The refined designs for a 25-story tower to rise up to 260 feet in height at 532 Turquoise Street, across from the MacArthur BART Station in North Oakland, were presented to Oakland’s Planning Commission last night.  And the Commission has formally recommended that Oakland’s City Council approve the project as proposed.

As designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) for Boston Properties, the proposed MacArthur Transit Village “Parcel B” tower includes 402 apartments, of which 45 would be offered at below market rates, over a podium garage for 260 cars and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail/restaurant space.

Originally approved for an 80-foot-tall building with 150 apartments to rise on the Parcel B site, which is principally zoned for development up to 90 feet in height, Boston Properties supersized the proposed project shortly after being approved as the new development partner for the parcel this past summer.

Oakland’s Community & Economic Development Committee is now slated to review the proposal on February 28, with the City Council’s first vote tentatively scheduled for March 7, 2017.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Occupied in Oakland

    The commission meeting was hilarious. While +90% of speakers spoke in favor of the project, due to the present climate where developers are 100% evil meant several commissioners had to recuse themselves for even the most tangential relationship with the building of things.

  2. Posted by oakland lover

    OH YA I cant wait for this. MACARTHUR is going to become a real transit center. this will be the first step, we need a few more of these, and more density, but this is great to see!!

  3. Posted by SCOTT T DAVIDSON

    Nice… how can I get my family into one of those below market rate apts.?

  4. Posted by JayJay

    There needs to be more of these around BART stops, many more.

  5. Posted by BerklynPisces

    Absolutely ridiculous! Only 45 apartments out of 402 will be below market rents. This is not for Oakland natives these apartments are being built to displace Oakland natives. People are so funny about what they support. Everyone is up in arms about a Muslim travel ban meanwhile in our own backyards people are being displaced. Very very very disappointing.

    • Posted by Anon123

      You mean that the project will displace all the locals living on the current lot? I don’t see any tents, but it may be that SS is using a dated photo, and there actually is a thriving tent city now with over 45 families…

    • Posted by Emanon

      It’s a bart parking lot! How is this displacing “Oakland natives?” And why do you assume that “Oakland natives” can only afford to rent an apartment if it is below market rate?

      • Posted by BerklynPisces

        Not implying that at all but I know A LOT of people affected by the current market rents. If that’s what you automatically assume then there’s so insecurity on your part….

        • Posted by PRE

          So your solution is to NOT build for the newcomers?

      • Posted by Caren

        You obviously don’t read or pay attention enough. The intangible affect of people who are neither compassionate towards nor educated about who they are displacing is the point. It doesn’t matter that it’s a parking lot. It matters what it will be to the residents of that neighborhood. And what it will be is a hands-off, not for your or your relatives atrociously high rent apartments for a demographic foreign to the history of this city. My suggestion: make HALF of the apartments BMR. Fair is fair.

        • Posted by Anon123

          And you will end up with no apartments at all – but I get it, you prefer to have no new apartments if that helps you keep new people out of your city. Perhaps you can build a wall

          • Posted by BerklynPisces

            Yes a wall for all the faux white progressives – indeed!!!!

        • Posted by Tim E

          Rents go down when you build enough and exceed demand as every other real estate market has shown in history. But hey, another advocate of do nothing even if it is as true TOD as you can get because not enough people are getting a subsidize rate compliments of their neighbor and or the taxpayer . Oakland needs to start listening to the 90% if Occupied in Oakland is correct about the support shown for this project..

        • Posted by PRE

          What you are is what you’ll always be? What you earn is what you’ll always earn? What your kids do is what they’ll always do? I’m glad the builders of this project have a bit more imagination than that.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            That is true. The idea of always keeping a certain amount of housing as low income, is an assumption and a belief that circumstances will never or should ever improve. I don’t agree with that.

  6. Posted by kgbnsf

    This is a privately owned/financed project. What number of ‘below market rent’ apartments should this developer be required to pay for that seems fair to both sides? Perhaps Oakland should start building their own towers and make 100% of them below market.

    I hope this goes forward.

  7. Posted by BerklynPisces

    Honestly at least 100! Are you from Oakland? The East Bay? And that would be a splendid idea to have a building that is 100% bmr only available to Oakland residents or folks that have lived in Oakland at least 7-10 years.

    • Posted by Col. Klink

      It might be a fine idea, but it’s unconstitutional and also violates the fair housing act. Guessing you moved to Oakland around 2005-2007 huh?

      • Posted by BerklynPisces

        Born and raised in Berkeley actually! There are plenty of ways to get around things I mean just look at the new Jim Crow system of discrimination. Fair housing is a ruse.

        • Posted by Col. Klink

          Ah, so not an Oaklander then… Guess we’ll have to discount your opinion on this issue.

    • Posted by Emanon

      I’m from Oakland (25 years). Do I get to respond?

    • Posted by macarthur

      There is a 90 unit, 100% BMR building directly across the street that was constructed as part of the same MacArthur BART Transit Village Project.

      The developer of this parcel had the option of building a 200 unit building with ZERO additional BMR units. Instead, the larger proposal will include more housing for everyone, plus 45 ADDITIONAL BMR units.

    • Posted by Some Guy

      There’s a phrase for the kind of poverty-apologetics you and your ilk are addicted to. The battle cry of the smw, “Keep Oakland Sh***y!”

  8. Posted by BerklynPisces

    Thank you MacArthur for that information. Definitely makes me feel better.

  9. Posted by Caren

    The problem with gentrification is that even those who would not be able to afford to live in that building are siding with the developers as if they are going to directly profit from this project. So WHAT that the developers turned down a 200 unit bdg with no bmr apts? THEY WON OVER 100 MORE APARTMENTS BY CONCEDING THE MEASLY 4! What are these developers losing? Seems like the only losers are those multi-generational families who will be displaced like so many others.

  10. Posted by Caren

    Not to mention the aesthetic butchering of the area with a glassy, rosy shiny building with yuppies pouring out of it right up the street from Mosswood Park, motel row, the recently closed Oakland staple Art’s Crab Shack and Oakland Tech (which my mother and grandmother attended). What are you communicating to the families who are already battling staying put in their place of origin? Too bad? Yeah, that’s exactly it. Sucks for you I guess. SMH!

    • Posted by macarthur

      It seems like it communicates the creation of an additional 45 units of BMR housing, whereas today there is a big hole in the ground. The 2008 approvals — which are still valid — do not require any additional BMR units.

    • Posted by Col. Klink

      Some of my family members went to Tech as well. I try not to use the fact as a bludgeon against people I disagree with though.

    • Posted by PRE

      Honestly, you Caren, sound very much like what comes out of [Trump’s] mouth just with a change in the people who are in for the daily two minutes hate. Art’s closed because the owners retired. Not because of some “yuppie” (eighties much?) evil plot. And from what I can see having some gainfully employed Oaklanders could be a role model to the pot smoking, pants down their ass Oakland Tech students wandering around town.

      • Posted by Alika

        I can’t take anything you said seriously after you lamented the demise of Art’s Crab Shak.

        I went there once because my boyfriend at the time loved Crab. It was disgusting. Food out of a can. I ordered a whiskey and coke thinking, “oh great, I can get a good strong dive bar drink.” I had to send it back four times, the last time it being served with a napkin over it, to keep the flies out. It wasn’t until the 4th pour that I realized all the flies in my drink were dead; they had been drowned in the liquor bottle. I’ll say it again, “Someone poured me a glass of flies FOUR times!” Please don’t lament things you know nothing about.

        I am black, originally from Inglewood, and have lived in Oakland for 10 years. If you lament the loss of Art’s you need to get your life together.

    • Posted by Brian M

      It’s a parking lot next to a freeway and a BART station. We are not talking the Right Bank of Paris here.

    • Posted by Al Davis

      Oakland Tech didn’t close…get your facts straight. ITT Tech closed all of its campuses– one was in Oakland

      • Posted by Notcom

        I believe the “recently closed” remark referred (solely) to Art’s Crab Shack…which is indeed closed.

  11. Posted by MKP

    I personally cannot wait for oakland to be fully, 100% gentrified. all the entitled, liberal whining of people like Caren and BerklynPisces who simply don’t comprehend/understand reality needs to stop (market rate housing + affordable units on an empty parking lot = displacement (?) – can’t wait for them to be forced out.

    • Posted by Caren

      Why must you make it political? I’m neither a liberal nor a conservative. I’m a humanist. And if you had any compassion for yourself or your family, you would be on the side of right instead of profit. You are delusional and lost and may as well pray to your watch and car. Too bad that can’t supplement a rotting spirit.

    • Posted by Caren

      And you CAN’T be from Oakland.

    • Posted by BerklynPisces

      We won’t ever be forced out! Our parents own property in the Bay Area and I’m purchasing an investment property just to keep my family roots in Oakland/East Bay so good luck on your well wishes!

      • Posted by Amewsed

        You go right ahead and buy an investment property, this is a free country. And when North Oakland gentrifies over to Berkeley, and you can take advantage of the escalating rents on your investments, don’t complain. It is uncouth to be talking out of both sides of your mouth.

      • Posted by Brian M

        I think the bigger problem is outside investors snapping up housing in a tight market! I bet you have rich parents? We need to tax that legacy money and distribute it all to the transgender multiracial artists of color, the only worthwhile residents of Oakland!

        The Revolution starts with taking money from investors!

  12. Posted by BerklynPisces

    When MKP goes low, we go high!

  13. Posted by E. Gonsalves

    The vast majority of housing built in Oakland in the last five years has been [BMR] housing. Oakland can’t prosper by being just the home for low income people. Oakland needs more housing of all income levels.

    Let’s face it, Oakland exists in a premiere location. The market is going to do what the market is going to do. The only way to keep Oakland artificially under priced and devalued, is by allowing sub par conditions to exist in the city. Things such as high crime, out of control graffiti, illegal dumping, crumbling streets, unkept parks and street medians, will keep rents and home prices artificially low in certain neighborhoods.

    I grew up less than a mile from this project and I want to see Oakland reach the potential of its location. Oakland has to stop accepting sub par services and expectations. Keep building!

    • Posted by anonymous

      You get it. Affordable housing isn’t just magically lowered rent for low income people, we all pay to subsidize it. Oakland and the other urban areas of the Bay Area need more housing of all kinds and this housing should be mixed together to avoid creating ghettos. Just as this project is doing. There are plenty more parking lots to replace in Oakland…

      • Posted by E. Gonsalves

        That’s true. I’m amazed that prime lots in downtown next to the three DTO BART stations still remain vacant. There is no reason why we should have empty lots at 16th & Broadway, 11th & Broadway, Grand & Broadway, etc. My question is why is Temescal getting a highrise residential tower before the properties on Broadway virtually on top of the 19th Street and 12th Street BART stations.

        • Posted by jwb

          I think the explanation is simple: BART owns the MacArthur project. They don’t own those other empty lots. However I believe they do own the land above Lake Merritt station.

          • Posted by Dubs

            They do, they put in a plan to build high rises on it, but it’s gotten a lot of pushback for the same complaints as this, as well as the fact that it’s a crappy park right now instead of just a big dirt hole.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            Yes, a park which is very badly maintained by the City of Oakland. They should really speed up development at the Lake Merritt BART station.

          • Posted by curmudgeon

            At Lake Merritt, BART owns the lot directly above the BART station (where their HQ used to be) between Madison and Oak, as well as the BART parking lot, between Oak and Fallon. The City of Oakland owns the park between Madison and Jackson. The lots that are planned for redevelopment are the BART owned properties. The Park will remain park space.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            Thanks for the description of the various parcels around the LM BART station.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          We don’t agree on everything, but on this I’m completely with you

  14. Posted by jwb

    I went to the meeting because I was worried that the @StopMacArthurTower people — they changed their headline on Facebook to “Coalition for Appropriate Development” but they can’t erase their original handle — would overwhelm.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see the vast majority of speakers in favor. Perhaps the SJWs from StopMacArthurTower were split between the committee meeting and the riot in Berkeley.

  15. Posted by Dandywhatsoever

    400 new housing units and no existing homes or small businesses to be displaced!

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