Oakland to replace tiny homes with affordable apartments near Lake Merritt

Two buildings from separate developers to arise on city-owned land

East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. ceo Andy Madeira with the Tiny village at E.12th Street and 2nd Avenue in Oakland (Google Maps, EBALDC, Illustration by Priyanka Modi for The Real Deal with Getty)
East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. ceo Andy Madeira with the Tiny village at E.12th Street and 2nd Avenue in Oakland (Google Maps, EBALDC, Illustration by Priyanka Modi for The Real Deal with Getty)

A tiny village for homeless residents in Oakland may be replaced with two affordable housing complexes.

The city voted to move forward on building two affordable apartment buildings at East 12th Street and 2nd Avenue near Lake Merritt, the East Bay Times reported. They would replace temporary housing for 80 unhoused residents.

The city will enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp., a nonprofit based in Oakland, to build 91 apartments for low-income residents on the East 12th Street site.

It will also work with Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, a nonprofit developer in Berkeley, on a second affordable apartment building at the same location. The number of units is undetermined.

The decision came months after Oakland ended plans to build a two-tower, 360-unit project, of which 30 percent of the apartments would be affordable, on property known as “East 12th Street remainder.”

The 1-acre lot, located a block south of Lake Merritt, was created in 2013 when its namesake street was realigned.

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UrbanCore, a developer based in Oakland, bought the land for $5.1 million to build market-rate housing. But the sale was scrapped in 2015 because of the state’s Surplus Land Act, which requires cities to prioritize affordable housing on public land.

In response, UrbanCore partnered with East Bay Asian Local Development and updated its plan to include 90 affordable housing units. Opponents, however, demanded a 100 percent affordable project on the city-owned land.

Funding problems and neighborhood opposition led the city in March to decline a sixth extension in seven years, killing the project.

In November, the city opened a tiny home village on the East 12th Street site, where dozens of people live in small, prefabricated units while they wait for permanent homes.

The state awarded East Bay Asian Local Development $21.2 million for the affordable portion of the project that ended up getting killed. The City Council vote will allow the developer to retain those funds and apply them to the new project.

– Dana Bartholomew

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