With the final approval of the City Council, the former Oak Knoll Naval Hospital site in the foothills of East Oakland will be transformed into a thriving neighborhood complete with restored open space, a community center and new shops.
SunCal, the developer of the project, cleared its final legislative hurdle with near unanimous support by council members to build 918 new homes. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan moved to approve the project with the support of six other members. Councilmember Dan Kalb abstained.
“It is City Council President Larry Reid and his decades of dogged focus and determination who deserves our thanks,” said SunCal developer Sam Veltri.
“We thank Greg McConnell for guiding us through the process,” he said. “Without his help, success would have been impossible.”
“This was a huge victory for East Oakland, Council President Larry Reid, and the surrounding neighbors, who have worked for nearly 20 years to get this project done and to ensure that appropriate community benefits are attached to it,” said McConnell, president of the Jobs and Housing Coalition and The McConnell Group.
Success came about by bringing together neighbors; the local labors union, LiUNA Local 304: Bishop Bob Jackson’s Men of Valor program, veterans groups, the NAACP, The 200, and independent African American contractors.
“This was a true community effort,” McConnell added.
The developer has committed to contributing to the Oakland Jobs Foundation to help pay to train unskilled workers, many of whom will be reentering the workforce.
David Soyka, a SunCal representative, said, “Our project labor agreement with LiUNA Local 304 and our support of local job training programs is important.”
The Oak Knoll project will generate a combined $36.8 million in annual revenue for the city, plus an additional $30.3 million in one- time revenue. The developer estimates the project will create more than 5,000 jobs with a retail center, community center, marketplace, and 90 acres of restored open public space, including a creek and trail restoration.
SunCal has committed to contribute $20 million to the city’s affordable housing fund, which Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan plans to use to help build on-site affordable housing on a city-owned five-acre parcel.
The Oak Knoll hospital was demolished in 2011. The hospital was shuttered for 15 years prior to its destruction.