657 West MacArthur Boulevard Site

The days are numbered for the MacArthur Carwash and tire shop at the corner of MacArthur and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland, as the corner site traded hands for $1.325 million earlier this year and plans to develop the parcel have now been submitted to the city for review.

While the 657 West MacArthur Boulevard site is currently only zoned for building up to 62 feet in height, and it was sold with draft plans for a five-story building to rise, the development team is planning to invoke the city’s density bonus law and build up to six-stories in height, as we’ve roughly rendered below:

657 West MacArthur Boulevard Rendering

As proposed, the development would yield 41 new condos, three of which would be deeded for very low-income households in exchange for the extra height, over a ground floor garage and retail space, a couple blocks from BART and the waylaid MacArthur Station development.

22 thoughts on “Plans for Building up MacArthur Boulevard Even Higher Than Zoned”
  1. Cool, now what is this about development at MacArthur Station being waylaid… seems like the phases are moving along as scheduled.

    1. I don’t know why but the project recently went back to community hearings. There must have been some defect in the EIR or whatever. We’ll be lucky if they break ground on the next phase before 2020.

        1. Wonder how long that will take to work through the system. That seems like a pretty significant change but not familiar enough to state any different. As a transplant still amazed on the timeline of any project in the Bay Area takes to break ground and can’t for life of me.

          1. meant to say that for life of me can’t decide as a matter of personal opinion if the Bay area is getting any better projects out of the deal for such things as more community hearings or just getting less housing that simply costs everyone more.

          1. Thanks Jwb, this site blows away what the papers report and more times than not Business Journals do a flashy development story and then nothing or lacking any kind of insight or details.

            Curious on the other parcels labeled as C It notes construction pending. Does that mean what is currently proposed has been approved and ready for construction? Or the developer hasn’t proposed or gotten approval on Parcel C but just convenient wording that some day it will happen? Parcel C sites obviously cleared and ready for construction.

    2. Speaking of which I’d love to know if BART is even trying to find a tenant for the big retail space they built on Macarthur that’s been empty for years.

  2. This is encouraging when it comes to affordability… if land can be bought at only $32,000 per unit, then it seems like it should be possible to profitably develop housing at very reasonable prices. The city just has to make sure that there is enough appropriately-zoned land available to meet demand.

  3. This particular location….. Hmmmm… Not exactly good. Is crackville murder zone readonable to say. Gentrification encroaching sure, but this is borderline area still.

    Newly moved in overpaid for RE and rents as well feel free to bash my response, but this block is ….

    1. OL, Rockridge was pretty sleepy in the 80’s. Temescal was pretty much dead in the 90’s. Just ten years back Uptown was a bunch of parking lots and auto repair shops. You’re now seeing homes getting flipped all over the MLK and W Grand area. Sure it’s a little rough now, but connect the dots: 5 min walk to BART, 15 min to Temescal, 40th/Bway or Emeryville.

      1. Yes I understand. I hope you are right and I agree about 10-15 years ago (I lived near lake merrit for about 10 years in 2000 – 2010 & know all the areas you mention & more parts of Oakland quite well….so I have also seen it all change A LOT and for the better over the years).

        Im just saying, even within all that you are still going to have bad hoods, and transition lines from good to borderline to bad are going to get more severe and clear.

        I think the streets in that part of oakland that will differentiate this all will be telgraph to MLK = borderline from good (east of telegraph), to bad (west of MLK). And then 4oth st to mcarthur…N of 40th being ok to good, and mcarthur and sound will stay pretty bad, as they currently are. I think, as you note also, that as you keep going south to around W grand it starts changing again.

        Its probably easier to just say the triangle within San Pablo to 27th, to the 980, to Mcarthur…..With gentrification creeping around on all sides. Or you could say Hoover-Foster and Mcclymonds will remain tough hoods within a gentrifying W Oakland.

        I dont really know, but that is what I observe when I am in that area.

  4. Does anyone know what the plans are for the site across the street? There is a boarded up corner retail building (on a large lot) and an adjacent Victorian that is also boarded up.

  5. Oaklandlover: no, the corner’s not “exactly good” but it’s not particularly bad either. If you helicoptered down from Pacific Heights or Piedmont (or even 10 blocks over in Temescal, nowadays) you might hyperventilate, but I’ve lived two blocks from here for 6 years and haven’t been murdered once. This is a pretty dull piece of “architecture” but the neighborhood’s in very high demand and more people = more safety.

    Soccermom: nice snark, but in the above-mentioned 6 years I’ve never head a whistletip around here, and the streets aren’t wide enough for a full-on sideshow. We get donuts now and then on the corner but I hear that happens in nice neighborhoods too. Complaints about “lost culture” aren’t very productive, I agree, but are hardly unique to the parts of Oakland you find distasteful; many San Franciscans seem to waste all their bar time on that topic after living in the city a whole 10 years. And of course, if enough fearful white people get together, they can get a whole presidential candidate devoted to their complaints about lost culture. Or at least devoted to wearing the hat.

    Serge: there was a circa 2012-2013 proposal in some preliminary filing stage to build mixed use on that lot; very similar in size and general style to the MLK Café building (and that guy may be the owner of the lot now; not sure.) Likewise for one of the empty buildings up from the NE corner; that one got as far as a notice getting posted on the door a year or two ago. But both plans appear to have languished since.

    1. Yes I agree its not the worst place (in the world), but I am just saying I would not expect that area to develop/gentrify as quickly or appreciate as loftily as surrounding neighborhoods in W oak (see my note to Matt above).

      Even as W Oakland improves you are still going to have bad spots in it, and I think, for many reasons this will remain one….reasons being: 2 massive intersecting freeways create noise, pollution and traffic (offsetting much of the benefit of a great location & transit), you have the ghetto/transient hotel strip along Mcarthur, which I dont know what the city plan is for that strip but I suppose it will remain that way for many years to come, and then you have an established base of low income SRO’s, poor uneducated population in general, and drug and gang problems embedded in all this. Also, though yes its super close to BART, its actually just outside walking distance to major shopping and grocery. Cafe and eateries are pretty walkable (telegraph), but it still lacks a few key elements of a great walkable hood. Its hard to see families ever really establishing here, which tend to improve neighborhoods.

      Its one of the worst spots in W oakland (mostly south of the freeway, but thats basically Mcarthur)…it will be like living in the tenderloin, but there is a big difference in the worst and best blocks of the loin. I would consider this as more in the worst category.

      If you are single or have no kids and dont mind the grit (I love grit!) then sure its a fantastic, interesting, diverse and great location.

    2. i’ve lived in Oakland for two years now in Fruitvale. I am absolutely sick of Oakland apologists who make it out to be” not as bad as you think.” remains or less pit of despair, with trash piled up on the streets, whistle tips, baby mama drama, sideshows, burnouts, dudes hanging out at 2 o’clock in the afternoon shooting dice and smoking weed and drinking 40s. only two classes of educated people willingly move to Oakland: artists, and middle-class people who can’t afford to buy anywhere else. Nobody resident choice moves here, it’s sh*tville, quit lying.

  6. Some Guy: My comments above were about the neighborhood I live in and genuinely like, as I have genuinely liked two of the three places in Oakland I’ve lived since moving here, both willingly and with the means to live elsewhere, in 1998. I’m about 6 miles from Fruitvale, a neighborhood I don’t know much about and wasn’t commenting on. But you sound pretty unhappy with yourself that you chose to live there. Maybe you should move.

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