Plans for Residential Expansion of Brooklyn Basin Take Shape

Brooklyn Basin, Signature Development Group, Zarsion Holdings, Reynolds & Brown, Oakland
Courtesy of Signature Development Group

By Meghan Hall

Brooklyn Basin, a 64-acre master-planned project along the Oakland waterfront, could see more residential development in the future as the City held a design review for plans to expand the community’s residential capacity to 3,700 units. Previously, the expected residential capacity of the site was about 3,100 residential units. The proposal was brought forth by Signature Development Group, Zarsion Holdings Group, and Reynolds & Brown.

The proposal for the expansion first came in September of last year. Documents indicate that the development team is working to develop a 24-story tower on Parcel M; if approved, the tower would be the second high-rise to grace the site. 

Alongside the Parcel M tower, the development capacity of parcels K, L and M would be increased from 231 to 400 units, 146 to 240 units, and 240 to 577 units, respectively. Any taller building elements a part of Parcel L will be eliminated in favor of building more density on Parcel M, according to the project team. Under the proposal, the project’s marina capacity will also be increased by 131 slips. Full-build out of the project is expected by about 2027, according to public documents.

“At this point in these entire first two phases, we have no taller elements,” explained Signature Development Group’s Michael Ghielmetti at the project’s recent design review. “…All along we have wanted to activate the area, and we’re doing it through a number of means. One is putting eyes on the street and building buildings fronting the parks. Two, this is our major retail area.” 

Gheilmetti added, “We have looked at a number of waterfronts around the country and think that marinas and parks can not only peacefully coexist but enhance and complement each other.”

No decision was made at the recent design review. However, the project is subject to a draft environmental impact report. Additionally, according to City of Oakland staff, a final environmental impact report should be ready for publishing by about August of this year. This means, stated staff, the project could be up for approval as early as August or September. Prior to approvals, however, the Planning Commission will need to certify the environmental impact report, zoning changes, and amendments to the development agreement. The decision request would then go to the City Council, which would span at least two meetings.

The larger Brooklyn Basin development was initially conceived in 2001 and has come to fruition through years of collaborating with community partners, urban planners and government officials. In addition to the residential units, the community will feature 200,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space and 32 acres of parks and public open space. Signature Development Group ultimately decided to name the master planned community after the original city of Brooklyn, Calif., that was ultimately annexed by the City of Oakland in the early 1870s.

“The result was a master plan design that respects the environment, supports the local economy, and serves the needs of the community,” states Signature Development on its website. “The streets of Brooklyn Basin are configured and designed to provide direct pedestrian and visual pathways between the city and the waterfront, giving Oaklanders access to their shore.”

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