Community Benefit Agreements in Council District 2

Community Benefit Agreements in Council District 2

prepared by Councilmember Abel Guillén

Taken together, the recent housing developments in District 2 have established a pattern of collaborative consensus-building, and can provide guidance for future developers in their project planning and community engagement. These types of community benefits on a private development are a testament to the hard work everybody put into the negotiation process...

Oakland and our region currently have the fastest-growing gap in the nation between rising housing costs and income growth. To preserve Oakland’s middle class while providing homes for lower-income residents, we need a comprehensive housing strategy to address everybody’s housing affordability needs.

We must adopt a full package of development strategies that build and preserve both market-rate and affordable housing that include community benefit agreements as well as inclusionary zoning, impact fees, expanded homeless shelters, stronger tenant protections, and investments that provide significant revenue sources for affordable housing.

May 2017 | New Housing to Replace Parking Garage – 1314 Franklin St.

Embracing a community-driven process to create equitable, transit-oriented development in Oakland, the developer and the community reached an agreement to replace the Merchants Garage facility at 1314 Franklin St., one block from BART, with 634 new homes (including approximately 27 to 54 new units of permanently affordable units on-site), nearly 17,000 square feet of retail space and a substantial community-benefits package that will help the neighborhood in a variety of ways.

More than 80 community meetings were held with various neighborhood and community stakeholders to shape the development. Thanks to Carmel Partners and the community for their diligence, hard work and collaborative spirit in making this happen.

The project will provide a much-needed mix of market-rate and affordable housing. The plans call for either 5% of the units to be made available to households at 50% AMI or 10% at 80% AMI. The new ground-floor retail – creating more foot traffic and putting more “eyes of the street” from the new residents and shoppers – will increase community vitality and safety in the area, especially at night.

In addition to the on-site affordable housing, the building’s owner will also seek to lease approximately 2,400 square feet of retail space at a reduced, below-market rate to a community-serving business compatible with residences in the neighborhood.

Other community benefits include: $50,000 for the Lincoln Recreation Center, $200,000 for participatory budgeting to support anti-displacement efforts (added to the $250,000 from the Wood Partners’ 226 13th St. community-benefits agreement), technical assistance to the Black Arts Movement Business District, union labor and a 20% local-hire goal during construction, working with local job centers. The agreement will also create a public art advisory board. The development will also conduct a high-level feasibility study of a shuttle bus service in the 14th Street corridor, similar to the Broadway Free B and Emeryville Emery-Go-Round.

The new building will generate approximately $3.5 million in annual tax revenues for the City ($1.1 million for voter-approved bond measures for parks, public safety, libraries and other services plus $2.4 million to the General Fund), and a total of $18.4 million from impact fees for transportation, capital improvements, sewer mitigation, public art, public schools, water and wastewater infrastructure, and one-time administrative funding.

The construction of the revitalized block will also help create jobs (over 7,500 worker months of construction) and includes commitments to union participation and local hire programs, including with District 2’s Laney College. The mixed-use site is projected to generate $13.2 million in additional annual retail spending in Oakland and another $3.7 million on services, which will support predominantly small businesses in the area.

December 2016 | More Housing Approved for 12th St. – 301 12th St. and 285 12th St.

Through several months of conversations, we were able to work with the developer and the community to reach agreement to build this much-needed housing on two privately owned, underutilized lots in Chinatown. By building both market-rate and affordable housing, the project reflects the balanced approach Oakland needs to provide housing for households across the income spectrum.

The new housing will include 339 units at 301 12th St. The developer also expects to execute a contract with the housing nonprofit EBALDC to build an additional 60 units of affordable units at 285 12th St. on a quarter-block lot that is vacant. 

This developer has done what City policies specify and what community leaders have asked for – and more, including offering to sell one of the parcels to EBALDC to create affordable housing, below-market retail space, first right of refusal for a childcare provider, a $100,000 contribution to Lincoln Rec Center, $30,000 to Cypress Mandela and an effort to source 25% of jobs locally using low-income criteria, and streetscape improvements like benches for seniors, high-contrast crosswalks and dual-language wayfinding signage.

In addition to addressing our housing shortage, the development will also expand its tax base so that we can continue to provide the quality of public services our residents need and deserve, like cleaning up illegal dumping, addressing alternatives for homeless encampments, maintaining our streets and sidewalks, and more.


November 2016 | Community Benefits Secured from 13th St. Development – 226 13th St.

After months of talks with a coalition of community advocates, Wood Partners, the developer of the proposed 262-unit, mixed-use project in District 2 (226 13th St.), reached a substantial Community Benefits package totaling nearly $2 million.

Although this project predates the adoption of impact fees in Oakland, the developer will make a $675,000 contribution to EBALDC, the locally based nonprofit housing developer, to help close the funding gap necessary to build 60 units of affordable housing in the neighborhood.

The Community Benefits Agreement also includes affordable retail space for use by small businesses and artists as part of the new Black Arts Movement Business District (valued at $725,000); $25,000 for a BAMBD start-up fund; $25,000 for parking mitigation; $100,000 to the Cypress Mandela job center for pre-apprenticeship workforce development with a 20% local hire goal, air-quality mitigation, and inclusion of local trade unions in the bidding process; $250,000 to support equitable development and anti-displacement programs for the neighborhood; sufficient street lighting and trees; and a 1% art fee dedicated to the Malonga Center, BAMBD or Chinatown-related artists and programs either on-site or at the Malonga Center. Wood Partners will also partner with BAMBD on joint marketing efforts.

This project will replace an underutilized surface parking lot with much-needed housing. In addition to addressing its housing shortage, Oakland needs to expand its tax base to continue to provide a wide range of important public services to residents citywide.

Councilmember Abel Guillén will also be working with the various parties involved to access and direct funds from the newly passed Measure KK bond funds to anti-displacement efforts in the neighborhood.

Oakland will also gain some additional community benefits that don’t cost any money. Once the building is completed and people move in and the storefronts are filled, the project will also create more pedestrian traffic on the street, foster a safer environment, and generate more customers for all the businesses in the area.

The development is also transit-oriented: That means more workers can live closer to their jobs, drive less, and do their part to get cars off the road and slow global warming. And that creates benefits for people who don’t live in the new building or in Chinatown.

November 2016 | Council Approves New Housing for E 12th St. Parcel, Maximizes Public Good

Development of the E 12th Street remainder parcel will create 360 new units of mixed-income housing, including 108 units for low- and moderate-income residents (30% of the total), and secure $66 million in tax revenues from the development to fund essential community services citywide and build additional affordable housing on other sites throughout Oakland. The project maximizes the public good from this one-acre parcel.

The project is consistent with a comprehensive, balanced approach to build a mix of market-rate and affordable housing that will provide homes across the full spectrum of income levels and help slow the displacement of current residents and communities of color.

The EBALDC/UrbanCore proposal will build a net total of more affordable housing than would the competing affordable-units-only proposal, won’t drain scarce local and county affordable housing dollars to subsidize housing at just one site, and will generate millions of extra dollars that can provide benefits to the entire community, not just the residents who will eventually live at the new 12th St. location.

In addition to the affordable units on-site, the EBALDC/UrbanCore design will create 227 more homes than the much-smaller alternative proposal. In practical terms, that basically means the market-rate units in the new development will help keep an additional 227 families in other parts of town from being forced to move out of Oakland.

Oakland also needs to create new apartments big enough for families. The EBALDC proposal has 129 such units.