Demolition to resume on Oakland mall after asbestos found in Rockridge

- Demolition on a now-defunct Chase bank in Oakland's Rockridge district - where contractors discovered asbestos - will resume later this month, with the goal of completely tearing it down by the end of the year, according to the city's deputy planning director.

Darin Ranelletti told KTVU on Wednesday that he didn't have a specific date for the demolition, but that the developer, TRC, was working with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, on how to proceed.

The asbestos was found in April, and no work has been done on the site since then. According to officials, no asbestos made its way into the air.

Ranelletti also said that the developer has not yet decided what to do after the Chase bank, which has been an eyesore for months at the corner of Pleasant Valley Avenue and Broadway, has been torn down.

The site was originally supposed to house many shops at a new mall called Shops at the Ridge. There is a new Safeway, Chase Bank and a few other shops built in one corner of the open-air mall. But a large swath of the mall remains barren.

In an interview, the TRC property manager, Shannon Naraghi said that the cost of the asbestos removal is so expensive, and that the retail market landscape had soured, that her company needed to take the "temperature" of the market to determine what's next.

Ranelletti said Oakland officials would love to add high-density apartments  to the retail-only plan, but that the landowners – Alvin Chan of Texas – has expressly denied any addition of housing to the project through the developer.


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