Groundbreaking at one of Oakland's largest housing, retail developments

Oakland city leaders and developers on Wednesday broke ground on what will be one of the city's largest housing and retail developments at the old Oak Knoll Naval Hospital.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilmember Larry Reid attended the groundbreaking, digging in alongside the developers of this project in East Oakland.

Once construction is complete 7 to ten years from now, the site where the naval hospital stood will have have 80,000 square feet of retail, including a grocery store and other shops, 70 acres of public parks and trails, and 918 new town homes. Those homes will be at market rate 

“Housing at any price point relieves the pressure,” Schaaf said. 

There is a 5-acre parcel of land adjacent to this development that the city of Oakland stll owns. The goal is to develop that parcel into affordable housing, possibly senior housing, at a later date.

Schaaf also pointed out that as part of this agreement, the developer, Suncal, had to pay a $20-million fee to build this project. 

The mayor says that $20 million will also go towards the city's fund to invest in affordable housing elsewhere.

The development of this land has been a decades-old project.

Suncal originally bought this land in 2005. The company’s financial partner at the time was the now-defunct investment firm, Lehman Brothers.

During the 2008 financial crisis the project was put on hold.

Suncal eventually bought the land a second time, on their own, after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.