Oakland City Council Weighing Development Proposals for 2 Large City-Owned Parcels

Oakland City Council, Lake Merritt, Affordable Housing, UrbanCore, Surplus Public Lands Act, East Bay, East Bay Asian Local Development Corp, BRIDGE Housing

12th Street Remainder parcel_E 12 Coalition proposal

By Adam Steinhauer

The Oakland City Council is weighing development proposals for two large city-owned parcels that are likely to include hundreds of units of affordable and market-rate housing in prime locations.

In November, developers submitted proposals to the city for the one-acre site known as the 12th Street Remainder parcel. The site, which is on Lake Merritt, has been controversial. For two years, the city pursued a plan to sell the parcel to Oakland developer UrbanCore, which had planned an apartment tower entirely of market-rate units.

[contextly_sidebar id=”bOwDnYfRhc3MzA8npBZWtjDsfPjTGmHo”]Oakland abandoned that plan in July, however. Affordable housing advocates had argued that the city was required to prioritize affordable housing as a use for the site, under California’s Surplus Public Lands Act. Their argument won the day after the East Bay Express published a confidential legal opinion from City Attorney Barbara Parker that endorsed their view.

UrbanCore has since teamed with non-profit affordable housing developer East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. to submit a new proposal. It includes 360 market-rate units and 90 affordable units.

UrbanCore and its partner are now facing competition from three other development teams.

One includes BRIDGE Housing, California’s largest developer of affordable housing. BRIDGE, in partnership with AGI Avant, submitted a proposal for a mixed-income and mixed-use development that would include 250 to 350 mixed income units, spokeswoman Lyn Hikida said.

A third proposal was submitted by PLACE Development Corp. No details about the proposal have been released and PLACE representatives could not be reached for comment.

A fourth proposal is being put forward by the Oakland Unified School District to develop the parcel as affordable housing for teachers and other district employees.

The 12th Street Remainder Parcel is adjacent to property where the district already plans to build the Marcus Foster Educational Leadership Complex, which will include district administrative offices, new facilities for Dewey Academy high school and sports and recreation facilities.

“There’s a lot of interest from the school board in talking about how does Oakland as a city provide housing for educators,” said Jody London, vice president of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education.

The issue is complicated, London said. Some district employees, including custodians and paraprofessionals, earn little enough that they are likely to qualify for affordable housing under traditional standards. Teachers, however, often earn just enough that they fail to qualify.

“That idea of pushing the city to adopt a policy that would lead to the creation of more housing that would be available to teachers and other educators would be really important to the school district,” London said.

One of the proposals for the 12th St. Remainder parcel is likely to receive a preliminary approval early next year. The winning proposal is likely to win final approval in about year, after going through the CEQA process, said Patrick Lane, Oakland’s redevelopment program manager.

In the meantime, the Oakland City Council heard proposals Dec. 1 for the one-acre 1911 Telegraph Ave. parcel in the Uptown neighborhood, a block from where ride-sharing service Uber plans to develop its new offices.

City officials have pushed for developers to include a hotel and affordable housing in their proposals for 1911 Telegraph.

There are currently six development teams with proposals before the city.

City staff has expressed preference for a proposal by Lowe Enterprises. Lowe has offered two options for its development.

In one, it would develop 259 market-rate housing units and 28 affordable units.

In the other option, which is preferred by Lowe, it would partner with Hayward-based affordable housing developer Eden Housing. Eden would develop 38 affordable units and Lowe would build 251 market-rate units.

Lowe’s proposal also includes a 115-room hotel, 16,000 square feet of retail space and 297 off-street parking spaces. The residential units and the hotel would be within a 23-story tower facing Telegraph Avenue.

As alternatives to Lowe’s proposal, city staff have recommended proposals by BRIDGE Housing and The Robert Green Co., and by San Diego-based mixed-use developer OliverMcmillan.

BRIDGE’s and Robert Green’s proposal includes an eight-story building with 148 residential units, 60 of which would be affordable housing; a 15-story, 250-room hotel; and 236 parking spaces.

OliverMcMillan is teaming with San Francisco-based Commune Hotels & Resorts, institutional real estate investor Lane Partners and engineering and construction firm Strategic Urban Development Alliance for its proposal. They would build a 27-story residential tower with 312 units, 10 percent of which would be affordable; a seven-floor boutique hotel with 168 rooms; 9,365 square feet of retail space, and 307 parking spaces.