Council Studies Strategy
At its July 28 meeting, the City Council reviewed a report on the city’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, which remains a work in progress. According to the report, the city’s plan focuses on actions targeting industries that will drive the city’s growth over the next five to 10 years. Once implemented, the plan would allow the city to concentrate on ways to strengthen its many retail districts and attract new businesses and visitors to the Island City.
Among the features of the report:
- An analysis of recent job trends and the quality of services the city provides to both new and existing businesses
- Steps that the city could take to attract new businesses
- The quality of the city’s infrastructure and utilities and their ability to serve businesses
- Transportation access to the Island City and ease of access to places where people work.
The report also considers the potential for new retail and restaurants and includes an overview of trends in the retail sector, an analysis of sales at retail stores and restaurants and the performance of existing retail centers in both Alameda and surrounding cities.
Finally the report takes trends in the local hotel market into account. These include the economic benefits of hotels and any visitor attractions, transportation access and amenities for visitors and hotel guests and how the city should market tourism marketing and promotion.
Alameda is attracting employers who can no longer afford other urban locations. For example the report points out that as downtown Oakland has increased in popularity, areas like Marina Village, just across the Oakland Estuary from Jack London Square, have attracted businesses looking for a less expensive place to do business. Businesses interviewed for the report said that Alameda Municipal Power provides lower energy costs. Energy rates in Alameda are 15 to 20 percent lower than in nearby cities, they said.
Alameda’s history plays a role in attracting tourists who visit the museums here and, in turn, support local businesses. “Alameda offers a variety of attractions, with three key themes,” stated the report. “Among them are the city’s historical museums and sites, its recreational and natural attractions and the beverage production facilities with their tasting rooms.
“Crown Beach is estimated to receive about 600,000 visitors a year, and is well known as a superior location for kiteboarding and windsurfing,” the report said of another attraction.
On the down side, businesses at both Harbor Bay Business Park and Alameda Point criticize the limited options for dining, shopping and other services. “Many employers prefer to have amenities within walking distance,” the report stated.