October 31 2013

Oakland, California: Revitalization and Retail Expansion on Broadway

As recognized by the city itself, “Oakland has long been the nation’s largest underserved Trade Area for comparison goods… export(ing) 75% of its potential sales… or roughly $1 billion in sales every year, to the neighboring communities of Emeryville, San Leandro, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek.” The city hopes to begin resolving this issue with the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan (BVDSP); the planning framework for an upcoming mixed-use development of destination retail and housing on the main street of Broadway between Grand Avenue and Interstate 580.

Land-Use Map of the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan for Oakland, Ca

Land-Use Map of the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan

Public transit services, including two BART stations, a major AC transit bus route, and the free B shuttle make the site ideal for a retail district that will create a tax-base for the city. The close proximity to downtown, Lake Merritt, adjacent residential housing, and the medical campuses of Kaiser and Summit/Alta Bates, are also key features of the site’s location. The overall vision of the plan entails revitalization through open public space, local artist installations, reuse of structures to preserve historical character, pedestrian and bicycle pathways and amenities – all grounded in sustainable design strategies.

One of the planned primary shopping areas on 24th from Broadway Ave. to Valdez St. in Oakland, Ca.One of the planned primary shopping areas on 24th from Valdez St. to Broadway Avenue

Outreach for public input throughout the project has received involvement from the general public, interest groups and the creation of the Better Broadway Coalition. This network of community groups has advocated for key points the coalition seeks in the plan.

These key points involve:

  • The mix of local and destination retail providers;
  • Mixed housing with an emphasis on low-income and below-market rental rates;
  • Parking management that promotes transit while preserving community character;
  • The creation of quality local jobs;
  • Attractive walkable streets framed with compact development;
  • “Green” buildings and infrastructure;
  • Pedestrian and public transit options; and
  • Adaptive reuse of existing architecture.

Site of Historic Preservation: 1892 Queen Style mixed-use commercial and residential apartments on 29th St. and Broadway Ave. in Oakland, Ca.

Site of Historic Preservation: 1892 Queen Style mixed-use commercial and residential apartments on 29th St. and Broadway Ave.

Among the adaptions made through the coalition partners, the BVDSP now stipulates a minimum of 1,800 homes with 15% of the units priced for low to moderate income housing and also now calls for a parking benefit district to fund future area improvements. The review and comment period for the plan is still open to the public until November 4th, 2013.

Comments should refer to case number ER12-0005 by mail, email or fax. In writing, address to Laura Kaminski at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3315, Oakland, CA 94612. By email, to lkaminski@oaklandnet.com and by fax use (510) 238-6538.

How do you think the open public comment period will actually affect the development project and what ideas for revitalization would you offer?

Credits: Images by Gina Kiani and linked to sources. Data linked to sources.

Gina Kiani

Gina Kiani is a Graduate student at the University of Southern California and will complete a Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology in the Fall of 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of California Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Urban Environments. The primary direction of her objectives and pursuits focus on the use of Geographic Information Science (GIS) to facilitate Sustainable Urban Planning. Her interest in GIS concerns how spatial analysis can provide an over-arching context to many of the themes that are relevant to the interpretation of data and information required in efficient decision-making and modeling. With indisputable evidence of anthropogenic induced climate change, she hopes to utilize GIS in areas such as change detection of atmospheric composition and water levels, epidemic outbreaks, deforestation, reforestation, energy and food production etc., to contribute to the continual characterization, monitoring and evaluation of natural resources for sustainability purposes. Her skill-set includes dissecting and performing the critical components of a site suitability analysis, sustainability inventory, spatial analysis, field techniques for GIST, programming and customization, spatial database management, research and dissemination. Her final year of study will include project management and her thesis in GIS for Sustainable Urban Planning. As the Oakland and Berkeley California correspondent for Global Site Plans, she hopes to remain current on relevant development issues and discover emerging GIS strategies while advocating for sustainable planning.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 31st, 2013 at 9:31 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Environmental Non-Profit, History/Preservation, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


6 Responses to “Oakland, California: Revitalization and Retail Expansion on Broadway”

  1. Wanderer Says:

    The comment period on the Plan and EIR has been extended to Tuesday, November 12.

    On a number of sites in the plan area, the plan would only allow housing to be built if retail space is built before or at the same time as the housing. Some people are concerned that this will preclude the construction of substantial amounts of housing.

  2. Gina Kiani Says:

    Thanks for the update on the comment period extension!!
    It would be great if they got a huge response voicing your concerns….
    Hopefully the retail tax-base is needed enough by the city that it goes up without delay and the housing quickly follows~

  3. Nick Danty Says:

    Awesome topic and awesome design plan! I think Oakland is moving in the right direction; however, it would be nice to see more than 270 affordable units. That being said, it’s refreshing to see that equity isn’t being put on the back burner as it is with so many nascent mixed-use plans in other parts of the Bay (cough cough San Francisco cough cough). The more social advocates and low- to mid-income residents present at the public comment meetings the better because, in the end, it’s the people who matter most. As for the above comment on retail requirements, it’s discouraging that commercial use is seen as tantamount to housing; but I believe that once the value of living close to transit, greenways, and bike facilities becomes apparent, the demand for housing will shoot up. Lets just hope it doesn’t displace current residents.

    Thanks for the post Gina!

  4. Gina Kiani Says:

    I think you’re absolutely right Nick, that the city could do a lot better than just 270 affordable units of the 1,800 total….
    Worse is that it took a coalition of activists and non-profits to demand it!
    Along with other Oakland development sites on the horizon, I think it will add up though to help make a difference~
    As you mentioned and like the social advocates in this case have shown, a presence during these public reviews is needed and can affect the process!
    Thanks for your comments and for being actively aware of the issues facing our current housing situation

  5. Hamid Grinage in Oakland Says:

    I knew about the plans to expand the Broadway Grand development itself, but I didn’t realize there were larger plans in the mix. I think Oakland is definitely moving in the right direction.

  6. Gina Kiani Says:

    I think so too….
    Especially to face the housing issue which this project plus Oakland’s recently funded waterfront development add a total of 3,000 units between the two;
    My only concern is that although a small percent is targeted for affordable and low-income pricing and rentals, more will likely be needed~

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