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Harbor Bay Honcho
Tim Hoppen, President of Doric Development, the company responsible for Harbor Bay

Alameda’s Harbor Bay Isle pioneered the new waterfront live/work paradigm. As part of our Oakland/Alameda focus issue, Bay Crossings recently sat down with Tim Hoppen, President of Doric Realty, Inc., the company responsible for Harbor Bay.

Many people confuse the City of Alameda with the County of Alameda. What’s distinctive about the City of Alameda?

It surprises me that people would confuse the County of Alameda with the City of Alameda, given its history in the Bay Area as an Island community long known for its beautiful Victorians and tree-lined streets. The Harbor Bay Isle Master Planned development adjacent to the Oakland International Airport and the Naval Air Station at Alameda point has three very distinctive components filled with history, a strong sense of community and a wonderful life style. Not to mention Alameda’s geographical location in the Center of the Bay Area, it’s waterfront orientation and wonderful views of San Francisco and the surrounding Communities.

You run the companies that collectively manage Harbor Bay Isle. Describe your operation.

The Harbor Bay Isle development has been managed and developed by the Doric Group of Companies. This project has been our single focus for the last 30 years. As the master developer, we are responsible for keeping the promise we made to the community of Alameda. Our companies include Doric Realty, Inc. the management company, Harbor Bay Realty, our home brokerage company, the Harbor Bay Club. our full service tennis and fitness facility, Harbor Bay Maritime, our PUC regulated Ferry Service company, Harbor Bay RV. and Self Storage and Doric Construction, our General Contracting company. Each of these companies has it’s own responsible manager who reports to me directly on a day to day, month to month and fiscal basis with oversight by our Board of Directors.

What’s your background? How did you get into this?

I graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Business minor. My original goal was to attend law school, but after a period of time, I ran out of time and money and decided I needed to focus on a career other than law. I had worked as a laborer and "gofer" for a friend of mine that had a small contracting company and enjoyed the work. My father in law was also in construction and offered me a chance to learn the business from the ground up. I literally started with a shovel and moved up through the field operations to a superintending role. I continued to learn the business and eventually moved into the office and up the ladder to President and Chief Operating Officer. I have been with Harbor Bay and Doric over 23 years and like the other senior members of our team have dedicated myself to the Harbor Bay project and the City of Alameda.

It’s complicated and controversial being a developer these days. How do you view your role and what do you think about people who are leery about developers in general?

I think sometimes developers get a bad rap. We are no different than anyone else. What is important to all people, a nice home, good schools for our children, a comfortable workplace, a safe and secure environment, places to play, places to shop and a strong sense of commitment within our community are primary goals. We at Harbor Bay have lived by these simple rules and try not to complicate simplicity. Unfortunately, you cannot be all things to all people and there is a myriad of groups and agencies that a developer has to work with. Our role is to first listen to these people, those in the private sector, those in the political sector, those in the public sector, understand what their needs and requirements are, understand the market place and then plan and develop accordingly. In the end, we are all stakeholders and our job is to protect everyone’s investment. Were it not for developers, where would these "leery" people be living, working, shopping, etc?

Water transit plays a key role in the Harbor Bay/Lennar proposal for the former Naval Air Station.

Alameda has its own power supply, which greatly minimizes the impact of the state’s power crisis. How much does this matter to businesses thinking about relocating to Harbor Bay?

The energy crisis is on the top of everyone’s list these days and Alameda Power and Telecom is very well positioned to attract not only businesses to Harbor Bay, but to Alameda as a whole. My experience in dealing with businesses that have high levels of energy consumption, contemplating relocation, is that the availability and cost of power is a critical path decision point. Alameda Power and Telecom is an absolute viable option, with it’s power supply, with its back up capabilities and with its pricing to attract these companies to Harbor Bay and to Alameda.