Harbor Bay Club closure threat bogus

With the start of the New Year, Harbor Bay Neighbors have been working hard on several fronts. And what we've found so far is bound to turn more than just a few heads.

Harbor Bay Isle Associates continues to say "the club needs to move to stay in business" and this "is not debatable." This position suggests that the club is: losing money at its current location with its current amenities, and will go out of business if it is not moved to the Business Park and replaced with either houses or a hotel/conference center.

Naturally, this led us to dig into the finances of Harbor Bay Club.

What did we find?

In 2008, HBIA, using a side company called Harbor Bay Club Associates LP, took a $6 million loan against Harbor Bay Club and then rolled that into a $7 million loan in July 2013 (from public loan documents from 2008 and 2013).

A loan of this magnitude typically requires the cash flow from the business to be at least 120 percent greater than the debt service and the loan amount to be no more than 65 percent of the value of the collateral (in this case the land).

So, despite the payments on a $7 million loan, the club must be generating a sizable income stream for HBIA. Ron Cowan also has millions of dollars worth of equity in the business, which he would hardly walk away from by going out of business. No one with any financial sense would be so fiscally irresponsible as to default on a profitable a business like this, especially a multimillionaire developer.

This financial revelation changes everything. It reinforces that HBIA is not concerned with providing a quality facility (or they would have reinvested a chunk of that $6 million from 2008 into deferred maintenance at the existing club) and proves the club is financially stable with no threat of closure.

So, why do they keep saying they will close? We believe HBIA simply refuses to accept the fact that Cowan is not "entitled" to build more homes in a completed Planned Unit Development where there isn't any available property. So, they've resorted to a cheap scare tactic. We don't buy it, and neither should you.

Let's be clear: Harbor Bay Neighbors favors renovating (or rebuilding) the club at its existing location so it stays an amenity for the residents it is specifically designated to serve. And with $7 million in their pocket, HBIA should be able to figure out a staged renovation plan. (Think TransBay Terminal in San Francisco, which continues to serve 100,000 customers daily while they build a new transit hub. It can be done.)

We need your help. With the threat of club closure discredited, moving the club and building houses or a hotel on the current property offers nothing to our community. It's time to tell the city to reject HBIA's application now and focus city resources where they are needed, such as on the redevelopment of Alameda Point. To win this fight, we need you to tell city officials what you think about these new revelations -- even if you've emailed them before.

Tim Coffey

Harbor Bay Neighbors

Thanks to those who made event a success

The success of Kiwanis Foundation's 15th annual Chili Cookoff was underscored by our sponsors and more than 100 merchants, vendors and supporters donating to the silent auction. Proceeds from this event go to other Alameda nonprofits and as scholarships to graduating seniors.

We heartily thank each of the following for their participation in this community event:

Sponsors: Alameda Business Network, Dominic McKenna-Edward Jones, Harbor Bay Realty, Bank of Alameda/Bank of Marin, H&R Block, Jan Nichols-Franz Piano Studio, Sterling Mortgage, Advanced Health, Alameda Fire Fighters Local 689, Hewitt, Jones & Fitch.

Silent Auction donors: Diaper Connection, Chuck Corica Golf Complex, Wendy Sanda, Dave and Joyce Denyven, Golfland Castro Valley, Alameda Theater, Pacific Pinball, Subpar Mini Golf, Color Me Mine, Mark Sorenson and Tom Squire, Linda and Russ Grant, Dave Hewitt, Kristy Perkins, JC Cellars, Kevin Brown, Bladium, Books Inc, Donsuemor cookies, Seelenbacher Jewely, Total Woman, Bob and Heidi Larsen, Jessica Catano, Scott's Shoes, DB Shoes, Fred's Wrenchouse, Jim Franz, Jan Nichols, First Community Bank, Berkeley Electric, Alameda Bike, Barry and Lolly Parker, Alameda Eyes Optometry, Mariner Square Athletic Club, Dawna Dowdell, Pier 29, Oteaz Restaurant, Alameda Beauty Center, Southshore Car Wash, Panera Bread, China House, Sumbody, FDR Potomac, Black Angus Restaurant, Waterfront Hotel, Pagano's, Daisy's Gift Shop, Gayle Gow, Altarena Playhouse, Ulta Beauty & Spa, Anna and John Towata, Gerard and Leslie Falcone, Rythmix, East Ocean Seafood, Jim Sweeney, Dog Bone Alley, Gayle Thomas, Scott and Cindy MacAskill, Ed and Peg Kofman, Will Golden, The North Face, 1400 Restaurant, Cera Una Volta, Raintree Studios, Dave Edwards, Bob and Darlene Hessler, Leid Design Group, Melissa Margolin L.C., Cheryl Saxton, Barbara Capon, Stephanie Prothero, Bonne Vie, Aphrodite's Closet, Trader Joe's, Kendra Holloway, Oakland Raiders, Laura and Todd Palmer, Peggy and Bob Lubeck, Natalie Gelman, Safeway, JP Seafood, John Jacobs, Alameda Auto Lab, P.F. Chang, Asena Restaurant, Gold Coast Restaurant, Doug Korach, Claire Thompkins.

Diane Lichtenstein

Kiwanis Club of Alameda