First came the yacht club and then the marina, proliferating on lakes, rivers and bays. Next came the boatel, a marina with motel, offering snug harbor on shore for the night. The latest development in boat-and-bed building is the apartment on the water, no mere overnight facility but a full-time residence that permits you to dock your boat right outside your living-room door. And the best apartment-on-the-water complex in the country is growing beside a lagoon in Tiburon, Calif. It is called The Cove, and its credentials read like a real-estate promoter's hyperbole. The Marin hills roll shelteringly behind, and there is an Audubon bird sanctuary next door. The Golden Gate Bridge makes San Francisco, twinkling on the horizon, only a 20-minute commute away. In this setting, Builders Harry Hicks and Hugo Nadaner and their architect, John Lord King, are creating a homogeneous community of 270 apartments, blending the linear simplicity of Japanese architecture and the yacht-club Gothic of cedar shingles and overhanging eaves.
The landscaping at The Cove is as carefully thought out as the apartments themselves. As the diagram of the finished project shows, all units are either directly on the water or face one of four swimming pools, as at left. Walks are paved with native Sequoia flagstones. The landscaping is planned to give privacy in a confined area. Mounds of earth, covered with wild-strawberry plants and Monterey pines, are like bonsai-size Japanese mountains, screening patios and decks.
Of extremely fine quality for a rental complex are the materials used in the construction of The Cove: the siding is of bleached heart redwood; all railings, beams and trim are of Douglas fir; roofs are of cedar shingles, and indoor walls and cabinets are paneled in mahogany. Each apartment has a fireplace faced in stone, tile or brick. The understatement of the detail belies the $9 million that is invested in the project. Apartments of from two to five rooms rent for $185 to $525 per month. Dockage is $1 per foot per month, and there is space for 100 boats drawing as much as 5½ feet. Two yacht clubs with year-round race programs, the Corinthian and the San Francisco, are but a 20-minute sail around the bend. By next summer The Cove will be holding its own regattas and if a tenant does not own a boat he can charter one from Agent Ernest Chamberlain in Tiburon—a 19-foot Mariner goes for $120 a month.
Not yet complete but under construction this summer is a yacht club with swimming pool where residents can entertain guests and where 15 transient boats can dock. If all this were not enough to make the average U.S. apartment dweller chuck his beehive existence and head for Tiburon, striped bass that weigh up to 35 pounds are frequently caught on spinning gear right from the floating docks out front. The limit is three a day per person.