Proposal for 38-story high rise in Uptown Oakland includes no affordable housing

A proposed 38-story high-rise housing development in Uptown Oakland is being met with protests, with affordability at the center of concerns. 

Activists opposed to the residential development by Rubicon Point Partners, gathered at 1750 Broadway Street, near the 19th Street BART Station on Tuesday. Opponents said the building would bring traffic and noise to their neighborhood, but not affordable housing. 

If the project proposal receives final approval, the high rise will go up along the busy thoroughfare. Opponents want city council to hear their concerns about safety, affordability and jobs. 

The address is currently a low-rise building that houses East Bay Paratransit offices. Critics are now appealing the planning commission's approval of the project and said all 307 units would be luxury apartments despite the Bay Area's need for more affordable housing and the growing rate of homelessness. 

"I was shocked," said Joy Meng, who lives in the neighborhood. "No. Downtown Oakland [doesn't] need this. The building is too big and not necessary." 

Meng is a special education teacher. She and others at Tuesday's protest live next door in a rent-controlled building. 

"It's dangerous," Meng said. "How are they going to make sure it's safe?" Among other concerns were air pollution and construction damage. 

The city of Oakland requires developers to include a percentage of affordable units, but allows them to pay a fee in liu of that, that will go towards helping fund affordable housing elsewhere. 

According to the protesters, San Francisco-based real estate investment company, Rubicon will be paying $7 million. 

Union construction workers joined the chorus of opposition. They said the developer plans to bring in non-union workers from out of town. 

"If you let this developer do this, the next developer is going to come in and do it and next thing you know, we're all out of work," said Carlos Anderson, a plumber with Local 342. 

Opponents said they are not against development, but that they want a responsible project that will benefit Oaklanders by providing affordable housing, jobs for local union workers and safety measures for neighbors. 

"They're not accountable on workforce issues, and they're not accountable on who can afford to live here. People are being forced out. It's changing our community," said John Dalrymple with East Bay Residents for Responsible Development. 

KTVU reached out to Rubicon for comment but has not heard back. 

The Oakland City Council will likely take up the matter in October. They will decide whether to allow the project to move forward as is, or if they need to send it back to the planning commission to make adjustments.