Throwback Thursday: Housing that almost was built in the Bay Area

The planned Marincello development in the Marin Headlands. Courtesy Victoria Bogdan and Alfred Twu.

As the Bay Area debates housing needs, a website — www.whatmighthavebeen.squarespace.com — highlights a number of housing and other projects around the region that would have given the area a much different look today if they had come to fruition.

One was Marincello, an ill-fated 2,100-acre, 1960s development in the Marin Headlands, which would have housed 25,000 people. It was defeated in the face of intense opposition and is one of a number of development plans in the Bay Area over the years that failed to take hold.

Plans also called for turning two-lane Highway 1 along the coast into “a four-lane parkway … to cut across ridges from Point San Quentin to Point Reyes Station with east-west thoroughfares,” according to the website.

A 1959 Army Corps of Engineers report estimated that the highway system would have Marin County grow from 151,000 in 1960 to 780,000 by 2020 with thousands of new residents in Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Point Reyes and Tomales. A water pipeline from Sonoma would have fed the suburban growth, the site notes. Point Reyes was also to be developed into a resort.

Proposals also included an Alcatraz Space Museum, nuclear power plants near Bodega Bay and a bridge from San Francisco to Angel Island, which would have landed in Tiburon.

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