NEXT MEETING: September 29, 2017
Note: Once again we meet at Café Soleil this Friday. Directions below.

Oakland’s Retail Renaissance: What’s the Scoop?

Keira Williams, Retail Specialist with the City of Oakland since 2001, works to grow retail businesses and shopping places by matching retailers, developers and sites. Keira markets the city as a retail location, promoting the city as a retail business-friendly environment, and supports Oakland’s commercial districts and shopping centers.

Keira will share what she has learned about building trust and coalitions, being strategic with limited resources, and changing perceptions about Oakland. Prior to joining the City of Oakland, Keira marketed new business and development opportunities at the Bay Area’s 12 closing military bases (including Point Molate). She holds an MBA from the University of Hawai’i and a BA from the University of Washington.

MEETING OF September 22, 2017


The meeting was called to order by President Connie. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Nick. Herb gave our invocation. Syd offered a profound thought by Hemmingway: “Never pass up an opportunity to kiss a pretty woman or an open bottle of whisky.” Did I get that right? What’s a heterosexual woman to do?


  • Richmond Rotary meets at Café Soleil next week. Directions.
  • Richmond Rotary has raised $2,000 for hurricane relief. We hope to give the money to local Rotary Clubs. Shana will research to find out how.
  • El Sobrante Rotary is having a fundraiser, Oktoberfest, on October 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the Berkeley Yacht Club. Tickets available at
  • The Richmond Rotary Auction is December 8.
  • The Richmond Rotary Holiday Party is December 15 at the Richmond Art Center.
  • Pam announced that San Ramon Rotary donated $1,000 to our bike drive, to be matched by our club. Our goal is to raise $60,000.
  • Josh 2.0 announced that the Barcelona Rotary Club would like to partner with us on a project. (Pss… these notes were recorded by Josh 1.0. Can you tell?)


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Stacey introduced our speaker, Richard Mitchell, Director of Building and Planning for the City of Richmond. Mr. Mitchell is a Richmond native, a graduate of Kennedy High School, Harvard and USC, and a long-time Planning Commissioner for the City of Hercules.

Mr. Mitchell described Richmond’s new General Plan as part of the re-urbanization of Richmond. That is, the suburbanization of America that followed WWII has been reversing itself, with cities becoming more attractive places to live, so smaller cities like Richmond are reversing development policies that once favored low-density, automobile oriented suburban development.

This means planning for more density, especially in heavily travelled corridors, such as San Pablo Avenue, Cutting Blvd., Macdonald Avenue, Barrett Avenue and 23rd Street. It also has implications for ares of Richmond with development potential, such as the South Shoreline, in which is located the University of California’s Bay Campus. Under the General Plan, there is potential in Richmond for development of 5.6 million square fete of industrial and commercial space, 720,000 square feet of retail, 4,070 residential units, 13,000 jobs and 145 acres of open space.

Numerous projects are currently in the works including:

  • Terminal 1, near Knox-Miller Park, 316 residential units
  • Nevin Homes, 289 affordable rental units.
  • Hilltop Apartments, 180 units
  • Central Avenue, on the old Dolan’s Lumber Yard, 155 affordable units, although the developer is considering changing the project to assisted living.
  • Garrity Way Apartments, 98 units
  • 12th Street & Macdonald, unspecified number of units.
  • Hilltop Mall, itself, just sold and yet to be planned.
  • Making Waves Academy, a charter school, building more of its campus where the West County Times building stood.
  • Shea Homes building 60 more units near Seacliff.
  • The Point, 27 townhomes behind Mechanics Bank in Point Richmond.
  • Bay Walk, 193 live-work units where the old International Parts Distribution Center stood.
  • Phase 3 of Anchorage at Marina Bay, 88 townhomes.
  • Phase 2 of Artisan Cove, 27 live-work units.
  • Starbucks Coffee at Marina Bay
  • The old Bottoms quarry on Canal Blvd., unspecified number of residential units.
  • Lifelong Medical Facility at Harbor and Bissel.
  • A new industrial building at 912 Harbor Way South.
  • A huge distribution center where the big blue steel building stood off of Atlas Road.
  • The modernization of the Chevron refinery.
  • 80 units of affordable senior housing at Miraflores.
  • Phase 3 of the Point Pinole Business Park

Facilitating all of this are transportation improvements, including the Moody underpass to Marina Bay and the new ferry terminal. You can download and view Mr. Mitchell’s presentation here.


- Josh Genser, Rotating Scribe