ALAMEDA -- The developer behind the proposal to build homes on the site of the Harbor Bay Club wants city officials to consider an alternative plan that calls for a hotel with 212 guest rooms, a conference center and a restaurant with a full bar.
A new fitness club with an outdoor swimming pool and two tennis courts is also part of the proposal that developer Ron Cowan's Harbor Bay Isle Associates is now putting forward for the approximately nine-acre site at 200 Packet Landing Road.
So far, city officials have not reviewed the proposed hotel and conference center, which the developer wants included as an alternative use under the Environmental Impact Report covering the plan to build 80 homes on the property, plus a new fitness club at the Harbor Bay Business Park.
City Planner Andrew Thomas said the hotel and conference center could come before the Planning Board late next month or early February.
A conceptual site plan prepared by San Francisco-based MCG Architecture shows separate low-rise buildings that would house the hotel lobby and guest rooms, a two-story, 8,000-square-foot restaurant and a 3,000-square-foot fitness center and spa.
The conference center would total 9,500 square feet, according to the plan. A parking lot with 254 spaces would border Packet Landing Road and the pool would be located at the center of the development.
"The ample meeting spaces and supportive facilities would attract conferences with attendees coming to the site from the Oakland airport or driving to the site from elsewhere in the Bay Area," Daniel Reidy, an attorney who represents the developer, said in a Dec. 9 letter to city officials. "The relatively quiet retreat-like setting would be an attractive amenity for guests and conference attendees compared to more intense and crowded urban settings."
The neighborhood would also not need to be rezoned to allow the hotel and center, which could boost city coffers through hotel occupancy and sales taxes, Reidy said.
"I am surprised that they would consider putting a hotel into a primarily residential area," said Tim Coffey of Harbor Bay Neighbors, which wants the current club to remain at the site. "It's clearly not part of the master development plan for the neighborhood and it's clearly not a good idea."
The property is also near Amelia Earhart Elementary School, Coffey said.
"A hotel would place a transitory population near the largest elementary school in Alameda," he said. "That should be a red flag for everyone."
Coffey and other neighbors said the athletic club should remain because it was built to serve nearby residents, a key reason why city officials approved it more than three decades ago.
Along with causing increased traffic, the proposed 80 single-family homes would block views of existing residents and limit open space along San Leandro Bay, according to critics.
The bay's projected sea level rise would also threaten any new homes since they would be built close to the shoreline, they say.
The current athletic club sits on 12 acres and features a spa, 19 tennis courts and other amenities. The new club proposed for the Harbor Business Park would have three pools, eight tennis courts and an all-weather sports field. It would be built on about nine acres on North Loop Road near the Chinese Christian School and the KinderCare Learning Center.
Developer Ron Cowan's proposal to build homes at the current club location comes 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.
Zoning and other issues prevent Cowan from building the homes at the business park.
Contact Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him at Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.