more options are not a bad thing.
For those who haven’t already made a habit it of it, there’s lots of good Alameda info coming out of The Island, a blog run by Michele Ellson, a former print reporter gone Internet (though she’s got a piece on current golf course developments in Tuesday’s Journal).
Recent posts include one about Knife Catchers, a biting little blog offering running snarky commentary on Alameda real estate. Another gives voice to the news that maybe, just maybe Clif Bar, will settle in town.
There’s an article in the current East Bay Express about solar in Alameda. The headline, “Less Than Light Speed,” and much of the story takes what seems to be the greater-Bay-Area’s default stance toward Alameda: Alameda is backwards. Though, if you read the whole article, it sounds like city departments—after a solar contractor complained about turn-around times for permits at an Alameda Power & Telecom board meeting in July—are actually working hard to streamline the process: the city responded by coming up with a plan to issue solar permits within five days.
I did learn (if the Express reporter got it right) that Alameda Power & Telecom, as an independent utility, didn’t have (as other California cities have had since 2001) a state-funded consumer rebate program, until a new law, “Million Solar Roofs,” went into effect at the beginning of this year.
And for those of you interested in alternative sources of power, you might enjoy reading about this gym or this bike.
A second lawsuit was filed Monday in Alameda County Court against Measure H, the school parcel tax that passed with the support of just over two-thirds of Alameda voters in early June.
The first suit, filed last week by Pleasanton-based lawyer David Brillant on behalf of George J. Borikas is thought to have been supported and funded by several dozen local businesses. The second was filed by the high-powered law firm, Reed Smith, on behalf of local developer, John Beery.
School Board President Bill Schaff:
We’re sad to see another lawsuit. We would like to try to find some common ground with the business community…we still don’t have a state budget, we know we’ll still have an underfunding issue and we have to find some resolution that is good for our kids and that also can work for the business community.
You can look at both cases here, by entering the case numbers. Borikas is VG08405316 and Beery is RG08405984.
Saturday I was driving my son down to a birthday party at the Bladium and he asked, as we passed that long brick structure on Buena Vista across the street from Littlejohn Park, “What’s that building for, Mom?” I hemmed and hawed, not really knowing. “I think it used to be where they packed fruit. It might be vacant now.” But today Alameda’s own Lauren Do has a post about some developments at the old Del Monte building, which one city document indicates was built in 1927 by the Alaska Packing Corporation. For fruit? For fish? I still don’t know. But it sounds like soon it’ll be an Asian-themed marketplace-type-establishment. Lauren has lots of details.
It was pretty much me, an Alameda Journal photographer, and Julia P. Tracey and another Sun reporter this morning at the ‘sneak peek’ tour of the new Borders. The store officially opened for business today at 1 pm.
I found the horde (four? five?) of PR folks very endearing, especially Tim Anderson (pictured above with puppets in the children’s section), who gave the tour.
It’s a nice store. It’s clean and bright and spacious. And, despite all their hyped-up focus on technological bells and whistles, it’s much like all the newer mega bookstores, with a cafe, easy-to-find book sections, appealingly-displayed wares and lots of cozy places to sit and relax.
And, yes, while I suspect our youth will make full use of the digital downloading, photo-album-making, book publishing stations, I’m most fond, I think, of the balcony on the east of the building, where you might just be able to sip a latte in peace. Main drawback I see? No free wireless (you gotta pay to play through T-Mobile). Though, Anderson says, some time in the future free wifi might just be ours.
You can find a list of the May 30 – June 1 grand opening weekend events (there’s about 20 of them, including visits from the likes of Strawberry Shortcake and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Jr.) online here.