BART Mulls Highrise Project near Lake Merritt Station as Other Developers Move Forward

Boston Properties, Salesforce Tower, McGrath Properties, The Skylyne, MacArthur BART station, North Oakland, Bay Area, Fruitvale Transit Village, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Build Group,

Oakland Office Market, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Oakland, East Bay, The Swig Co, Emeryville, Berkeley, Cushman & Wakefield, San Ramon, DTZBy Robert Carlsen

While BART continues pre-planning efforts for a residential or office high-rise adjacent to its Lake Merritt station in Oakland, several other projects within the surrounding Lake Merritt Station Area Plan (LMSAP), a transit-oriented development formulated by the city, are gradually getting off the ground.

The Lake Merritt specific plan was adopted by the city of Oakland in December 2014 and envisions a “high-intensity neighborhood around a rejuvenated BART station.” The 315-acre project area is generally bounded by 14th St. to the north, I-880 to the south, Broadway to the west and 5th Ave. to the east. Over the next 25 years, the city looks to add 4,900 new housing units, 4,100 new jobs, 404,000 square feet of retail and 1.2-million square feet of office space in the area, along with circulation and streetscape improvements.

[contextly_sidebar id=”DrjUrqgTdIbyTQEY9vU9jxUgdkOhUkzT”]Different from the development activity surrounding the nearby MacArthur BART Station (which is considered a “transit village”), the LMSAP’s TOD projects will be within walking distance of two BART stations — Lake Merritt and 12th St. and the AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit project on 11th and 12th streets, as well as several AC Transit trunk links, such as Line 51, which carries approximately 19,000 passengers a day, said Christina Ferracane, Planner III for the city.

“While the project at MacArthur BART Station includes significant involvement and funding from public entities and the city of Oakland and are not part of a specific plan, most of the projects going through the entitlement process in the LMSAP to date are private developments,” said Ferracane. “The LMSAP looked at development potential for the area beyond the BART station itself, generally within a half-mile walking distance.”

As for BART’s high-rise project, Media Resources Manager Alicia Trost said BART is not in discussions as yet with any developers regarding Lake Merritt. “The RFQ is scheduled to go out and be finalized within fiscal year 2015-16,” so figure June 2016 at the latest, she said.

Leading the development pack in the LMSAP currently is Prosperity Place, a 71-unit affordable housing complex with a 4,000-square-foot ground-floor dental clinic. A joint-venture project with the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. and the Oakland Housing Authority, the complex is located at 188 11th St. across from the Lincoln Recreation Center. Completion is scheduled for December 2016.

A pre-application was filed in October for a development proposal on the full block between 11th and 12th streets and Webster and Harrison streets and the northwest corner of an adjacent block. Ferracane said various options for development were submitted for multi-family and ground-floor commercial, ranging in height from seven stories to some portions of the project going to 17 stories. The project’s applicant is Walid Mando of Forma LLC, San Francisco.

Other LMSAP projects are also moving ahead, albeit in early stages with developer comments and detailed descriptions scant at this point. For example, California Capital Investment Group of Oakland has had its planning permit approved for a 382-unit residential highrise at 325 7th St. There will also be 9,000 square feet of commercial space. CCIG Partner Mark McClure said there is “no news” on the project’s status at press time.

A small San Francisco investment firm, Bay Development, has filed a pre-application for a 16-story residential tower at 250 14th St. at Alice St. The plans, which are before the city’s design review committee, call for 126 units and 3,200 square feet of ground-floor retail within 16 stories. Another project near 14th and Alice streets, at 226 13th St., has also filed a pre-application, this time for 258 units and 13,000 square feet of retail. The developer is Wood Partners. Both project sites are currently parking lots.

And the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, owned by the City of Oakland, is located at 10 10th Street is entitled for potential future development. The Oakland Planning Dept. notes that the city has an exclusive negotiation agreement with Orton Development for rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the property. The city said the project may entail demolition of 280,000 square feet of existing buildings and the construction of two new towers — 42 stories with 700,000 square feet of office space and 34 stories with 565,000 square feet of office space and 22,000 square feet of retail space. No specific plans have been submitted, however.

Meanwhile, in the MacArthur Station area, BRIDGE Housing, along with MacArthur Transit Community Partners LLC, is working on a multi-phase project on seven acres between W MacArthur Blvd., 40th St., Telegraph Ave. and Highway 24. Mural, the first residential building with 90 units of affordable housing for families, is nearing completion, said BRIDGE director of communications, Lyn Hikida. Other phases within the area include additional residential and commercial buildings, infrastructure work and a BART parking structure.

According to the city of Oakland, the MacArthur Transit Village is a 7.5-acre mixed-use, five-phase TOD project that will add 624 new residential units, including 516 market-rate units and 108 below market-rate units, as well as 42,500 square feet of commercial/neighborhood-serving retail space.