Lake Merritt Boulevard Apartments Rendering

The plans for an upscale 23-story apartment building to rise on a city-owned parcel overlooking Lake Merritt were approved by Oakland’s Planning Commission yesterday, helping clear the way for the site at the corner of East 12th Street and 2nd Avenue to be sold with a price tag that’s expected to total around $5 million.

As proposed by developer UrbanCore, and designed by AVRP Sudios with Pyatok Architects, the Lake Merritt Boulevard Apartments project, a 21-story tower over a two-story podium and underground garage, will include 298 units, ranging from studios to two-bedroom penthouse units, with rents projected to average $3,000 per month.

The development will include parking for 209 cars, a 2,000-square-foot café on the ground floor of the building, and landscaping improvements to the City-owned stormwater treatment basin (“park”) that’s adjacent to the development site.

Lake Merritt Boulevard Apartments Site

And while the “future park” wouldn’t include any pathways and would function as more of a passive open green space, designs for pathways along the Lake Merritt Estuary have been drawn.

Lake Merritt Boulevard Apartments Watercolor

The development will not include an affordable housing component and opponents fear that it will lead to a rise in area rents and accelerate the gentrification of Oakland and the East Lake neighborhood.

Construction will take around two years to complete once the ground has been broken.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Sharperblue

    The placement of the stormwater basin is astonishingly short-sighted, but it could be worse. This would be the second big development on the side of the Park closest to BART and along the South side of the lake which is, as a whole, an area filled with enormous potential to remake Oakland. The fact that you can walk a mile and a half around the south and east sides without encountering so much as a laundromat worth of retail is mind-boggling. What should be a boulevard bustling with cafes and shops is just dead garage entrances with third rate plaster box apartments on top. This project and a dozen more like it should be shown the red carpet treatment, pronto. Please.

    • Posted by 89CentEggs

      Rockin’ Crawfish, Portal, Mi Rancho, and a few other shops are nearby to the north. Lucky and E 18th St retail is walkable. So is 14th St with Ruby room, and some small retail spaces. The neighborhood to the east of this site is loaded with Asian food and grocery stops, especially Vietnamese. Of course, more high-density, low-parking housing and retail around the lake would be great.

    • Posted by Matt in Uptown

      There’s actually a ton within a 1/2 mile let alone 1 1/2 miles, but I also support more infill here.

    • Posted by RealOakland

      “enormous potential to remake Oakland” There are plenty of restaurants in the area. They are called local owned, which is something that makes Oakland what it is. If you want the high priced latte cafe take your ass to SF. You must be one of those Oakland immigrants without a clue as to what Oakland “should be”!! Educate yourself about Oakland before you try to change it.

  2. Posted by curmudgeon

    Yay! While I understand the argument that in selling its own land, the City should feel empowered to insist on a level of affordability, it is WAY too early to make that argument in Oakland. There has been virtually no private market for developing private housing in Oakland since before the recession, and certainly not at such a scale. Because of that, 2/3 of the housing that has been built has been assisted housing of one sort or another…much supported from the wind-down of Redevelopment funds. Housing of any type is urgently needed now…the affordable housing issue is a fight for another day when the market for housing in Oakland is established.

    • Posted by Matt in Uptown

      Oakland is affordable, you can buy a 3/2 SFR for under $250k. No, it’s not going to be in a premium area, but that’s how affordable works.

  3. Posted by Sassy

    The motel and it’s parking lot across the street at the end of the boulevard should be up next for a similar development at 30+ stories!

  4. Posted by dogwood

    I am an Oakland resident and fully support this project. It makes sense for market rate housing to be built around Lake Merritt where it can demand high rents to support the development of a high quality project. It also would make sense for the developer to heed the recommendation and make the $5.1 million “donation” for affordable housing to build a good faith relationship with the city and its residents. I would note that much of the site of the “future park” was previously a park before the Lake Merritt Ave project took it over to park machines and make way for the new bridge. West of this project is the old OUSD administration building. Is there any word on what is happening with that site. The building is mostly deteriorated and unused as far as one can tell from the outside. I have heard that it may get sold by the district or torn down and replaced with something else, but I have not seen any movement. Anyone know?

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Thanks, I was scratching my head – I used to bike by here all the time, and I was sitting here thinking “but it *is* a park already”.

  5. Posted by Sassy

    Read in the Oakland Post recently that OUSD concluded the building was beyond repair while several architects disagreed. I think it would be great converted into loft like housing. It would be a shame to lose it and adjacent greenish apartment building.

    • Posted by dogwood

      I agree, there are some good bones on that building. Though its location could support higher density housing so it could support an addition of some sort.

    • Posted by Matt in Uptown

      Yes, the recent OUSD report is very embellished… actually, it’s pretty much completely false. A few years ago a highly respected engineering firm concluded the former OUSD HQ could be retrofitted for a measly $5 million. However, the development in this Socketsite report is not at the former OUSD HQ, but about a block away.

  6. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Looks like a casino.

  7. Posted by citicritter

    That’s some super sad standard old school design.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      The funny thing is that if they tried just a little bit, the could actually push this to being Googie – which would be kind of fun.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Bring on the neo-googie. But are there any architects and developers with the talent and guts to do it well?

  8. Posted by Matt in Uptown

    “stormwater treatment basin (“park”)” -stormwater retention basins are often very beautiful open spaces. There will be no mechanical treatment going on… water will fill the basin, sediments will settle to the bottom and feed vegetation, some water will percolate into the ground and excess will flow out into the estuary. It’s a nice thing to be next too.

    • Posted by foggydunes

      agree– if well designed it could be quite beautiful and natural looking.

  9. Posted by 4th gen SF'er

    “The development will not include an affordable housing component and opponents fear that it will lead to a rise in area rents and accelerate the gentrification of Oakland and the East Lake neighborhood.”

    I’m really happy about this. The only affordable housing I support is senior & disabled housing otherwise….people need to get jobs, roommates, and/or move.

    Also I’ve heard, and I’m sure this site has already reported on the fact that Oakland is going to allegedly get Google and other tech. The entire region is going to be transformed.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      “going to allegedly get” ..wow, that’s definitive! I’m sure you’re referring to the sears renovation. The developers are supposedly shopping it to major tech, but to my knowledge there’s been no announcement yet. If and when it happens, it will be transformative.

  10. Posted by Brian M

    I’m sure 4th Generationer is some kind of technology tool. Or, given his “heritage”, he inherited daddy’s hosue or properties.

    News Flash: Jobs which are more useful to the community than “Ap Designer” or new ways to target advertising (Google) don’t pay enough to afford market rents, even with “room mates”.

    I’m sure the local gas station clerk or hip barrista is happy to understand he or she just needs to suck it up and commute three hours per day. All so 4th Generation Tool can pontificate about Saint Ayn Rand and the joys of the market.

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