Search The Tattler

Friday, November 12, 2010

2nd Chance For 3900 Adeline Street

First Test Of New Paradigm Of Family Friendly Housing
Loft Developer Reneges On Housing Contract,

Emeryville Gets 2nd Bite 
At The Apple

The bad economy has granted Emeryville a rare second chance to correct a past mistake and support our new voter approved school rebuild project by making a place for families instead of another loft/condo project.  The city received notice from the development firm Madison Park that they want to renegotiate their contract to tear down an architecturally significant and historically significant building at 3900 Adeline Street in order to build a new loft/condo building and the council will decide the matter at the November 16th meeting at City Hall.
The Oakland based firm Madison Park says it wants to delay work on the approved demolition and rebuilding for a year and is asking the city to keep open all the rights it secured in January 2009 when the council voted OK to the development proposal.

A lot has happened in this town since the council granted approval for 3900 Adeline and Council member Jennifer West told the Tattler she expects the city to consider changing the terms of the contract if possible, to reconfigure the development to make it family friendly to support the $95 million school rebuild bond the voters just passed.  "We need to look at this in light of the need to bring more children to the [school] district" Ms West said.  The developer, Madison Park would be free to reject the new terms and simply begin work as previously agreed.

The Tattler has called on the city to move with all speed to deliver family friendly housing in the wake of Measure J and Ms West agreed this 3900 Adeline Street site would be a good place to start.

3900 Adeline was a particularly contentious development proposal when it came before the council on January 20, 2009.  The red brick building was identified as "architecturally significant" under Article 67 of the city's own preservation ordinance and was also designated as "historically significant" by Oakland's Cultural Heritage Survey (since a little bit of the building extends into that town).  Further, preservationists pointed to the city's general plan which "strongly"calls for the adaptive reuse of historic buildings such as 3900 Adeline.

Before the 2009 council vote to allow the building to be torn down and replaced by the loft/condo proposal,  residents also complained the developer was demanding a variance of the zoning ordinance which calls for a maximum building height of 30 feet in that part of the Triangle neighborhood.  The loft/condo approved project tops out at 49 feet.

The proposed project is another so called "podium" style building with parking below and a gated community above,  a housing type that city planners agree that turns its back on the greater community and makes for an alienating street-scape and disconnected citizenry.

The council voted 4-1 (Fricke dissenting) on January 20, 2009 to let Madison Park proceed with no sound findings of community benefit to offset the violation of the preservation ordinance or the zoning ordinance.

The school rebuild, as mandated by the voter approved Measure J states Emeryville needs to attract more than 700 new students to the district to make the new school viable and successful. The $95 million school bond is to be bolstered by a $25 million grant from the city's Capital Improvement Program.  After interest, the whole school rebuild is expected to be nearly $400 million.  There are only a few years to bring in the new families to ensure the success of the resident's substantial financial investment in the school. 

Emeryville residents that would like to see their new $400 million dollar investment in the schools protected by making sure the school district gets enough students, should attend:

7:15 PM Tuesday November 16
City Hall

1 comment:

  1. I agree- this building is an Emeryville gem. It was terribly short sighted of the council to agree to let it be torn down the first time. I will be really happy if it can be saved. There's hardly any historic brick buildings left that are this nice anymore. Emeryville let them all be torn down.