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Pacita Dimacali's Blog

By Pacita Dimacali | Agent in Alameda, CA
  • Former Alameda Naval Base....what lies in the future for Alameda Point?

    Posted Under: General Area in Alameda, Quality of Life in Alameda, Market Conditions in Alameda  |  April 11, 2013 5:06 PM  |  1,172 views  |  No comments

    What is Alameda Point in Alameda CA?

    This is nearly 1/3 of the land mass of Alameda CA. So what is it? What is there? What are they planning to do there?

    Alameda Point used to be the home of Alameda Naval Station (NAS) that closed in 1997.  This station was turned over to the city of Alameda in 2011. Most recently, the Navy received an additional $10 million in clean-up funds.

    Since it closed, there have been numerous plans for what to do with this fabulous piece of real estate that is nearly one-third of the entire land mass of the island of Alameda CA.

    Alameda Point Info explores its future. How should it be used? As a sanctuary for wild life? Mixed-use for housing, retail and commercial? 

    Alameda Point

    According to The Alamedan, that after several failed attempts, development may start next year.Hornet in Alameda Ca

    “Ott and the city’s top planner, Andrew Thomas, said they’re working to assemble a framework that will offer potential investors some specifics on what can be built in certain areas of the Point, and also to generate fresh cost estimates for the roads, water pipes and other infrastructure needed to support as much as 5.5 million square feet of commercial space, roughly 1,400 new homes, parks and other development that could occur there.”


    What’s will we find and enjoy in Alameda Point

    For now, we are enjoying several places that are lively and kicking in Alameda Point. Although the former base has many vacant buildings and barracks, there are several areas in use.Auction in Alameda CA

    Kids and grown-ups frequent the skateboard park with its fantastic backdrop: the San Francisco skyline.

    History buffs tour the air-craft carrier, the Hornet, which is now a museum where they hold special events including overnight family events and big band dances. 

    Wine (beer and other spirits) aficionados flock to Rosenblum Cellars, Rock Wall Wine Company, St. George Spirits and Hangar One for tastings.

    Antique shoppers attend the auction, or go the first Sunday of every month to the largest Antiques Faire in the Bay area.

    Bladium Sports and Fitness occupies an entire hangar where it offers soccer, hockey and Alameda Point housingbasketball courts, climbing walls, full gyms, etc.

    The popular TV show, Myth Busters, films here. And believe it or not, one of the most exciting car chases on Matrix Reloaded was also filmed here.

    Along the estuary, we have a dog park next to the Alameda Ferry to San Francisco.

    And there are homes for rent to folks who want the experience of living in what was once one of the best settings for a military base in the country.

  • Did you know that Alameda CA has second highest number of boat slips per capita of any city in the world?

    Posted Under: General Area in Alameda, Quality of Life in Alameda, In My Neighborhood in Alameda  |  March 20, 2013 10:51 PM  |  932 views  |  No comments

    Did you know that  Alameda CA has second highest number of boat slips per capita of any city in the world?

    According to San Francisco Business Times in their feature article on Alameda CA

    "Alameda has the second highest number of boat slips per capita of any city in the world, after Marina Del Rey."

    Alameda is an island with access to San Francisco Bay and beyond. We are just a short drive (or ferry ride) away from San Francisco, and a few minutes drive from Berkeley and Oakland.

    Will Coast Guard ships count as boats?

    The Coast Guard island is between Oakland and Alameda. And the Coast Guard has its own housing development for their folks. 

    Coast Guard ships in Alameda CA

    Marinas all around the island

    As one would expect there are a lot of marinas and boat slips, whose boaters come from all over the Bay area.

    There are several marinas/yacht clubs (about 11).

    When walking the dogs, I particularly like going down by Fortman, Alameda and Grand Marinas because they provide a very nice pave path lined with flowers, and with views of the Coast Guard ships at dock, not to mention the many boats in their slips. 

    From time to time, we'll also see several kayakers as well as the UC-Berkeley rowing team practicing at the estuary separating Alameda fom Oakland.

    The marinas are by the trail that also meander by the Grand Marina Village, the latest development featuring 3-story homes by Warmington Homes.

    Boaters who like to hear live music and unwind with a few brews and some finger-lickin' foods may stop by the Roosters on Grand Avenue....but that's the subject of another blog. 

    We're so lucky that Alameda has many sunny days with mild temperatures, and many places to see and enjoy.

    By the way, I took all these photos using my iphone.
  • What will they do with the old Coast Guard Housing in Alameda CA

    Posted Under: General Area in Alameda, Quality of Life in Alameda, In My Neighborhood in Alameda  |  March 20, 2013 2:28 AM  |  758 views  |  No comments

    It's A Mystery --- what will they do with the Old Coast Guard housing in Alameda CA


    Alameda is such a small island, and has its share of mysteries such as what they’re going to do with Alameda Point, a former naval base.

    On a smaller case, what will they do with the old Coast Guard housing? Surely, it's not abandoned because of any toxicity because the new housing is directly across the street.

    One of our favorite walks is along the Coast Guard near Alameda Point, and literally around the corner from Rosenblum Cellars and the Alameda Ferry on Main Street.


    The old housing


    I have a question about the old Coast Guard housing that caught caught my eye, especially because of the beautifully kept grounds.


    Old Coast Guard Marina Housing in Alameda CA

    At one time, this complex was teeming with people engaged in all kinds of activities. There are remnants of soccer fields, basketball courts, huge playgrounds. There are  housing units, six to a building. There must be around 200+ units there. Each unit has an enclosed patio and storage building, and a designated parking space in front.

    Today, all units are vacant. There are signs that vandals have slipped by and smashed some windows and doors.  Nonetheless, this area still looks beautiful thanks to the Coast Guard housing staff who does an excellent job maintaining the grounds and who make sure the grass is cut, the trash and litter picked up. 


    The new housing


    The old housing complex is directly across a newer one where each unit has 3 stories with attached garages. This new complex has units crammed together with less open space than the old one.  Instead of a larger or master playground to allow families to mingle and interact, there are small green spaces and play areas between buildings. Somehow, this arrangement appears to foster less outdoor activities than the old one.


    Coast Guard Marina Housing in Alameda CA


    What are the plans for the old housing?


    So the question is....what are they going to do with the old housing?

    Because housing in Alameda can be pretty pricey, maybe the Coast Guard may consider renting it to our Alameda’s public servants  ---- teachers, police officers, firemen, nurses and others who contribute in a big way to Alameda’s well being?

    Or how about helping Midway Shelter of Alameda for abused and homeless women and children?

    Or Alameda’s Housing Authority?

  • A fabulous reason why Alameda CA is a great place to live: gardens!

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Alameda, Home Buying in Alameda, Going Green in Alameda  |  March 20, 2013 12:22 AM  |  1,566 views  |  No comments

    Front yard, back yard...fruits and flowers thrive in Alameda CA

    Backyard harvest

    In Alameda, we have the Alameda Backyard Growers. Lately, we’re also seeing several vegetable gardens in the front yards. Yes, front yards!

    Believe it our not, in our island paradise we call Alameda CA, we do have some seasons, albeit a lot milder than elsewhere. 

    Perhaps it’s the almost perfect weather....or perhaps it’s the rich soil. Whatever the reason is, it seems anything we plant in the ground thrives.

    lemons in my backyard

    Flowers or fruits?

    When I lived in Florida, my Lilies of the Nile (Agapanthus)  bloomed just once: in the summer. But in the Bay area, it seems it blooms year round. And goodness, they grow profusely that one must divide and subdivide frequently in order to control the growth.

    So when we bought our place that has a fairly large backyard (comparatively speaking, that is), our priority was to have flowering bushes and  fruit trees.

    The Meyer and Lisbon lemon trees produce abundant fruits  year round. We are happy to give them away to friends.

    In the fall and winter, some of our fruit trees lose their leaves even while they are chockful of fruit. We have two persimmons trees, and they’re prolific producers. So in the fall, we have an abundant harvest. 


    Flowers to fruits

    The most fascinating to watch is the big plum tree that in the winter becomes so gnarly and looks dead. In the spring, it literally bursts into white blooms that look like snow. And in the summer, it produces buckets of the juiciest, sweetest and most succulent plums.

    Plum tree

    Aaah.....the joys of living in paradise we call Alameda and why it’s a great place to live....especially when we have a big backyard.

    P.S. I took all these photos using my iPhone.

  • Alameda CA takes a stand against second-hand smoke

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Alameda, Home Buying in Alameda, Home Selling in Alameda  |  January 5, 2012 11:54 AM  |  1,223 views  |  No comments

    Alameda CA takes a strong position against smoking with new Second Hand Smoke Ordinance
    No smoking

    California already has one of toughtest positions against smoking. Alameda is going another step further to protect Alameda residents and visitors from the health hazards of second hand
    tobacco smoke,  by adopting a Secondhand Smoke
    Ordinance. The majority of the provisions are effective January 2, 2012. 

    Here’s  Alameda’s Second Hand Smoke Ordinance and Fact Sheet.

    I have east coast friends whom I’ve invited to visit me in California. They expressed a concern that as smokers, they will be hard-pressed to find places where they can smoke. It just got tougher. I may have to go visit them instead.

    And in January 2013, the following will go into effect, pertaining to multi-unit dwellings (including condos, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, etc)

    Landlords, investors, agents should take heed of the responsibilities of landlords and homeowners’ associations:

    • Clearly and conspicuously post “No Smoking” signs in common areas, at every entrance, and on every floor where smoking is prohibited
    • Remove all ashtrays and or other receptacles for disposing of smoking material not allow from any area where smoking is prohibited, except for designated smoking areas
    • If the option to have a designated outdoor smoking area is chosen, all requirements as described in the ordinance must be complied with.
    • Not knowingly allow smoking in prohibited areas
    • Disclose to prospective tenants and buyers the requirements of the Secondhand Smoke Ordinance, as it pertains to multi-unit housing
    • All newly leased units in apartments after Jan. 2, 2012 shall include a non-smoking requirement in the lease or agreement for occupancy.
    • By Jan. 1, 2013, all lease agreements for occupancy will state that smoking is prohibited inside units
    • Maintain diagrams that illustrate the precise location of designated smoking areas, if applicable. This diagram must also accompany leases and rental agreements beginning January 1, 2013
  • Urban Renewal -- visualizing how it could be

    Posted Under: Quality of Life  |  June 7, 2010 1:27 PM  |  668 views  |  No comments

    Recent stories about the city mayor's radical idea of  bulldozing Detroit's areas that are most afflicted with urban decay may have created a renewed interest in urban renewal.

    Urban decay is the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude. It may feature deindustrialization, depopulation or changing population, economic restructuring, abandoned buildings, high local unemployment, fragmented families, political disenfranchisement, crime, and a desolate, inhospitable city landscape.

    Urban renewal (similar to urban regeneration in British English) is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of reconstruction. The process has had a major impact on many urban landscapes, and has played an important role in the history and demographics of cities around the world.
    Source: Wikipedia


    In the June 6 2010 edition of San Francisco Chronicle, the headline was "Enduring woes on Market". With the sky-high prices of real estate in San Francisco, this certainly presents opportunities to revive this area, considering its proximity to down town's thriving shopping district and residential lofts.

    Most large cities, and certainly Oakland, are not exempt from such challenges. We can only hope that the powers that be ---- the local government, businesses and other concerned citizens ---- can rachet up efforts to save our inner cities.Without dedicated and devoted efforts, our cities may look war-ravaged, the way that cities of the future were envisioned in classic movies like Escape from New York .


    There is a company called Urban Advantage based out of Berkeley CA that offers visualizations of what some segments of the city could look like when it undergoes urban renewal. These images are certainly inspiring.

    Here's a link to some projects to envision urbanism. They describe urbanism as "the revitalization of vital public space --- streets, squares and neighborhood centers --- where peole can see each other and meet."

    Here's an example of one of their projects in Oakland. All photos by Steve Price of Urban Advantage. You may contact him at




    Seminary Ave Oakland BEFORE urbanism

    AFTER  Added bike lane, light rail, trees, mixed-use buildings


    Stop urban sprawl! Renovate fixers

  • To succeed (and be happy), you must have PASSION....

    Posted Under: Quality of Life  |  September 19, 2009 12:30 AM  |  652 views  |  No comments

    Someone once told me, that when it comes to your job, "If you're not having fun, you're paying too high a price."

    And one can relate passion with love, devotion, happiness.


    Friends and I talked about what drives people to succeed and why others struggle. Although we are all in different professions, throughout our discussion, we zeroed in on a critical ingredient: PASSION.

    When one has passion about what he does, there is dedication.

    When dedication reaps rewards, there is joy.

    And joy generates a desire to do even better.

    This pursuit leads to applying principles and disciplines to achieve even more.

    An example of how passion led to success....

    If you don't know the story of Chris Gardner as beautifully told in the movie The Pursuit of Happy-ness", then you should hurry and watch this inspiring movie. 

    I guess one can apply passion in just about any situation. In courtship. In education. In your job. This is what distinguishes a profession from just a job.

    In your own office, what distinguishes winners? 

    • High energy
    • Positive can-do attitude
    • Eager to try something new
    • Applies and continues to apply key learnings
    • Always looks for ways to do things better, to accomplish goals sooner
    • Self-motivated
    • Desire to learn new disciplines by taking courses, getting more designations and certifications
    • Searches out other positive influences
    • Interacts with everyone to hone people skills
    • Willingness to help others --- believes in paying it forward
    • Looks for a solution and not just complains about a problem

    ENTHUSIASM --- it shows!

    One of my former clients came back into town, so we went for a leisurely brunch today. While I was telling her about what's new in Alameda since she left, she stopped me and said, "Wow, you really are sold on Alameda,"

    Then she told me that when they were getting ready to sell their parents' house, she and her siblings scouted realtors by going to open houses. They interviewed several realtors, and chose me. She told me that what stood out is "how enthusiastic you are about what you do, and how you will market"....And that enthusiasm is still there  :)

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