Grosvenor buys site for 225 apartments in Oakland

London-based developer’s North American arm expands East Bay presence with deal on Telegraph Avenue

Grosvenor’s Steve Buster and renderings of the previously approved apartment project at 2600-2630 Telegraph Avenue (Grosvenor, BAR Architects)
Grosvenor’s Steve Buster and renderings of the previously approved apartment project at 2600 Telegraph Avenue (Grosvenor, BAR Architects)

UPDATED, May 12, 11:25 a.m.: Grosvenor has acquired about an acre on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue that has the city’s OK to be redeveloped with a 225-unit apartment building.

The London-based developer’s North American arm bought two parcels that total about 0.9 acres at 2600 Telegraph Avenue from an Oakland-based limited liability company managed by an individual named Suk Hee Yoo. Yoo and Grosvenor’s Steve Buster, who oversees the company’s Bay Area projects, declined to disclose the sale price.

The property takes up the whole block between 26th and 27th streets, which serves as the entrance to downtown Oakland from Interstate 980 to the west and Berkeley to the north. Located in the Koreatown-Northgate neighborhood, it’s occupied by an almost 20,000-square-foot commercial building that’s fully leased to Gogi Time, a Korean barbecue restaurant; Blind Tiger, an Asian Fusion tavern; and Samwon Billiards. The site is also within half a mile of two interstates and the 19th Street Oakland BART station entrance.

Grosvenor’s purchase of the site marks its second investment in the East Bay, where apartment rents have historically been cheaper than in San Francisco. The gap in rent prices between San Francisco and neighboring Oakland has widened during the pandemic, as SF rents have rebounded by 15 percent over the past year compared with a 1 percent decline in the latter, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in January. Developers such as Grosvenor are betting that Oakland rents will have rebounded before or around the time they begin leasing up their projects.

“We are excited to continue our expansion into the East Bay with 2600 Telegraph Avenue by bringing 225 rental units into the Oakland neighborhood,” Buster wrote in a statement.

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The company also expects to be underway on building its first project in the region, a 163-unit apartment structure with room on its ground floor for shops and restaurants in downtown Berkeley, by midyear. It expects to complete it sometime in 2024, Buster told The Real Deal in March.

Junction Properties, an Oakland-based developer, initially proposed the Telegraph Avenue project and got the city’s approval on it in July 2020. The firm is no longer involved with the development, which Grosvenor intends to build, Buster said. Grosvenor will continue with its approved design but may make minor changes to it, Buster said.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the Telegraph Avenue project’s total number of units.