Could Cowan get Mif?
Last night’s City Council brainstorming session on the fate of the just-closed Mif Albright nine-hole golf course ended with a suggestion that didn’t appear in the staff report: Trade it to Ron Cowan to build his stalled-out Harbor Bay Village VI development.
The council was slated to discuss the potential exchange during a closed-door meeting but deferred the discussion for a later date.
Mayor Beverly Johnson said the council ought to consider the idea, which was offered in a later public session by leaders of Harbor Bay’s business and homeowners associations, who this past spring came out to oppose Cowan’s plan to put the 104-home development smack in the middle of the business park.
The 12-acre spot also sits a half mile from the main runway at Oakland International Airport.
“What we’re asking the mayor and council to do right now is to consider taking that strip of land and putting sports and recreation fields on it, and to have Ron Cowan build his (development) on the golf course, in what some would call a land swap,” Mel Grant, a business owner who spoke for the group, told me after the item was heard.
The group included Grant; Mike Robles Wong, president of the Community of Harbor Bay Isle board president; Islandia Homeowners Association president Elizabeth dos Remedios; and Barbara Price, a consultant on development and governmental affairs and Islandia resident who also reportedly ran the mayor’s 2002 campaign.
City staff had laid out a list of potential options for the 12-acre Mif that included sports fields, a BMX bike park, a dog park and open space.
The suggestion came moments after a kind of dramatic exchange between Johnson and Golf Commission President Jane Sullwold, who said she’d heard rumors that just such a thing was in the works. She said the city should let the contractor it hired to run the Chuck Corica Golf Complex study whether it could run the short course at a profit.
“You know of course, the rumors that have been flying around for years that the Mif Albright property is a goal of Ron Cowan for a new Harbor Bay Club,” Sullwold told the council. “I’ve been getting calls and e-mails that what’s really going on here is some kind of land swap, that they’re going to get that property, tear down the Harbor Bay property, and build homes there. Everyone thinks that’s really what’s going on.”
“We’ve heard that. There are a lot of rumors going on around the golf course, and we’re aware of that,” Johnson responded.
More to come on this, we’re sure.