Emeryville's Last Chance to Get it RightOpinion
As the developer for the Sherwin Williams site at Horton and Sherwin Street, Oakland's SRM Ernst Development Partners, goes through the paces to get their mostly residential project approved, a track well worn by many other developers in recent years, Emeryville residents would do well this time to get more involved in the process. We say this because by adding perhaps 1000 new residents to our small city, not only will this project be extremely consequential as to the long term livability of Emeryville, so too this site promises to be the last large development for at least a generation to come, what with all our new residential techie loft buildings sprung up chock-a-block over the last 15 years. Such are the consequences of a former manufacturing hub filled with rusting factories and warehouses seizing a rare opportunity and rapidly remaking an entire city as Emeryville has done (for better or worse).
With a finite amount of land available, Emeryville's frenzied transformation into a land 'o lofts and a warren of anonymous shopping malls was bound to come to an end. We're now at that end. We're just about all developed up.
|Well, maybe not the Earth...|
but certainly a huge chunk
But the developer hasn't been focusing on the residential part of the project at the community meetings even though its almost all residential. Instead the development team has been mixing it up at these meetings, bringing an air of excitement..... there's going to be retail too..... and they want our input. They want what we want they're telling us. We're supposed to dream big about what kind of locally serving retail shops we want. The problem, of course, is we've already seen this show...it doesn't end well for us. We've seen too many developers simply mollify potential neighbor critics to their projects with retail fantasy wish lists only to have them not materialize after the project gets built. Care for a mattress chain store instead? But the Sherwin Williams developer team seems so nice in their presentations. Maybe this time it'll be different.
The site being last large piece of fallow land left in Emeryville, SRM Ernst admits the Sherwin Williams project will hugely impact our town. In fact, they're downright giddy about it: they're building us a "town center" (towne centre perhaps?) they tell us. That's funny because we already have two town centers; the East Bay Bridge Mall and the Bay Street Mall. Both those respective developers (Catellus Development and Madison Marquette Development) said the same thing; their project would be Emeryville's "town center". Maybe Emeryville will be henceforth known as the town with three developer built towne centres all competing with each other leaving no center at all.
|Fill in "More Cars" and you won't be disappointed|