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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crossings Housing Project Near Collapse?

DEVELOPERS DELAY BUILDING OF SAN LEANDRO CROSSINGS PROJECT; CITE ECONOMY
By STEVEN TAVARES
The Citizen

SAN LEANDROThe three parties partnered with the city of San Leandro to build the mixed use, transit-orient San Leandro Crossings housing development are delaying plans to build the initial $110 million phase of the project.

City Manager Stephen Hollister said Monday night all sides partnered with the housing development to be located directly behind the San Leandro BART station had voiced concern over uncertainties in the current housing market along with the state entity involved with the project missing a deadline to procure grant funds.

"The City has been working diligently with all parties--Westlake, BRIDGE and Housing and Community Development--and will continue to do so," Hollister said in a statement read to the council. "We are hopeful that we can proceed with the project in such a manner that will satifsy HCD requirements and the needs of the developers and the City."

According to sources familiar with the deal, the HCD had recently demanded a guarantee for their $10 million investment for the first phase of low-income housing units. Westlake assured the HCD only a portion of the $10 million would be guaranteed in the first year of construction. Westlake, according to sources, also sought changes to parking at the development, opting for surface parking over the previously planned parking garage. Westlake also indicated a desire to lower the development's building standards from that of condominiums to rental.

The city and BRIDGE was asked to cover the remaining portion of HCD's investment, but the council apparently balked at such a deal, according to sources and, late last week, BRIDGE threatened to pull out of the entire project because of the uncertainty over the HCD's delays in receiving grant funds and their subsequent proposal that hoped to defray their risk.

"BRIDGE was unable to conitnue without the assurance that the HCD documents would be executed in time to meet the requirements of their lenders and the tax credit deadline," said Hollister. Afterwards Hollister said he was "optimistic" the project will eventually move forward despite the delay, although he said, "We're disappointed with the delay, but I can say everyone is now working towards getting this done."

The San Leandro Crossing development is prime part of the city's transit-oriented strategy hoping to transform its downtown area to a more walkable experience featuring dining, shopping and recreation options. Phase 1 of the two-year old Crossings project, located on the open patch of land behind the BART station, includes a mix of 300 multi-family market rate rentals and affordable housing built to condo standards. The plan also called for a multi-story parking garage to replace those lost to riders of BART.

JOIN THE REVOLUTION! Readers of the East Bay Citizen twitter feed knew about the possibility of the Crossing project being in jeopardy before it happened! Go to twitter.com/eastbaycitizen.com for more news and LiveTweeting of events.

8 comments :

I hope this damn thing fizzles and we can get a responsible development there, not more ghetto dwellers overwhelming our schools.

Totally Agree. This town does not need more low income/afforable housing, we have more than enough already with all of the 1000 sq ft after ww2 housing and 1960/70 apartment buildings all over town that have depreciated 50%. We need new market rate housing and then use the redevelopment $$$ allocated to this project for something to benefit the entire city instead of 100 people.

Fernando, The City is misusing Redevelopment Money as a cash cow to their buddies. There's more than enough "affordable" housing here. We need more upscale development and professional business parks to attract people who make and spend money, not suck up money.
Manuel

Yeah! Good riddance to more traffic, more crime, more polution and higher public saftey costs.
The question is when do we get the money we are loaning to them back?

Paul Gregory

This is great news, and shows that there are too many greedy interests involved here--mostly out of town landowners and those who make their money from other peoples' poverty--who want to funnel money out of cash strapped San Leandro into San Mateo hands. The city council showed they are wise not to fall for this and give them any more than the $9 million in redevelopment funds already pledeged (which is amazing given the extremely limited intellect of most members of council).

Over 300 San Leandreans--many of whom live near the proposed project area--signed a petition letting the city know they object to this proposed monstrosity. Unfortunately, the city council listened to handful of poverty pimps who stood to have increased financial gain from this project; as well as their developer buddies.

San Leandro is one of the most affordable cities in the East Bay. The proposed project was for "very low income" people. Basically a housing project, and BRIDGE has clearly stated they will accept Section 8--just ask them. I thought liberals had learned that the projects in Detroit, NYC, Chicago and other cities have shown that it's a bad idea to economically segregate folks in a dense housing environment.

But the libs and developers reinvented themselves and said if we build it by BART, then it's "Transit Oriented Development." Putting something between BART and the train line basically means it's on the wrong side of the tracks--both ways.

Let's hope all of the greedy developers and poverty pimps will let their own greed and being untrustful of their fellow corrupt business partners keep this horrendous project from ever coming to fruition.

Frank Lynn,
Pleasanton & San Leandro homeowner

It was bogus from the get go. The Transit Oriented Committee or whatever the hell it was called should have just been named the Railroad 'em Barons because the consultant hired by that witch, Shelia Young refused to hear the concerns of Committee members. They were after one thing.....low income housing. Probably so they could unload some of San Francisco's projects onto San Leandro so Nancy Pelosi's fangs could develop Hunters Point.
Manuel

Where was this opposition when the project was in the planning phase and the developer could have been forced to make critical changes or leave? HUD has been encouraging mixed income housing for some time, however Bridge wants to make money not only from development, but as property managers as well. The TOD Committee as well as I could tell was made up of friends of those who stood to gain from this development, not from persons who understand development.

Any opposition to this project in the planning phase was immediately shot down by the consultant group. They didn't want to hear any ideas over than what was in agreement with them. Shelia Young finagled a huge grant, close to $500,000 for the consultant group. She's a piece of crap of the highest order.
Manuel

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