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Development without gentrification? Oakland’s Fruitvale is the model, report says

Oakland’s Fruitvale transit village has been a boon to the surrounding community without gentrification

The cluster of shops, community service organizations and apartments at the Fruitvale BART station may not seem all that different from other commercial plazas, but to some economists and urban planners, it’s the grand prize of development — at least, for now.

Researchers from UCLA’s Latino Policy and Politics Initiative say the transit village has been a boon to the surrounding neighborhood without resulting in gentrification. As many low-income and working class residents across the state are forced to leave urban areas due to rising rents and home prices, the UCLA researchers said Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood has held onto its existing residents, along with its signature Mexican-American culture.

“It’s the holy grail of urban planning,” said Alexander Quinn, an economist with Hatch, who reviewed the study’s findings, “to say we improved the place and the people who live there are better off.”

But long-time residents, academics and elected officials question whether Oakland’s Mexican-American mecca can continue to withstand the pressure of the region’s booming economy.  And, to them, the tide may already be turning.

Read more from East Bay Times

 

 

San Francisco’s largest office landlord to break ground on $265 million Oakland tower

Boston Properties, San Francisco’s largest office landlord, will break ground on May 2 on a 402-unit apartment tower next to Oakland’s MacArthur BART station.

The 260-foot project at 532 39th St. will be the tallest building in North Oakland and the company’s first residential project on the West Coast.

The project in the Temescal district will be among a half-dozen Oakland towers to start construction in the last two years, an unprecedented real estate boom that’s drawing some of the country’s biggest developers to the city. Other developers include Lennar Multifamily Communities, Shorenstein Properties and Carmel Partners.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Oakland parking garage next to City Hall could join development wave

More Oakland parking is being studied for new development.

A closed garage next to Oakland City hall could join the development wave that’s transformed over a thousand parking spaces into new buildings.

Oakland city staff are studying the demolition of the 335-space public parking structure at 1414 Clay St. and construction of either a new hotel or office building. The garage closed in December 2016 due to seismic safety concerns.

A city report recommends that Oakland seek an office project on the site because it’s more financially viable than a hotel. It also recommends requiring 51 parking spaces rather than 273 spaces, which would replace some of the previously used parking but could threaten the financial viability of a new project.

The stance is consistent with Oakland’s efforts to cut parking in new downtown projects and promote the use of public transit, “rather than continuing to subsidize the cost of private vehicle ownership and use,” according to the report.

Patrick Lane, the city’s manager of public/private development, said there isn’t a schedule for seeking developers for the site and it would likely happen after the city updates its public lands policy. The City Council may require higher fees and on-site affordable housing in new projects on public land, as activists push for more funding for low-income residents.

The city is also seeking development of two other public sites at 1911 Telegraph Ave. and 1800 San Pablo Ave, which could also be subject to the public lands policy.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

San Francisco and Oakland Rents Inch up but Remain below Peak

Having ended last year lower than where they started, asking rents for apartments in San Francisco have inched up around one percent over the past two months, in part due to the typical seasonality in rents.

And in fact, based on a comparison of roughly 2,600 listings, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco, including one-off rentals as well as units in larger developments, is currently running around $4,100 a month, which is 0.9 percent lower versus the same time last year and 8.5 percent below its peak in the fourth quarter of 2015 with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom still running around $3,400 a month having ticked down from around $3,650.

At the same time, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland is currently running around $2,450 a month which is 0.5 percent higher than at the same time last year but still 18 percent lower than a mid-2016 peak with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom still running around $2,100 a month, which remains around 40 percent cheaper than in San Francisco.

Read more from SocketSite

 

 

Oakland creates new policy director position to deal with housing crisis

Mayor Libby Schaaf has named Darin Ranelletti as the city’s first policy director for housing security, a position the mayor created and hopes will help ease Oakland’s affordable housing crisis.

Ranelletti is no stranger around City Hall: He has spent the past 15 years in the planning and building department, most recently as the interim director. In his new policy role, Ranelletti is expected to promote new housing available to all income levels and work to protect longtime residents from being pushed out of Oakland’s market.

“This new position gives the Mayor’s Office the resources needed to address the housing crisis effectively and with urgency,” Schaaf said in a statement Thursday. “Darin’s 360-degree perspective begins with his work in the City’s Planning & Building Department to increase Oakland’s housing production at a record pace this year, as well as his recent efforts to protect tenants and safeguard our city’s affordable housing stock. He also has a deep passion and commitment to equity.”

Read more at East Bay Times

New Oakland law could prevent cannabis companies from evicting tenants

The Oakland City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss new legislation that, if passed, could prevent cannabis companies who own real estate from displacing existing tenants.

The proposed amendments to the city’s cannabis ordinances, Oakland Municipal Code Chapters 5.80 and 5.81, prohibit the issuance of any approvals for cannabis businesses seeking to operate in spaces currently occupied by work-live or residential uses.

Oakland council member Rebecca Kaplan, the co-author of the proposed legislation, says the amendments balance the city’s support of the cannabis industry with protections for work-live spaces, thus supporting a diverse industrial sector in Oakland.

Read more from KQED

Transit-village housing in Oakland’s Fruitvale gets going, after years of delays

Affordable housing complex a happy milestone for the dozen or so elected officials in attendance.

With BART trains rattling past in the background, several hundred people gathered last week under a white tent to celebrate the groundbreaking of Casa Arabella, a 94-unit affordable-housing complex going up on a surface parking lot just south of the Fruitvale BART Station.

It was a happy milestone for the dozen or so elected officials in attendance. The project, developed by the Unity Council and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp., will be affordable to households with incomes in the extremely low and very-low categories. Twenty units will be reserved for formerly homeless veterans. It will be followed by another 181 units, which Unity Council CEO Chris Iglesias hopes to start building in 2019.

But the ceremony also underscored the exasperating length of time that it takes to develop transit-oriented housing on BART-owned land. As several speakers pointed out, it had been 24 years since the community plan for the Fruitvale Transit Village was conceived, and nearly 14 years since the 47-unit first phase opened.

Read more from SFGate

 

 

Exclusive: A 102-year-old East Oakland warehouse has been reborn as offices and artist studios

The project is one of East Oakland’s biggest in years.

The property at 2744 E. 11th St. opened in 1916 as a cannery for H.G. Prince, a company that invented a method to remove pits from fruits – a fitting use in a neighborhood once known for its orchards. Decades later, Lucasey Manufacturing Corp., a maker of television mounts, bought the building and stored products there, part of the blue-collar industry of Oakland.

Another transformation will happen next month, when the building reopens as more than 100,000 square feet of offices, industrial and artist space called Artthaus Studios.

The project will be one of the largest new developments in East Oakland. It is the largest source of modern, renovated artist and maker space in the area, said Riaz Taplin, CEO of Riaz Capital, the project’s developer, general contractor and designer.

“Oakland has really taken this new role within the Bay Area as the home of the creative community. So creating a building to accelerate the innovation of those types of businesses and people and creators and artists was the goal in creating Artthaus Studios,” said Taplin.

Taplin believes the project provides three benefits for smaller businesses and creative companies: It creates collaboration by concentrating various businesses in the same building, it provides a new facility near a BART station and it’s relatively affordable for new space.

“We wanted to tailor the spaces to be for small, young businesses — entrepreneurial, small businesses, ideally in the creative industries,” said Taplin. “We wanted to create an environment, which made them competitive. We want to make it easy to collaborate. We wanted to make it easy for them to seek out customers.”

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

 

Chase Center starting to look like an arena

Future home of the Warriors comes to life

It’s been a full year since the Chase Center, future home of the Golden State Warriors, broke ground in San Francisco’s Mission Bay. And now—at last—it’s beginning to take shape, with a visible arena oval, giving a clear sense of what’s to come.

Only three months ago it didn’t look like much. What a difference three months make. Roughly 450 workers per day work to construct the billion-dollar project

The Chase Center isn’t scheduled for completion until the end of 2019, so this project will take its time. Once completed, the 18,000-seat arena will also boast 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, as well as five-plus acres of public waterfront park.

Read more from Curbed SF

BART tells A’s to forget about a new station at a waterfront ballpark

BART General Manager Grace Crunican has all but slammed the door on the idea of building a station near Oakland’s Howard Terminal — the waterfront location that Mayor Libby Schaaf has been promoting for a new A’s ballpark.

It’s not a “viable alternative,” Crunican told the team, for two main reasons.

For starters, it would be located between the West Oakland Station — gateway to the Transbay Tube — and the Oakland Wye underground connector downtown that’s used by four separate lines. It’s the most heavily trafficked section of BART in the East Bay.

Putting a station at the site northwest of Jack London Square, Crunican told A’s President Dave Kaval in a letter last week, would “permanently reduce speeds and introduce uncertainty … where we can least afford it.”

Read more from The San Francisco Chronicle