April 10, 2013
Oakland's Brooklyn Basin Development Secures $1.5B To Build
In the works for over a decade, Signature Development Group’s 66-acre Brooklyn Basin development on Oakland's waterfront has been funded by way of a $1.5 billion investment from China's Zarsion Holdings Group and is slated to break ground next year.
The development of the former industrial site adjacent to Oakland's Jack London Square will yield 3,100 housing units, 200,000 square feet of retail/commercial, and 30 acres of waterfront parks, trails and open space along with new marinas and renewed wetlands.
The project will be built in phases and likley take around a decade to complete, eventually connecting Brooklyn Basin to Lake Merritt by way of bike and pedestrian paths. Click either of the images above, or an aerial of the area as it looks today, to enlarge.
First Published: April 10, 2013 12:30 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Good development in a good location. Jack London Square could use more residential nearby. I know it's a historic name for the area, but I wish they'd come up with something better than "Brooklyn" to call it.
Posted by: James at April 10, 2013 12:49 PM
Good to see development in this location.
Wonder if this will inspire Alameda to rethink its development of the Naval Air Station.
1. Any water taxi potential?
2. Too bad the raised 880 cuts off Oakland's waterfront development from downtown, Lake Merritt etc. Seems like a huge barrier.
Posted by: Invented at April 10, 2013 1:32 PM
Invented - It is a barrier though it could be worse. The route to JLS is pretty clear. To points northeast there's 5th Ave. which is fine for cars but barely adequate for pedestrians and cyclists.
Adding a bike/ped trail along the waterway between this development and Lake Merritt would help and I assume that is what is meant by "... [this project] will be connected to Lake Merritt by way of bike and pedestrian paths."
Getting into Oakland proper from the southeastern end of this project site may require a long detour due to I-880 and the adjacent railway yard obstacles.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 10, 2013 1:42 PM
Bulletproof windows included?
And barriers against Occupy movement protests?
I'll pass, thanks.
Posted by: anon at April 10, 2013 1:49 PM
Anon, I'm worried, because without your support this project is destined for failure. Please reconsider?
Posted by: Matt of Uptown at April 10, 2013 2:41 PM
anon at 1:49, thanks for the stupid Oakland hatred.
Re: bike/ped access, city is currently in the planning phase for a bike/ped bridge that will complete the connection between Lake Merritt and the Bay Trail. The announcement of this project will doubtless supercharge that effort, thankfully. Folks should check out Lake Merritt...an "urban freeway" (12th Street) was rebuilt as an urban boulevard, ped access improved, and tidal action returned to Lake Merritt. It's a game changer for this part of town.
Posted by: curmudgeon at April 10, 2013 2:42 PM
Frankly, it makes me more than a little uneasy that developers of large development projects now have to kowtow to the Chinese to get necessary funding, especially since The Fed is pulling out all stops to keep interest rates low and otherwise showering cheap money on banks.
Banks and what we now, post-2008, call non-bank financial institutions should be falling all over each other to provide funding for projects like this one, the Hunters Point Shipyard project and Treasure Island, and the developers should have been able to put all of those deals together with 100% domestic funding.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at April 10, 2013 3:06 PM
Uhm...what about connections to mass transit? That's right, there are none for the 3,100 new units.
Posted by: Mark at April 10, 2013 3:43 PM
Yeah, I wondered about that too Mark. It turns out that this site is about a 20 minute walk to Lake Merrit BART, not too bad. And I'd expect AC Transit to extend one of their bus lines to this site. It is also 15 minutes to Amtrak which ironically makes it a better choice for commuting to Silicon Valley than sites near BART especially if you use a bike too.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 10, 2013 3:55 PM
Under an hour via rail to Silicon Valley (and the 49er's new stadium).
Posted by: EBGuy at April 10, 2013 3:59 PM
^^20 minute walk to Lake Merrit BART through what sort of territory? From what I recall seeing from the BART train itself, it may not be a 'hood I'd want to walk through at night.
Sorry of this sonds liking Oakland hating but Oakland has a genuine crime problem.
Posted by: BTinSF at April 10, 2013 4:02 PM
For you speculators out there with a reasonable appetite for risk and longer time horizons, this is only part of a bigger puzzle being assembled. Of course (as mentioned by Curmudgeon), Lake Merritt is now completely revamped. JL Square is working on their "reimagining" plans. And Oakland is seeking to remove all of the gov't buildings around 4th & B'way for high-rise housing. All that is missing would be a bay-front ballpark and a boulevard instead of the eyesore that is 880. Is it do-able? Who knows, but -- if successful -- this would dramatically change the possibilities for Oakland.
Posted by: nobody at April 10, 2013 4:03 PM
16-20 minute walk to BART. It's a bit circuitous, so they can probably cut a couple minutes off of that.
There's also been occasional talk of an infill station between Lake Merritt and Fruitvale, which would work well with this.
Ferry's a 25-30 minute's walk.
Posted by: Alai at April 10, 2013 4:04 PM
I've never been a fan of Oakland but I really like this part of town (JLS, LM)
Posted by: sf at April 10, 2013 4:06 PM
Great project! Not as nice an area as Lake Merritt but it's right on the water front so really not much to complain about. (BTW, if you are ever in Oaktown check out the farmers market. It is the best one in the Bay Area by a long way.) This location however is not well served currently by public transit. In addition to the freeway if I recall correctly there is a private train that delivers cement and grain just south of here in the Jingletown district that may/may not impact this development. Amtrak will also pass fairly close by so expect a decent amount of noise.
I think there's some irony in the name Brooklyn Basin. Oakland is where Brooklyn was perhaps 10 years ago. It continues to just keep getting better despite a lot of the city government dysfunction and crime/safety challenges.
anon: For a lot of young people coming to the Bay Area, San Francisco is not even on their radar. Oakland is more affordable and has an incredibly vibrant nightlife. Great bars, galleries, restaurants. You should check it out some time. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Anyway, I'm hopeful this is going to be a success; more so than JLS which has really never fully taken off.
Posted by: Willow at April 10, 2013 4:27 PM
BTinSF - The 20 minute route to BART I had in mind goes via 1st and Oak streets and is not too bad. There's a slight shorter route on the other side of 880 along 8th St. but that looks sketchier.
Yes, Oakland has a crime problem. This project will increase the city's tax base and attract new residents who hopefully will not be gang members. So it will improve though not solve the crime problem. It is basically contiguous with JLS, Chinatown, and downtown Oakland: all areas that are much safer than the parts of town that give Oakland a bad name.
Willow - Good observation about Brooklyn. The renderings remind me of the new developments in Long Island City, adjacent to Brooklyn's hipster haven of Greenpoint.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 10, 2013 4:50 PM
Brooklyn was an incorporated Alameda County city until 1872. It was then annexed by Oakland after approval by city voters. The area around Lake Merritt is still sometimes referred to as Brooklyn. Brooklyn Basin is a very appropriate name in my opinion. Much better than many of the senseless names created by developers to sell their projects.
Posted by: emanon at April 10, 2013 5:01 PM
And let's not forget, a short bike ride to Treasure Island -- try that from Ess Eff.
Posted by: EBGuy at April 10, 2013 5:09 PM
This is an exciting development despite where its funding is coming from. I got my first job in SF China Basin in 1979, and just last week was strolling around THAT revitalized area. If Brooklyn Basin can come close to that changed experience, I couldn't be more proud to be an Oakland resident. I am not crazy about Jean Quan, but if she can bring on this kind of funding without political stalling, its a big deal.
Now if we could get a new stadium down there and keep our Teams. Stick a fork in it!
The artists should take over West Oakland. I hope there is a replacement plan.
Posted by: Lolaoak at April 11, 2013 6:59 AM
The walk to BART is not bad in that area. Jack London Square is decent -- lots of interesting artists and neat things happening there.
Also, I think there is a Ferry to SF there.
And -- when a big puzzle piece like this gets placed, lots of smaller pieces follow -- like all the towers that were announced once the new transbay terminal was *really* moving forward. Expect lots of other investments into JLS to happen quickly now.
Posted by: BigV at April 11, 2013 9:34 AM
What about the small business in 5th Avenue Marina?! Are they going to come take our place of business away?! I have been operating there for 9 years and now I see a plan to take it away? WTF!!!!
Posted by: Michael at April 11, 2013 10:02 AM
Any thoughts about how this might influence development at the Alameda Naval Base and connections between Alameda and Oakland (bike ped paths possible?)
I am considering places to move my small family as we are priced out of the parts of SF we would want to live and Alameda seems to have some potential.
Locating people and business near the ferry stops seems a logical way to increase ridership since the investment has been made. The SSF ferry from Alameda seem to be doing very poorly because too few live near it and are going to SSF (so basically low density of demand on both ends). Stuff like this and development in Alameda could help with people self-selecting to live near the dock.
Posted by: sean_anon at April 11, 2013 10:03 AM
Seems like Oakland should be pushing for the new Warriors arena to be build in this location...but I don't have much faith in Oakland city leaders in getting anything done.
Posted by: anon at April 11, 2013 10:03 AM
I see the Warriors as either moving to SF or staying where they are. It is the A's that could use the new stadium at this location.
Posted by: sean_anon at April 11, 2013 10:11 AM
anon, I don't have any non-public information but they probably think that ship (the Warriors) has sailed with the arena proposed to be built on Piers 30-32 in The City and Ed Lee going around calling it his "legacy project"
If that deal falls through for some reason, who knows, Oakland might put some effort into retaining the Warriors. The City of Oakland actually proposed building a baseball stadium for the Athletics near to this (the above-described) site not too long ago.
From what I've read, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan introduced Signature Development Group to the Chinese investor group that funded this project, so it's not Oakland can't act when they want to.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at April 11, 2013 10:29 AM
The area of Oakland just east of the lake was the suburb of Brooklyn, which was formed from the merger of the towns of Clinton and San Antonio in 1856. It was annexed to Oakland in 1872.
I wonder if the project will have its own shuttles to downtown Oakland, JLS, BART and Amtrak like the office and condo shuttles that take people to and fro from downtown San Francisco to the Levi Square and Mission Bay areas. It would make sense. A water taxi to JLS would be great.
Posted by: Patrick at April 11, 2013 11:37 AM
Michael, I find it incredulous that you’ve been at the 5th Avenue Marina for 9 years and you’re unaware of this project. Planning has been going on since at least 2002. The Waterfron Action Committee has been actively involved with the project since their fomation. Incidentally, the bulk of the existing uses along 5th Avenue are not part of the project. That is the shaded out area show on the plans. For more info, check out http://waterfrontaction.org/plans/oak9_project.htm#pubmeetings
Posted by: emanon at April 11, 2013 12:02 PM
(Sorry for the errors in my prior post, I forgot to run spellcheck.)
Posted by: emanon at April 11, 2013 12:05 PM
there is a free shuttle from the condos in jls to bart
i think they will exband the "b" to this area
Posted by: hep hep at April 11, 2013 5:29 PM
Where are the palm trees in the rendering? I live in Oakland now, but miss living in California (sigh).
Posted by: Oakland Chap at April 11, 2013 9:37 PM
Presently many of the office towers around 19th St BART have private shuttles to BART, even with the Free B. You can bet private shuttles will be part of the transportation mix for Brooklyn Basin.
Posted by: Matt of Uptown at April 12, 2013 10:48 AM
Not, well, terrible, but it's rather bland. It gets hit by the freeway plume, has 3,500 parking spaces for its 3,100 units, and no office space. The Gateway Park seems optimized to become a dead token grassy space, and I fear it won't get much street life. Drive out, drive in.
Transit could be solved with an extension of the 72/72M from Jack London Square to somewhere along Embarcadero, but I'm still just not thrilled.
Posted by: David Edmondson at April 16, 2013 2:58 PM
I am absolutely thrilled by news of this development. I often park at Estuary Park and walk the length of the public shoreline up through Jack London Square. This will be a nice addition, and improve the safety and feel of the area between JL and 9th.
JL is undergoing a renaissance, with new restaurants and bars complementing Oakland's Uptown district. I hope this is an extension of that.
Can't wait for this to break ground.
Posted by: ffoakland at June 9, 2013 6:48 PM
David Edmondson, regarding freeway plume, according to WRCC division of NOOA, prevailing wind for the area is from the the west, except for January and December when it's from the southeast. Since 880 is north-northeast of the site freeway plume should never be an issue.
Posted by: Matt of Uptown at June 18, 2013 4:02 PM
No One seems to have considered the enormity of the daily traffic jams that this new housing development will cause. It will be disastrous! I live and work in this area, and as it stands now there are significant traffic jams caused by a mere 50 or 60 vehicles on the 2 lane road-Embarcadero, which will be the ONLY access to or from this new development for a couple miles in either direction, aside from 5th Ave. which is also a 2 lane road that gets cut off multiple times through out the day any time Amtrak or a giant freight train passes through.
A 60 car traffic jam through that road is an inconvenient hold up, but imagine a 3000 car traffic jam on a two lane road. If there's an accident, a fire, or medical emergency in any of the new housing during rush hour, the road is not wide enough in certain sections for an emergency vehicle to pass. Sounds like some really foolish and blatantly greedy city planning and development to me.
Posted by: Brian Cunningham at July 5, 2013 1:53 PM
@ Brian: It looks like, from the renderings, there will be street widening to address the issue of additional traffic.
My big question is: When are we going to, as a city, address the issue of bureaucracy getting in the way of retailers actually being able to move into the myriad of retail spaces being built or planned? Oakland won't feel much like a major city to this JLS resident until I can stop driving to Emeryville, Berkeley or Alameda to get consumer goods and groceries.
Posted by: DC at August 8, 2013 1:30 PM
I live at the east end of JLS in the old wooden condo's next to Estuary Park. When I'm in my own little condo I forget I'm in Oakland. It's peaceful and beautiful. Not much trouble here. The estuary is calm and reassuring. Watching the sailboats breeze by is a perfect end for any day.
There is a free bus from JLS to uptown Oakland. BART is a easy walk as is the ferry. It is a great neighborhood. We just need a grocery store!
We're told that someone will come in and buy our condo/association out at some point down the road as we are on prime real estate. At that point I may have to consider such a tempting option.I do love my neighborhood but bring on the offers.
Fifth Street Station was granted 'Historic' status and will remain as it is I understand.It is a neat little lane.
Jerry Brown gets the credit for this project. He went to China and made the deal. The prior Sig-Prop deal seemed to fall flat after the economy went bust a few years back.
There is hope for Oakland. Get them to stop dumping the parolees in Oakland. Give OPD the support and leadership they need and deserve. This is not some wimpy town we need our good, tough cops.Let the police 'police'. Yes,there are bad cops everywhere. I happen to appreciate ours.
Quit letting the 'Occupy Oakland' leftovers that are out begging and trashing where they live/beg remain victims. I've seen them counting their monies. I've seen their drug induced states.
There are honest resources for many of those that need/want honest help.
I've been homeless. I stayed clean and had two jobs until I could get out of my car and into a room and later an apartment and then college.
Posted by: Pique Here at August 24, 2013 7:52 PM