Crews break ground on new affordable housing development near Lake Merritt

Crews broke ground on a multi-story apartment building near Lake Merritt on Tuesday that is expected to bring dozens of new and affordable homes to Oakland.

The project consists of two buildings, with construction starting immediately on the first structure, which will have 91 apartment units. The project is expected to be complete by 2026.

The buildings will be located at E. 12th Street and 2nd Avenue in the Lake Merritt Eastlake neighborhoods. The sites are on the west end of Lake Merritt, near the old Kaiser Convention Center.

"This area is majority renters, it's majority people of color. It's been highly impacted by gentrification," said Oakland City Council President, Nikki Fortunato-Bas. "That's going to help keep people here in Oakland and stop the kind of displacement we've seen here for many, many years."

The multi-story complex will have studio, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments. Twenty-three of the apartments will be designated for people transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing.

Prospective tenants must qualify for affordable housing. That means household incomes should be between 20 to 60 percent of the Area Median Income for that zip code. It breaks down to a range of $30,000 to no more than $95,000 per year in income, per household.

"People who work in retail, people who work in emergency services," said Oakland Housing Authority Executive Director and CEO, Patricia Wells. "Our hope is some of our teachers will end up responding to the opening of our waitlist."


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"We're really excited because you know, in the season where crime and other complex aspects of the community here at peak pitch, we also believe investing in housing first is one of the best ways to approach these challenging problems," said Liz Probst, Director of Real Estate Development at the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), the organization spearheading construction and one of several community groups involved in developing the project. "The process for potential residents and applicants to apply for the housing involves a lottery process about six months prior to opening the doors," she said. 

The total cost of the first, 91-unit apartment building is $102 million. The money to build it comes from state and local governments, the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, The Unity Council, and Jordan Real Estate Investments. Additional funding comes from Measure U, which Oakland taxpayers approved in 2022 to fund affordable housing projects. 

The E. 12th Street apartment complex is the first affordable housing project in Oakland to use Measure U funds.