March 26, 2015
Developer takes key step in revival of 935-unit project at former East Bay Navy site
San Francisco Business Times
Mar 25, 2015

Roland Li

Reporter-San Francisco Business Times

Developer SunCal has filed plans for a 935-unit mixed-use development at the former Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, formally reviving a project that had been in limbo following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Irvine-based SunCal is seeking to build on a 187-acre site in the Oakland Hills that it first acquired in partnership with Lehman Brothers in 2005 for $100.5 million. The project completed a community plan study but New York-based Lehman’s bankruptcy in 2008 stalled further approvals.

SunCal paid $76 million to purchase the site from the Lehman estate last May. The developer’s new plans call for a similar number of houses as the original plan and 72,000 square feet of retail, close to the 82,000 square feet of retail proposed in 2008 plan. Housing would include 134 multifamily apartment units, 433 townhomes and 368 single family homes, according to planning documents filed with the city of Oakland.

The application is another sign that large projects in the East Bay are moving forward as the regional economy powers up with strong job growth and demand for housing. SunCal is also competing with two other developers for rights to redevelop the Concord Naval Weapons Station, which could hold 12,000 housing units.

Architecture and planning firm Hart Howerton is working on the site’s master plan, which will include 77 acres of parks and open space, a restored creek and four miles of hiking trails, said Joe Aguirre, a spokesman for SunCal.

“We are very much looking forward to working with the Oakland community and city officials as Oak Knoll takes a big step toward becoming a reality,” said Aguirre.

The U.S. Navy previously operated an 11-story hospital on the property between 1968 and 1996. In 2011, the structure was imploded and the site was cleaned of toxins.

The city is holding two public hearings next month on the proposal. The Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board will hold the first meeting on April 13 at 6 p.m. in Oakland City Hall. The Planning Commission will hold a second meeting on April 15 at 6 p.m. also in Oakland City Hall.