Two developers pitch nearly 400 units near Oakland’s Lake Merritt


post2Two developers have proposed separate housing projects totaling 384 units at Oakland’s 14th Street and Alice Street, fueling the development boom near Lake Merritt.

Maria Poncell of Bay Development has filed a pre-application for 126 residential units and 3,200 square feet of retail at 250 14th St., which is currently used as a parking lot. Poncell didn’t respond to requests for comment. Across the street, Atlanta developer Wood Partners has filed a pre-application for 258 residential units and 13,000 square feet of retail at 226 13th St. The site spans a full city block and is now a parking lot.

The two housing projects are the latest in a wave of new projects for the area around Lake Merritt, which has attracted new development interest following the city’s approval late last year of the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan. The plan anticipates 4,900 new housing units in the next 25 years.

“That’s really been the catalyst,” said Brian Pianca, director of development at Wood Partners’ Bay Area office. Wood Partners is hoping to receive approvals in the first half of 2016 and then break ground by the end of 2016. The booming economy has boosted development interest throughout Oakland, but it has also created concerns over affordability.

About two blocks south of Wood Partners’ project, East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. is building a 71-unit affordable housing project at 1110 Jackson St.. Three blocks to the west, Ridgemont Hospitality has proposed a 95-unit Hampton Inn hotel at 378 11th St.

Further east, Orton Development is working on plans for an adaptive reuse of the historic Kaiser Convention Center. And the Oakland Unified School Districtand developer UrbanCore are bidding for a vacant parcel on the southeastern side of Lake Merritt.

If it moves forward, 226 13th St. would be Wood Partners’ third project in Oakland. The developer also has a 196-unit project at 2300 Valdez St. approved and hopes to break ground by the end of the year. That project benefitted from the city’s passage of the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan, which had the goal of encouraging development in the city’s historic auto row. Wood Partners was also the developer of the 264-unit Domain in downtown Oakland, which was sold to Thailand’s Land & Houses PCL in 2013.

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