Neighborhood Coalition Submits Proposal for East 12th Street Development


The East 12th Wishlist team, powered by the neighborhood group Eastlake United for Justice (EUJ), submitted its proposal to Oakland City Council for the construction of 98 exclusively affordable housing units on the publicly owned East 12th Street Remainder Property.


On Monday at a press conference held in front of the empty 12th Street lot, the Eastlake organization unveiled the plans and proposal that it had submitted to City Council.


The blueprint design includes 98 units of affordable housing, small commercial enterprising space, rooftop gardens, a playground and a safe pedestrian pathway connecting the property to Lake Merritt.


Meanwhile, Oakland Unified School District and UrbanCore—with a new financial backer—have both submitted proposals, as well.


The East 12th Wishlist proposal came out of months of conversations with Eastlake residents that culminated in a planning event called the “East 12th Wishlist People’s Planning Forum,” which brought over 150 people from across Oakland “to design and imagine creative ideas for use of the parcel,” according to the group’s press release.


The Wishlist team left the community planning event with hundreds of suggestions and sketches and spent the following weeks designing a plan that reflected the ideas proposed, going so far as to count how many times similar suggestions appeared and using tracing paper to sketch out the aggregate area of where people most wanted certain spaces to be on the parcel.


“It was a really faithful interpretation of what community members were proposing,” said Katie Loncke, an organizer with the East 12th Wishlist coalition. “The approach was really democratically done.”


Several dozen community members attended the unveiling of the proposal and listened to Public Advocates attorney David Zisser talk about legal issues to be watchful of as the City Council moves forward with considering proposals, and Eastlake resident and architect Eric Saijo talk about the project, which he helped design.


“Our main goal was to provide affordable housing, especially for families,” said Saijo. “We’re confident that at least 98 units could be built here while still following the community’s wishes. These include not having a high-rise building, having an open community space, rooftop gardens, etcetera.”


According to members of the East 12th Wishlist Design Team, the project is being called a “mid-rise, medium density, mixed-use, affordable housing proposal.”


Oakland City Council now has to approve of the proposals and move them into a second round 90-day period during which proposals can be further developed.


“I’m very hopeful that we’ll be invited to do the next round and we’re starting to concretize a developer search right away,” said D. Alwan, a member of Eastlake’s Affordable Housing and Anti-Gentrification Committee.


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