SAN LEANDRO -- Transformation of the San Leandro shoreline into a destination spot took an important step this week when plans for the project were submitted to the city.
The Monarch Bay development will include four new restaurants, a waterfront promenade, a hotel and conference center, a library/community center, housing, retail shops, offices and a ramp to launch hand-powered watercraft.
The 146 boats berthed at the marina, at the north end of the development area, will be forced to move, though not for a couple of years.
"We were hopeful the development could provide sufficient revenue to pay for dredging of the marina," said Cynthia Battenberg, business development manager for the city. "As it turns out, it would cost $1.5 million to $2 million annually to dredge the two-mile channel that provides access to the bay for the boats." At this point in the project, it does not appear that that revenue would be available for dredging, she said.
So Cal-Coast Development worked with the city to come up with plans for an aquatic park at the harbor as part of the Monarch Bay project, said Cal-Coast President and CEO Ed Miller.
"We'd love to keep it a marina, that's for sure," Miller said. "But the cost is too high. The plan is to keep it open as long as possible."
City officials estimate that the silt buildup will prevent access to the bay in about two years, Battenberg said.
Some of the "liveaboard" residents already have moved their boats from the marina; 27 remain, down from 45 earlier this year.
A citizens advisory committee with more than 30 members has been meeting since 2008 with Cal-Coast and city staff members to come up with the design for the 50-acre project. San Leandro will retain ownership and lease the land to Cal-Coast.
Monarch Bay will have up to 250,000 square feet of offices. The site's location on the shoreline and its access to Lit San Leandro, the city's new fiber optic loop, will be big pluses in marketing the commercial space, Miller said.
Plans call for 46 live/work units, 42 houses, 44 townhouses and 56 apartments. The site will include bike lanes, a new park and pedestrian piers. "It includes enhanced public access to the water," Battenberg said.
The next step is an environmental impact report, expected to take about 18 months. After that, several agencies must sign off on the proposal, including the Bay Conservation and Development District. Miller estimates construction will begin in 2016.
Mayor Stephen Cassidy thanked the citizens committee for its work.
"The shoreline development has the potential to transform the marina into a high-quality dining and commercial area with walk and bike paths for the public," he said.