OAKLAND (BCN) — The Oakland City Council will try again Tuesday to approve the sale of a city-owned parcel of land near Lake Merritt for a new high-rise apartment complex.
Controversy over the proposed 298-unit building led to a protest shutting down the City Council meeting May 5 and preventing a vote on the sale. Another protest has been planned ahead of the vote at Tuesday’s meeting.
But since the vote was delayed, Councilman Abel Guillen, who represents that district, said the developer has now agreed to include 30 units of affordable housing in the building. In addition, about $1 million of the anticipated $5 million sale price will go to the city’s affordable housing fund, according to city records.
The one-acre city parcel at the corner of East 12th Street and Second Avenue would be sold to UrbanCore Development, LLC, for the construction of a 24-story apartment tower with about 2,000 square feet of ground-level retail space.
The 30 lower-income units as proposed by the developers would include nine studio apartments with rents ranging from $1,139 to $1,919 per month, 12 two-bedroom units ranging from $1,220 to $2,056 and nine three-bedroom units ranging from $1,461 to $2,466.
The units would be affordable to people making from 80 percent to 120 percent of the median income — estimated in 2014 to be $65,450 for an individual and $84,150 for a family of three.
UrbanCore has also agreed to a local hiring program and to consider the formerly incarcerated or candidates identified through the city’s Ceasefire program. It will set aside $700,000 for community programs in the area, including for a skatepark, graffiti abatement, tree planting and youth programs at Children’s Fairyland.
Activists who shut down last month’s City Council meeting by chaining themselves in the front of the room criticized the project as not only being unaffordable to most Oakland residents but as changing the demographic landscape of the city.
Rents for a one-bedroom in the tower could reach $3,150, making them unaffordable to most residents, according to protesters.
Opponents have also raised questions about whether the process in picking a developer for the land and the proposed process comply with regulations for the sale and development of public land.
Among the requirements they argue Oakland has not abided with in negotiating the deal is a state requirement that at least 15 percent of the units be affordable housing and that there was no competitive bidding process for the parcel.