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Media Coverage
Shoring Up Marina In Richmond
March 22, 1999



Monday, March 22, 1999
Section: news
Page: A03
Shawn Masten

Caption: Photo. An artists's rendering shows what Marina Bay in Richmond might look like after construction of a hotel, conference center, apartments and retail space surrounding a pedestrian town square. (Special to the Times).

RICHMOND Marina Bay's master developer is promising to bring the north shore to life as a pedestrian village replete with quality restaurants, shopping, and a hotel.

Penterra Co. gave the City Council its first look last week at preliminary plans for the last piece of property to be developed among the 385 acres of homes, parks and boat slips in Marina Bay.

As envisioned, the north shore now home to the city-run marina, the Harbor Master's office, parking lots and vacant land would become the Village at Marina Bay.

Perkins Associates have drawn architectural plans that include a 148-room hotel and 5,400-square-foot conference center, 70,400 square feet of retail space and a 192-unit apartment complex.

The concept is based on a European-style village or resort with lodging built around a pedestrian town square framed by shops.

Construction is expected to start in about two years, said Richard Poe, president of Penterra Co. No cost estimates were given to the council.

City Council members long have hoped for commercial development to bring new life to Marina Bay and give it a sense of place.

"I'm really thrilled with the idea," Mayor Rosemary Corbin said. "It's not a pedestrian-friendly place, and it should be."

The area could serve residents' needs and be a popular attraction for marina users, Councilman Tom Butt said.

"Taken together, there's a critical mass there that will make it a very successful neighborhood center," Butt said.

Marina Bay residents have suffered from a lack of nearby conveniences. The nearest grocery stores are miles away in El Cerrito, and the area's only restaurant is the upscale Salute.

Councilwoman Donna Powers emphasized the need for a family-oriented restaurant with a Rosie the Riveter theme.

"We need to exploit that area's history," said Powers, who came up with the idea for the marina's "Rosie the Riveter" park to memorialize the women who worked at the Kaiser shipyards during World War II.

Marina Bay traces its roots to the shipyards, where scores of liberty ships were built in the 1940s. In the mid-1970s, envisioning a mix of uses on the then-blighted property, the city bought the 385 acres for $12 million from Catellus Development Corp.