The Development Report: Meanwhile, in Oakland

The Development Report: Meanwhile, in Oakland

Michele Ellson

A map of major proposed and under-construction developments in Oakland.

A growing economy has helped to jump-start developers’ interest in Alameda, putting a slew of proposed housing and commercial developments under consideration or construction. But that same surging economy has either drawn or revived interest in a slew of developments in Alameda’s big-city neighbor, and planners in Oakland are working furiously to prepare for whatever else may come their way while the economy is hot.

Oakland has seen the development of thousands of new downtown homes under former mayor (and now governor) Jerry Brown’s famous 10k plan. A handful of developers and civic leaders have doubled down on the future of the East Bay’s biggest city, and surging real estate prices in San Francisco could attract more.

Oakland’s plans for thousands of new homes and jobs - including the redevelopment of much of the city's Alameda/Oakland Estuary waterfront - could be both a blessing and a curse for Alameda, which has limited off-Island access; plans for several of the developments studied the impacts they will have on traffic here and in intersections commuters who are leaving the Island for work are likely to cross. (Also in the works are proposals for new sports stadiums that have been welcomed by local fans.)

So who’s building what, and where? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the major projects under consideration and development. A complete list of projects the city is considering or that have been completed is available here.

1. Brooklyn Basin

Who’s building it: Signature Properties, in partnership with Zarsion Holdings Group of Beijing and Reynolds & Brown.

What’s being built: 3,100 new homes and 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, plus 30 acres of parks, open space, trails, wetlands and new marinas with 200 slips. The project is expected to generate 10,000 jobs.

Location:The development is planned for 65 acres of Alameda/Oakland Estuary frontage adjacent to Jack London Square.

Status: The project formerly known as Oak to 9th, which stalled when the economy tanked, found fresh footing when Beijing-based Zarsion offered to step in with funding. Construction is reportedly slated to begin in February and will take up to 15 years to complete.

2. Lake Merritt Station Area Plan

Who’s building it: TBD

What’s being considered: The city’s current planning documents call for a “high-intensity neighborhood” with up to 4,900 new homes, 1.6 million square feet of new office and retail space, and 108,000 square feet of new educational space. The project would generate an estimated 4,100 jobs.

Location: The project would include 315 acres that encompass the Lake Merritt BART station, an area bounded by 14th Street, the I-880 freeway, Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

Status: The city is taking comments on a draft environmental study of the project’s potential impacts; development is expected to be completed in 2035.

3. Oakland Army Base

Who’s building it: Oakland Global, a group that includes the City of Oakland, Port of Oakland, Prologis and Oakland’s California Capital Investment Group

What’s being built: From the Oakland Global website: “Under a sweeping modernization and expansion plan, the former Oakland Army Base will become the Oakland Global Trade and Logistics Center (Oakland Global), transforming it into a world-class intermodal hub and an international gateway for transporting goods by seaport, railroad, and roadway.” That translates into development of the northern half of the 330-acre former Army base into an upgraded working waterfront, nearly a million square feet of logistics and distribution facilities, indoor recycling, truck parking and a pair of new rail yards.

Location: The project will be erected on 158 acres of the former Army base, which encompasses the existing Port of Oakland on the Oakland Outer Harbor.

Status: Construction began in November 2013.

4. Oak Knoll Naval Hospital

Who’s building it: Signature Properties

What’s being considered: The original plans for redevelopment of Oak Knoll, which called for 960 homes and 82,000 square feet of commercial space on its 167 acres, fell apart after co-owner Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008; the financial firm and its development partner, former Alameda Point developer SunCal Companies, spent the next several years battling over who would win control of Oak Knoll and a host of other developments in court. Lehman won the rights to the former Naval hospital, and in July the holding company that controls that and other developments reportedly picked Signature to develop it.

Location: Oak Knoll is bounded by Mountain Boulevard and Keller Avenue in the Oakland Hills.

Status: A start date for the project has not yet been announced; a May 2013 project list from the City of Oakland said the developer and the city were in talks to restart an environmental review of the proposed development.

5. Central Estuary Plan

Who’s building it: TBD

What’s being considered: About 400 homes, 1.1 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, and 10 acres of parks

Location: The development would take place on a stretch of the Alameda/Oakland Estuary that spans from Embarcadero Cove to the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline which includes the Park Street, High Street and Fruitvale bridges.

Status: Planning for the development has been completed.

6. Howard Terminal ballpark

Who’s proposing it: Clorox CEO Don Knauss and T. Gary Rogers, former head of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, are reportedly pitching the site.

What’s being proposed: A $500 million, 38,000-seat stadium for the Oakland A’s.

Location: The stadium would be located on Port of Oakland property on the Alameda/Oakland Estuary, next to Jack London Square.

Status: The project was pitched in December and has reportedly got the blessing of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan; A’s owner Lew Wolff, who has been trying to get Major League Baseball to allow him to move his team to San Jose, is reportedly skeptical the proposal could become reality.

7. Coliseum City

Who’s building it: The City of Oakland is sponsoring the project, though its planning documents say no public or private money has been committed to it.

What’s being considered: New basketball, baseball and football stadiums; a 14 million square foot science and technology hub; up to 6,370 new homes; and a new hotel, parks, shopping, and enhanced transit.

Location: The plan covers 800 acres bounded by 66th Avenue, San Leandro Street, Hegenberger Road and San Leandro Bay – an area that includes the existing Oakland Coliseum and the Edgewater Business Park.

Status: A master plan for the development proposal has been designed and the city is preparing an environmental study.


Submitted by Karen Bey (not verified) on Tue, Jan 21, 2014

Thanks Michelle for this detailed information on all the Oakland developments in the pipeline.

San Francisco is fast becoming the new Silicon Valley. Twitter built a new 220,000 sq ft. campus in San Francisco, and in 2012 the SF Business Times reported that 24 companies moved from the Peninsula to San Francisco. On top of that companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, and eBay have increased their presence in San Francisco by expanding into larger spaces.

This is what is fueling the economy in the Bay Area and this is what is fueling all the new developments in Alameda and Oakland. This is good news for the entire Bay Area region!

Submitted by Liz Taylor (not verified) on Tue, Jan 21, 2014

Where will the water come from to support all of these new developments and what measures will be taken to assure a net zero increase in traffic/carbon emissions? As for waterfront, how will potential sea level rise impact development? A smarter use might be marsh and wetland open space with any development set well back from the shoreline.

Submitted by Karen Bey (not verified) on Wed, Jan 22, 2014

I might want to add that there is an interesting article in the Berkeleyside about the transformation of Berkeley's Downtown. Berkeley is making major improvements to their downtown adding a number of housing units and a new hotel. They are also experience a restaurant boom as a result of their growth.

The new Silicon Valley will have long term lasting positive effects in the Bay Area for years to come.