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Old 02-13-2011, 01:55 PM
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How Much Wold Alcatraz Island (Developed) Be Worth?


I was watching a travel show, which featured a trip to Alcatraz. The old prison looks like its in bad shape, and I cannot nderstand why people are interested in touring it. It is jst an old jail, with peeling paint and rusting bars.
My question: sppose you razed the old dmp, and replaced it with trendy condos and seaside mansions-SF is a short ferry ride away, and the property would probably sell for megabcks.
Any idea what the place cold be worth? It would be a lot nicer than the crrent eyesore.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:39 PM
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Considering that so many other cultural landmarks in the Bay Area have been raised for the all mighty condo dollar these days, I vote no.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:40 PM
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:52 PM
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There's a reason they built a prison there. It's pretty isolated, surrounded by a cold bay that few people go swimming in, even in the summer. Right now the housing market is pretty crappy in California as it is, I'm not sure if you could sell anything out there, with the inconvenience of relying on a ferry. The tried to revitalize Treasure Island, perhaps someone more knowledgeable about that can tell us how the housing market out there is.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:54 PM
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It has no water supply.

All water must be fetched in by barge.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:02 PM
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:02 PM
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It would be a lot nicer than the crrent eyesore.
Most people around here wouldn't agree with you.

Also, the island is very windy & cold most of the time, even more so than the beaches.

Another also, no way for police, fire or paramedic to get to you.

Last edited by Foggy; 02-13-2011 at 03:06 PM. Reason: Why? I forgot a Y.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I was watching a travel show, which featured a trip to Alcatraz. The old prison looks like its in bad shape, and I cannot nderstand why people are interested in touring it. It is jst an old jail, with peeling paint and rusting bars.
My question: sppose you razed the old dmp, and replaced it with trendy condos and seaside mansions-SF is a short ferry ride away, and the property would probably sell for megabcks.
Any idea what the place cold be worth? It would be a lot nicer than the crrent eyesore.
I grew up in the Bay Area and never thought of going to Alcatraz - it was something tourists do. But a few years ago I had a friend visiting from out of town and she wanted to do it, so we went. I thought it would be really boring. But it turned out to be quite fascinating, and the views from the island were spectacular.

It's a historic landmark, so razing the prison and putting in condos is not going to happen, period. In a hypothetical situation, it's still unlikely. You actually can live on Treasure Island, and pretty much no one wants to, even though it has bridge access to the mainland. Alcatraz would be even less desirable a place to live. It's teensy and cold and isolated. Building something habitable there would be so expensive that it wouldn't be worth the cost.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:24 PM
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Does the U on your keyboard not work?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I was watching a travel show, which featured a trip to Alcatraz. The old prison looks like its in bad shape, and I cannot nderstand why people are interested in touring it. It is jst an old jail, with peeling paint and rusting bars.
My question: sppose you razed the old dmp, and replaced it with trendy condos and seaside mansions-SF is a short ferry ride away, and the property would probably sell for megabcks.
Any idea what the place cold be worth? It would be a lot nicer than the crrent eyesore.
Apparently only some of the time.

Last edited by Omar Little; 02-13-2011 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:25 PM
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Well it is a national park and a nature conservancy. Seems to me you can have your way, provided an Act of Congress is granted. Even so, once the trendy condos and seaside mansions-SF are built, who would want to live in an isolated place that's haunted?
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:31 PM
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Considering that so many other cultural landmarks in the Bay Area have been raised for the all mighty condo dollar these days, I vote no.
That's "razed". It means destroy. In construction parlance "raised" means to build or erect.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I was watching a travel show, which featured a trip to Alcatraz. The old prison looks like its in bad shape, and I cannot nderstand why people are interested in touring it. It is jst an old jail, with peeling paint and rusting bars.
My question: sppose you razed the old dmp, and replaced it with trendy condos and seaside mansions-SF is a short ferry ride away, and the property would probably sell for megabcks.
Any idea what the place cold be worth? It would be a lot nicer than the crrent eyesore.
Just a tip. Don't ever try break into the tourism pamphlet writing business with sample work like that.

Alcatraz is awesome to visit and very popular. Even if you could turn it into condos, it isn't clear that it would be economically sound to do such a thing. It is a real island and not an especially inhabitable one at that. There are thousands of other islands close to cities that people don't live on either. Boston is also very expensive and has the more inhabitable Boston Harbor islands that few people visit let alone live on. People love to visit Alcatraz because it is really unique and that has value historically and even economically. San Francisco is a popular tourist destination because of oddities like Alcatraz and that brings in cash. You can put condos anywhere. It isn't like the whole state of California let alone the U.S. has a shortage of land.

Next up: One developer's plan to rebuild the New Orleans French Quarter to a more modern design.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 02-13-2011 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:37 PM
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But what a view! And what a location -- equidistant from either Oakland or San Francisco! Doesn't view and location count in real estate anymore?

I say make an offer.

Last edited by Musicat; 02-13-2011 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:42 AM
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I was watching a travel show, which featured a trip to Alcatraz. The old prison looks like its in bad shape, and I cannot nderstand why people are interested in touring it. It is jst an old jail, with peeling paint and rusting bars.
Well some people, like myself, absolutely love old buildings. The worse the shape it's in, the bigger the mental orgasms I get simply from looking at pictures of such building. Abandoned prisons and hospitals, oh my. And yes, I am planning to take a trip to Pripyat/Chernobyl
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:25 AM
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But what a view! And what a location -- equidistant from either Oakland or San Francisco! Doesn't view and location count in real estate anymore?

I say make an offer.
I'm not so sure about that - look at a map - it is closer to San Francisco - or have I misread and you were actually referencing Treasure Island instead of Alcatraz?

Last edited by BwanaBob; 02-14-2011 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:15 AM
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BTW, should you WANT such development, note that Treasure Island is artificial - it's landfill, as is Foster City, the Marina, and part of Alameda. Much of SF Bay is very shallow, and an artificial island might provide better land for development, provided you can surmount the inevitable opposition to it. Personally, I don't want it.

And while you're looking at the map ... leave Angel Island alone, too. Maybe you could buy Red Rock Island, current asking price a mere $22 million. What, no takers?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rock_Island
  #17  
Old 02-15-2011, 08:14 AM
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It has no water supply.

All water must be fetched in by barge.
And fetched out again, once used. The island has no sewage facilities, nor enough suitable ground to build them. (When the prison was operating, they just dumped their sewage into the bay. That wouldn't be allowed today, so your developer would have quite an expense here.)
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:34 AM
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I hear Vickie is the best tour guide. Make sure you get him if you go on a tour.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:52 AM
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Considering that so many other cultural landmarks in the Bay Area have been raised
Nitpick: razed
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:34 PM
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Nitpick: razed
NitNitpick: Post #11.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:40 PM
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BTW, should you WANT such development, note that Treasure Island is artificial - it's landfill, as is Foster City, the Marina, and part of Alameda. Much of SF Bay is very shallow, and an artificial island might provide better land for development, provided you can surmount the inevitable opposition to it. Personally, I don't want it.

And while you're looking at the map ... leave Angel Island alone, too. Maybe you could buy Red Rock Island, current asking price a mere $22 million. What, no takers?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rock_Island
One advantage of Alcatraz over Treasure Island and other landfill development is that Alcatraz is, IIRC, solid rock. This is beneficial in earthquake country, as solid rock is nowhere near as susceptible to liquefaction as landfill. As far as sewage and fresh water, while it wouldn't be inexpensive, I think it would be trivial engineering to lay pipelines to Alcatraz from San Francisco city proper for those purposes. Probably could run electrical conduits to Alcatraz too. The oil and gas industry does this sort of thing everyday, in much deeper water and worse weather. Or you could set up a windmill/whichever green power scheme you'd like. Land in the SF Bay Area is ridiculously expensive. MLS searching for towns like Tiburon yields price per acre in excess of 5 million dollars. Granted, some of that is for the house (assuming you aren't doing a tear down), and there would be very expensive demolition of the existing buildings and other site prep, but the views from Alcatraz are almost unique.

But your major problem with developing Alcatraz is going to be the multiple layers of city, county, multi-county, state, federal and non-governmental agencies that will all want a say.
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:27 PM
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And fetched out again, once used. The island has no sewage facilities, nor enough suitable ground to build them. (When the prison was operating, they just dumped their sewage into the bay. That wouldn't be allowed today, so your developer would have quite an expense here.)
Interesting. Is that still done today for the tourists and park rangers that are on the island?
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:46 PM
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One advantage of Alcatraz over Treasure Island and other landfill development is that Alcatraz is, IIRC, solid rock. This is beneficial in earthquake country, as solid rock is nowhere near as susceptible to liquefaction as landfill.

...
I was waiting to see if somebody made that point. Foster City officials point out that they went through the Loma Prieta with no serious damages, and claim that properly engineered landfill such as they are built on is much more seismically sound than older landfill development. They've engaged in a fight with the USGS to get their risk assessment downgraded for this. I'm not sure I'd believe them. Foster City is sort of an odd place:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster_City,_California
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:49 PM
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Since it's been pointed out that it's a windy, cold, isolated, barren rock with no fresh water, the question might be: Why not blow it up, and regain some of the huge area that's been filled in over the centuries?
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:52 PM
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Well, for one, because it's a natural site of historic and cultural significance that serves as an icon and symbol for the local area.

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and regain some of the huge area that's been filled in over the centuries?
What exactly would you be "regaining"?

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Old 02-16-2011, 02:14 PM
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I would not be surprised if they had composting toilets for current rangers and visitors.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:22 PM
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I was waiting to see if somebody made that point. Foster City officials point out that they went through the Loma Prieta with no serious damages, and claim that properly engineered landfill such as they are built on is much more seismically sound than older landfill development. They've engaged in a fight with the USGS to get their risk assessment downgraded for this. I'm not sure I'd believe them. Foster City is sort of an odd place:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster_City,_California
That's fascinating. I never would have guessed that. The authors of this text, Practical Lessons from the Loma Prieta Earthquake, agree with the statement that there was no significant liquefaction in Foster City, due to the use of compaction either during the fill, or shortly thereafter.

Though I experienced Loma Prieta personally, and remember the T.V. footage of the Nimitz Freeway pancakeing, and the Marina district, I didn't remember hearing anything about damage in Foster City. Interesting. Distance matters, though, and I don't know if they'll have similar luck if say, the Hayward Fault(s) three times closer, let go.

I naturally can't find the cite now, but I remember coming across a site that claimed that fresh water and sewage are currently barged to/from Alcatraz. One site made the unconfirmed statement that the ferries to/from Alcatraz handled the task. I don't know either way.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:24 PM
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:31 PM
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Well, for one, because it's a natural site of historic and cultural significance that serves as an icon and symbol for the local area.

What exactly would you be "regaining"?
Wildlife before Americans in the Bay Area, as I understand, was based on a climate that was considerably wetter than it is now, since the bay was much larger. (I don't have a reference, but I remember hearing that it's 1/3 filled in now.) Removing the island -- just a thought, mind you -- would improve the current flow, flush out man-laid deposits from past mining, etc. The regained surface area might not be that great, but over the last decades the trend has been more and more fill.

Parenthetically, removing Alcatraz is just a thought in passing. However I definitely believe Treasure Island should be demolished. There's not much excuse of any kind for it.

I recognize Alcatraz is a tourist spot, and that some people imagine the culture of a concrete prison is more important than Spanish missions and native American culture, but I'm not one. To me, it's an ugly testimony to America's inability to handle social problems gracefully. I'd rather have a 10 story monument to the glory of the flush toilet. But I suppose that, at least, must be considered a minority opinion.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:58 PM
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Wildlife before Americans in the Bay Area, as I understand, was based on a climate that was considerably wetter than it is now, since the bay was much larger. (I don't have a reference, but I remember hearing that it's 1/3 filled in now.) Removing the island -- just a thought, mind you -- would improve the current flow, flush out man-laid deposits from past mining, etc. The regained surface area might not be that great, but over the last decades the trend has been more and more fill.
And it would help to counter the ocean's rise due to global warming, by lowering just a little.
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:29 PM
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Another Saban children's series!
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Old 03-03-2019, 07:25 PM
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The people who lived on the island during the prison years, they talked about the poor health conditions everybody acquired after years living on that island. These conditions went away after moving to the mainland, it was cold humidity that made everybody ache, this was before glucosamine became widely used. Every single employee did not want to work there, there is some real speculation that the Morris Anglin escape was allowed to happen so that the prison could fall out of favor with the USG. They all knew that breaking the slogan hype (or shenanigans of the day) that carried the reputation the of 'the rock, the unescapable prison' could work.
Every single part of life was made more difficult just because of the location of the island, and not just the typical accoutrements expected from living on an island. But sewage, they said the smell of sewage occurred at least once a day and lasted an hour. Dead seals would wash up on the shore and rot for days. Bird droppings were everywhere, the day after a heavy rain changed everyones emotions because everything smelled clean again. They couldn't buy something just for the sake of getting out, so a routine day became so maddening that one year a psychological study was conducted on the prisoners and a similarity was found amongst the families of the people who lived there.
This was written in 2011
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:01 PM
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India's knock off version
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:28 AM
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It would be hard on any kids. It's a tough trip to the bus stop on school days.
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Old 03-05-2019, 02:41 PM
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BTW, should you WANT such development, note that Treasure Island is artificial - it's landfill, as is Foster City, the Marina, and part of Alameda. Much of SF Bay is very shallow, and an artificial island might provide better land for development, provided you can surmount the inevitable opposition to it. Personally, I don't want it.

And while you're looking at the map ... leave Angel Island alone, too. Maybe you could buy Red Rock Island, current asking price a mere $22 million. What, no takers?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rock_Island
as someone who survived the 89 quake, land fill is not stable in case of earthquake--see damage to marina area
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:56 PM
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as someone who survived the 89 quake, land fill is not stable in case of earthquake--see damage to marina area
So am I, and also see lack of damage to Foster City, whether you believe their assertion that Foster City sustained no damage because it is properly engineered landfill or not. And no, I didn't live in Foster City or the Marina at the time (I worked in Alameda. The Cypress Structure was my commute route until that happened).
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:15 PM
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You could use license the "Get a piece of the rock" jingle from the Prudential folks...
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Old 03-06-2019, 12:20 PM
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I think something like Alcatraz would probably be most alluring to a single, very wealthy, owner. It already has a heliport and a yacht dock. The demands for water, sewage, etc. would be low and the privacy quite good.

I can just picture Elon Musk standing on top of cell block C yelling at kids "Get off my rock!"
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