Community input—and previous experience—guides joint development in Oakland 


Rendering of proposed development at the Lake Merritt BART station in Oakland, CA (Image: BART)

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors recently approved moving forward with developer negotiations for new buildings at the Lake Merritt Station in Oakland. The project, which will include housing, office, and retail space, comes after a redevelopment attempt on the BART-owned property fell through seven years ago when the developer working with BART pulled out.

This time negotiations will start with two developer groups—the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) and Strada—in a process that could take up to two years while the project is clearly defined and public meetings are held. The developer of choice is EBALDC but the inclusion of Strada is intended to preclude losing time on the project if the initial talks fall through like they did in 2011.

“The proposal features 519 units of housing, 44 percent of which would be affordable, and 517,000 square feet of commercial space for offices and shops.” (BART) After discussions with local leaders brought up the potential displacement of valuable community and non-profit organizations, 21 percent of the office space will be also affordable, priced at half of market rates. The project is closely aligned with the Lake Merritt Specific Plan and BART’s overall Strategic Plan and TOD Policy.

While negotiations still need to take place, there are plenty of interesting ideas for transit agencies that work with developers to think about, including affordable office space and working with two developers as a safety net. For more on joint development, check out for pieces such as Forming Partnerships to Promote TOD and Joint Development from the APTA Standards Program or Best Practices in Transit Agency Joint Development from Enterprise Community Partners.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.