More Than 1000 Residential Rental Units Coming
Change in Emeryville Demographics
Where's the Public Debate?
The City of Emeryville is ending the year with a big push to add new residents. Lots of residents, all in four 100% rental development projects. These four projects will deliver 1045 new units and increase the population of our town by 15%. In a city with only 10,000 residents, that represents a substantial increase. After years of condo building in Emeryville, these all rental projects are a real change and will dramatically transform the demographics for our town.
The following new projects are either already approved or moving to approval and are 100% rental:
- Sherwin Williams Project: 460 units
- Avalon Bay project: 260 units
- Marketplace phase one: 225 units
- Maz project: 100 units
|A new Emeryville resident|
Rental residents tend to be different from homeowner residents. They aren't as vested in their towns and they tend to be less civically minded. Recent renters in Emeryville specifically have been primarily made up of San Francisco tech workers looking for cheaper rent than San Francisco offers. These workers tend to be single and work long hours meaning they tend to drive in, "cocoon" and drive out. The result is an under utilized commons, with a populace that generally feels little allegiance to the neighborhood or the town. Also, renters tend to look less critically at civic projects involving raises in property taxes, increasing the opportunity for abuses by decision makers and developers that would stand to benefit.
Emeryville is experiencing this 100% rental building boom because the rental market in the Bay Area is extremely robust right now and developers are eager to cash in. With its well earned reputation for accommodating developers, City Hall has stepped up to the plate and quickly moved these projects forward.
The City Council is letting this wave wash over us. They're letting the developers do what they want to do...and what they want to do now is build rental units. What the Council is not allowing is a public debate about this.
Emeryville City Council members have historically never been fond of city planning. They've never been known to defer to planning regulations, opting instead to let developers build our town as the real estate market dictates....so there's no change here in that regard. But what IS different, what HAS changed is that profit maximization in the market now dictates that 100% rental only projects be built, and that promises to change our town. We need to be aware this resulting development will be here for generations to come. Is this something we want? Is it wise? Is this something that will improve our town?
There should be a public debate about this.