Q&A with Oakland developer fire victim: "We have every intention on rebuilding"

- Wood Partners, the owner and developer of the Alta Waverly construction site, says they have every intention on rebuilding in Oakland. Last Friday their 196-unit residential and commercial property on Valdez Street was destroyed in a fire. The incident came shortly after three East Bay construction arson fires prompting concern that development may be under attack.

2 Investigates reporter Candice Nguyen sat down with Wood Partners spokesman Sam Singer for a one-on-one interview Thursday to talk about the security they had before the fire, their plans moving forward and what advice they’d give to other developers concerned about building in the East Bay.

Nguyen: What kind of security did you have at the cite before Friday’s fire?
Singer: There was extra security, security cameras that we hope will be helpful  to the investigators so they can come up with a determination.

Nguyen: After the two Emeryville arson fires and the suspicious fire near Lake Merritt, was Wood Partners worried about being next?
Singer: Everyone has been on alert who builds in the East Bay after the Emeryville fires and prior to this.

Nguyen: Does Wood Partners plan to rebuild?
Singer: We have every intention on rebuilding in Oakland…Yes, we’re concerned, but we’re not going to be discouraged. We want to rebuild an dtalk to Oakland on how to do that.

Nguyen: When rebuilding, what will you do differently?
Singer: We’re going to have more security than we had in the past. There will be reach-out to the public so we can prevent anything like this from happening again.

Nguyen: But, it sounds like you had that before and the fire still happened.
Singer: We had a lot of things in place. Security guards and cameras, but clearly there is something that can get around that can create issues like this.

Nguyen: Developers who want to build in the East Bay, but now are concerned after these fires…what do you want them to know?
Singer: Be concerned but don’t be discouraged. Adding additional security, working collectively with the community and working with Oakland police is going to help all of us…I think we’re going to encourage other developers to continue to be engaged in Oakland and do business in the City.


 

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