Land Use Update: Safeway, Merrill Gardens, Temescal Apartments, Nautilus, College Ave. Retail

Saturday, May 9, 2015

College Avenue Safeway Project, College/Claremont: RCPC and the other North Oakland/Berkeley community groups that reached a settlement with Safeway over the new College Avenue center are still negotiating with Safeway - and with Terramar, new owner of the retail buildings - over project issues. Most important: the malfunctioning parking deck space monitor. The street level display should show how many spaces are available, but reports incorrect numbers. This is important: the settlement agreement triggers restrictions if parking demand exceeds available spaces for more than 15 hours in a three-month period.

Another RCPC concern is the Claremont Avenue casual carpool. That area now has meters, but no signs prohibit use of the meters in the carpool area during its hours of operation. RCPC would like to hear from casual carpool users whether cars (or delivery trucks) parked in the casual carpool area are interfering with its operation. Send e-mails to landuse@rockridge.org; leave a voicemail at 644-4228; or write RCPC, 4123 Broadway, PMB 311, Oakland 94611. Photos would be helpful.

Other issues about Safeway and Terramar's compliance with the settlement agreement and use permit conditions will be discussed with the city and Safeway.

The new residential permit parking area around Safeway is soon to be approved by the City Council, after which permits should be available and signs placed.

Merrill Gardens Senior Housing Project - Broadway (West Side) North of 51st Street
Completion of this large senior housing/mixed-use project is projected for the early summer of 2016. For more details on the construction schedule, see http://www.srmdevelopment.com/rockridge. If you have concerns about the construction work, phone numbers for developer SRM are available on the website, or e-mail RCPC at landuse@rockridge.org.

Temescal Apartments Project - Broadway (West Side) South of 51st Street
This project will probably begin construction in the beginning of 2016. It is unlikely to be completed until fall of 2017.

Rockridge Shopping Center - Broadway (East Side) North of Pleasant Valley
Work on this large Terramar project was supposed to start this spring, but obviously hasn't yet. With three large construction projects surrounding the Broadway/Pleasant Valley/51st Street intersection this might be a good intersection to try to avoid come 2016.

Nautilus Mixed Use Project - Telegraph Ave (East Side) Between 51st Street and Claremont Avenue
The developers of this large mixed-use project (185-195 residential units, 50,000 sq. ft. retail) presented current plans at the RCPC April Town Hall meeting. (Story, page 1.) RCPC concerns include shadowing of the surrounding area; traffic impacts; and whether the extension of the FROG Greenbelt to Telegraph Avenue will occur as promised. The developers have painted a picture, but there are too few details to know whether it will be a masterpiece, or an optical illusion. The developers have promised to meet with neighbors of nearby Clarke and Redondo streets soon.

New Tenant, Dreyer's Building
The Dancewear store at this site moved to San Francisco and Dreyer's/NestlŽ is looking for a new tenant. RCPC's strong preference is to keep the space in retail use. Suggested uses have included a kitchenware store, an office supply store, or a men's clothing store. If you have thoughts about what you would - or would not - like to see, or know someone who might be interested in renting the space, let us know. We will relay the info to the Dreyer's real estate agent.

College Avenue Retail Zoning Working Group
RCPC plans to start discussions for this study of College Avenue retail - specifically whether modifications to the current use permit regulations are warranted - during May. The first meeting will likely be held in conjunction with the May Land Use Committee meeting. Check rockridge.org in mid-May for details.