ALAMEDA -- A developer wants to build 80 homes at the site of the Harbor Bay Club on Bay Farm Island and replace the club with an expanded fitness facility at the Harbor Bay Business Park.

The new club would be built on the other side of Bay Farm Island along North Loop Road between the Chinese Christian School and KinderCare Learning Center, while if approved the homes would be the last built as part of the Harbor Bay development.

The proposal from Ron Cowan's Harbor Bay Isle Associates comes just more than a year after the City Council rejected his plan to build up to 130 homes on a portion of the city-owned Chuck Corica Golf Complex in exchange for 12 acres at the business park for public sports fields.

The developer's proposal prompted allegations of backroom deals, sparked division among supporters of youth sports and inspired a citizens' group to launch a successful campaign to change the city charter to prevent officials swapping any public land without first securing voter approval. Some residents also threatened to launch a recall of any councilmember who supported the swap.

Kathy Moehring, director of community affairs for the Harbor Bay Group, briefed the City Council on Tuesday about Cowan's latest proposal, saying it was in the interest of transparency.

"We speculate that the process of design, permitting and construction will take two years," Moehring said.


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Councilmembers did not comment because the proposal was not on the agenda. Zoning and other issues prevent Cowan from building homes at the business park. He contends that the city must give him an alternative site because the units fall under an April 1989 development agreement that cleared the way for his Harbor Bay Isle project.

The current proposal for 80 homes on nine acres of the business park represents a 65 percent reduction in the 227 homes that the developer is legally entitled to build under the agreement, Moehring said. The current health and fitness club at 200 Packet Landing Road sits on 12 acres and features a spa, a 25-meter heated swimming pool and 19 tennis courts.

"This new site is comparable in size to the current club property and ideally suited to support the increased square footage, lush landscaping, water features, tennis courts, pools and best-in-class amenities planned for the new club," General Manager Tim Hoppen said in a Tuesday letter to club members.

Among the features of the new club would be an extra pool, Hoppen said. It would also have more room for cardio and weight training, outdoor buffers between family- and adult-use areas and more studios for yoga, Pilates and group exercise programs.

"We are ecstatic to have the unique opportunity to develop a truly special club that will provide members for generations to enjoy an experience that combines the latest industry innovations and programming while preserving the resort-like serenity and family-fun vibe that members have come to enjoy at the current club," Hoppen said.

If city officials greenlight the proposal, the current club would remain open until the new facility is built, when work would then begin on the homes. An estimated cost for the project, including tearing down the club and building the new facility, was not immediately available.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.

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