By Meghan Hall
The Northgate-Waverly neighborhood, which is not far from Lake Merritt and downtown Oakland, could see another housing development rise. Junction Properties, a local development company, recently filed a pre-application to redevelop 2600 Telegraph Ave. Junction intends to develop the low-density commercial property into 225 residential units, according to plans on file with the City of Oakland.
The complex will feature a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units oriented around a central courtyard. 15 units will be set aside for very-low income residents.
In addition to residential uses, plans show the development will also include 6,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. A 165-car garage with mechanized parking stackers and storage for 69 bicycles are also designated in the plans. A dog relief area, as well as a rooftop deck, will also be provided.
The development is to be designed by BAR Architects. The plans show that the building will be clad in a mix of stucco, concrete, corrugated metal and dark brick. A “wave wall” will work to accent the residential floors and highlight the corners of the building.
The development would demolish the existing commercial building on-site to make way for the new project. The property itself, with a walk score of 98 according to Junction Properties, is at the center of a bustling neighborhood that is home to the First Friday Arts Festival as well as a number of popular retailers such as Target, Shake Shack and Whole Foods. An additional 2.5 million square feet of entitled office space is also in the works.
Timing for the project is unclear; however, the development team will have to go through both design and environmental reviews before proceeding.
Pursuing development in high-density, downtown-like areas is not without its risks. According to a recent report released by Marcus & Millichap, suburban demand for multifamily properties remains high as the Delta variant remains present, and construction in urban markets remains a challenge, albeit a temporary one. Potential renters are still looking for more space as work from home initiatives continue, and demand for apartments with more air and access to the outdoors remains high.
Nevertheless, developers are moving ahead with projects. The Oakland-Berkeley submarket will lead in new apartment deliveries for the fifth year in a row in 2022, reports Marcus & Mililchap. The addition of newly-completed units will reach a cyclical high as apartment stock increases by 2.5 percent. In Oakland and Berkeley specifically, developers delivered 2,400 units. Vacancy amongst buildings in these markets sat at about 7 percent, compared with 3.6 percent in the East Bay.
While rents did decline by about five percent last year, they have increased by three percent throughout 2021. The rise is due to the number of new Class A units hitting the market. Fundamentals are expected to improve as renters return to urban markets, companies re-open their offices and the labor market continues to improve.
As of this writing, Junction Properties had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.