THE SECOND STORY | April 1st, 2010

Realty reality… real estate development

Post title and story: It’s Lego time again in my life, and for the seniors at Alameda High who are in the two AP (advance placement) Government / Economics classes taught by Allison Goldberg. For about the past 8 years this intense 3 week course that covers urban planning, return on investment, learning to come to grips and coordinate the often-contradictory demands of a City Council, the Neighborhood Alliance (mostly the NIMBY group), the Jobs and Justice group (stick the Q-Mart -aka WalMart- in the plan to get jobs and tax revenues), Pro Arts (artists who have taken over a dilapidated building and who are squatters there), the preservationists, and the never-popular but ever-present “what do we do with the homeless shelter” issue, become very real problems to these students. Working in groups of 5-6 each assumes a role: Financial Analyst, Marketing Director, Site Planner, Neighborhood Liaison, City Liaison. And then they answer an RFP (Request For Proposal) to bring back to life the make-believe Elmwood District. At the end….they have to present their plan in approximately 12 minutes, each team member speaking in his/her role, to a City Council, comprised of professionals in related fields.

Here is the Lego color code: red is retail, blue is commercial, yellow is housing, green is park/plaza/courts, brown is rehabbed mixed-use, black is pavement(parking).

This has been my seventh year with the project and I’ve been fortunate to be one of two ‘champions’ who coordinate the trained volunteers needed in the Alameda classroom. That alone is a bit daunting but the volunteers rally and give it their all, including translating their expertise into questions, not answers, to and for the students. Tuesday and Wed at 8am our City Council of 4 met and heard the first class present. Always interesting, never dull, and I learn more than the students about how real life really works.

I’ve worked at Lowell High in SF, Berkeley High, Miramonte (Moraga), some high school in Marin, and also at St. Mary’s College and Cal in a freshman architecture class. Trust me, the high schoolers are lots more interesting than the ‘let’s impress them’ attitudes in the novice college classes.

If my high school classes had featured experiential learning concepts I bet I would have spent a lot more time in them, rather than cutting out and heading to the beach my junior and senior years.

Alameda real estate this week….

OK – the good news – I put a lovely Woodstock single level unit on the market this week. Remember, this is a co-op, thus you are buying a stock certificate, not the land. For loads of info about how a purchase like this works see 220 A Cypress . Feedback has been lovely, showings taking place and inquiries coming in. Hard to beat a 2/1 with wood floors in the living and dining area, kitchen with eating area, separate laundry room, and a wrap around the house yard for 275K.

OK – the sad news – what started out as a great offer on 2128 – 30 Buena Vista, went south for lots of reasons. And it’s BOM. When I noted the price reduction on the property in the mls at the same time as the BOM, the price change reigned. But people have been looking and I’ve received over a dozen calls from agents/buyers since yesterday midday. Price is now 599K down from 659K. Gotta be ‘as is.’ No games. One offer showed up about an hour ago. We’ll see…

Active listings this week 147, 145 last report
Pending listings this week 86, 91 last report

Highest and lowest new listings

Tuesday tour

New 14

BOM (back on market) 2 (well, 3 when you count 2128-30 Buena Vista)

Price changes 8

Pending 11

Sold 11

Expired 3


Alameda real estate awards this week…remember this is only my perspective!
I hosted an open house on tour so wasn’t out touring on my bike (in sunshine, cold, rain, wind, and hail, and more sunshine) but did catch up on Sunday and Monday before the tour. I’m not offering much this week.

Cute, charming is my Woodstock listing

Get me to rehab is one that was active and then was withdrawn after only 3 days…a bank repo….I didn’t see it but the 3 pictures did it for me

Bang for the buck
is also a repo.

If you celebrate the religious holiday, may you be enriched by it. If you celebrate the Hallmark version of the holiday, may you retain some of your riches and sanity.

That’s a wrap! Carry on! Call if you have real estate questions, comments…..

best, marilyn

Published by


I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!