With false starts in both 1991 and 2002, at which points 34-unit and 32-unit buildings had been approved and permitted, and site prep had actually gotten underway but was subsequently abandoned, new plans for four-story building to rise at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Wesley Avenue, a couple blocks from Oakland’s Lake Merritt and Eastshore Park, will be presented to the city’s Planning Commission on Wednesday.

As designed by Kotas/Pantaleoni Architects for Yila Properties, which purchased the parcel from the former development team, the proposed “Lake House Development” consists of 25 condos, a mix of two and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 950 to 1,800 square feet, over a 33-car garage.

While the 20,500-square-foot Cleveland Heights parcel, which is principally only zoned for the development of up to 14 units, will need to be rezoned for the density of the development as proposed, Oakland’s Planning Department staff is recommending the Planning Commission and City Council allow the 610 MacArthur Boulevard project proceed as proposed.

And if approved, the new project team will have two years to break ground or risk losing its entitlements, as has happened twice before following a period of exuberance.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by jwb

    I appreciate that the rendering incorporates the ruined surface of Wesley Ave, correctly envisioning that it even if someone spends ten million dollars to build something on this corner, that street will never be repaired in our lifetime.

    • Posted by E.Gonsalves

      Yes, Adam’s Point and Cleveland Heights have some paving issues but progress is finally being made repaving streets throughput the city. Hopefully this Street is on the list. Having said that, the city should approve this ASAP and the developer should also break ground as soon as possible. The market is definitely there for condos in Oakland. One more thing, please cut down on the parking. This is still a walkable area to stores, restaurants and transit.

      • Posted by jwb

        Cleveland Heights has the worst streets around. Brooklyn was virtually impassible for more than five years while criminally insane backhoe operators repeatedly excavated it. They finally, FINALLY resurfaced it last month. You can now actually go down it.

        On Wesley near Brooklyn, in front of the Haddon Hill Cafe, you couldn’t cross the street without breaking your ankle. I haven’t been by there since the Brooklyn repaving, so I’m not sure about the status. But adding dozens of multiple-car households isn’t going to help the situation.

        • Posted by E.Gonsalves

          I agree. They need to cut down on that parking. Glad to here some progress is being made on repaving some streets however slowly. Cleveland Heights is charming neighborhood with interesting apartments and some beautiful single family homes.

  2. Posted by Notcom

    Not a particularly inspiring design….looks very much like those (similarly unexciting) warrens that filled Adams Point in the 60’s/70’s. This area, I believe, hasn’t been “blessed” as much – the streets behind it are still mostly SFR – tho if you look on the satellite you’ll see that across the street looks about the same as this.

  3. Posted by E.Gonsalves

    The way the City of Oakland is interfering with the rental market as far as payouts for evicted tenants, this is a good move by the developer to go for condos on this site. Much of the current apartment construction boom will turn to for sale condos if the city continues to mess with the rental market. They will actually take more units off the rental market and push more lower income people out of Oakland.

    • Posted by Sassy

      The City of Oakland thinks enacting more rental laws is a solution to not enforcing the ones we already have. Kaplan, Kalb, and McElhaney are going after small landlords because it’s low hanging fruit that lets them pander and look like they are doing something about housing affordability for renters. It will do the opposite. It wouldn’t surprise me if their pockets are being lined by corporate landlords to drive small landlords out of the market.

    • Posted by Eileen

      I am one of the low income people you are referring to. I was disabled due to an accident and was an Office Mgr. My career ended due to this. I am tired of people making judgements about people who are low income. Do some research!

      • Posted by ijustworkhere

        If I have PTSD, am in a wheelchair, and was abused, and then go to the grocer and demand $2 off my milk because of my condition, I’m pretty much inviting judgements, no? I am inviting this grocer to weigh on my condition, which is a bit humiliating, but that’s the price of arguing for a special set of prices. The same thing if I go to a landlord and demand a reduced rent. Now everyone is joining in on the judgement rollercoaster. A woman in Oakland shouldn’t be evicted because she’s a pillar of the community and so awesome — she should also pay below market rent because she, too, deserves a discount.

        Wouldn’t it be better to get some cash aid from the government for agreed upon disabilities (like we do) and then pay the same price as everyone else for the stuff you purchase? If you pay the market price, you are not inviting judgement. If you demand a special price because of your condition, you are bringing your condition front and center and welcome constant debate. And this debate will not stop as long as the reduced prices are being demanded.

        That’s a problem with “low income” housing and other attempts by the government to control prices, rather than adjust incomes. Take your disability and then find market price housing suitable for you. It may mean you need to move to a lower cost area, but there are many people who also need to live within their budgets and are forced to move to lower cost areas, none of whom have disabilities. In other words, act like everyone else and you wont be judged.

  4. Posted by Willow

    Right behind here is Haddon Hill… a really beautiful enclave of homes. Despite the fact that this is right on MacArthur and across from the 580 these units will sell really quickly. Lake Merritt is just down the street.

  5. Posted by PRE

    That is one fugly building. It’s not going to age well at all like so much of the sixties garbage that was built around the Lake. One (hopefully) upcoming bright spot is the high-quality level of design for the building planned in the QuikWay spot down the hill.

    • Posted by E.Gonsalves

      There are many beautiful apartment buildings around Lake Merritt, Adam’s Point, Haddon Hill, Cleveland Heights, and Gold Coast. The rendering for the QuikWay project with the strange wedge shape looked horrendous to my eye. I hope they can improve on that design or change it all together.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      It’s actually Kwik Way (turned Merritt Bakery). And if the 500 Lake Park site is sold to a non-profit with designs for an affordable development, as is currently expected, don’t be surprised if the aforementioned design is value engineered or altered (despite reports to the contrary).

      • Posted by E.Gonsalves

        That horrendous design needs to be altered. That’s plain offensive for a site so close to the Grand Lake Theater.

        • Posted by Ken Katz

          I was pleased to be invited to a meeting during which Lowney Architects unveiled the plans that you describe as “horrendous”. Three members of the Oakland Heritage Alliance (two architects and a past President) were extremely impressed – as was Betty Marvin, who is Oakland’s most prominent architectural historian.

          What they liked about it is that it departs from the cookie-cutter approach to commercial development that we’re seeing everywhere and also that it makes an architectural statement. The design was subsequently shared at a large community meeting at which the reviews were largely positive.

      • Posted by Ken Katz

        At the meeting with community stakeholders where the non-profit developers for the Kwik Way site were introduced, they did say that they’d like to economize on some of the components (windows for example) but insisted that the basic design would remain unchanged. That said, I remain hopeful but somewhat skeptical.

  6. Posted by dogwoodstar

    This is a great spot for high density development of this type. I think it is strange that the units facing Macarthur and the freeway have decks (that would likely never be used because of the noise) while the units that face Wesley do not (despite it being a much quieter street where the decks would be more likely to be used).

  7. Posted by FMAustin

    As for the noise issue if the I-580 Freeway were paved with the proper materials – rubberized asphalt – on both sides instead of on the westbound side only (done many years ago) – there would be a much lower noise factor.

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