Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Oakland, Calif.–City Walk, an apartment development in downtown Oakland that has been stalled for about three years, is poised to get under way again next week according to its new developer, multifamily specialist Wood Partners L.L.C. The restarting of construction marks a turnaround for City Walk, which has stood partly complete for three years following a bankruptcy filing by the original general contractor.
Located two blocks from Oakland’s City Hall at 1307 Jefferson St., the site is one of the more visible ones in downtown, and has reminded passersby daily of the ongoing crisis in real estate finance since construction stopped abruptly. Wood Partners bought the site last fall and since then has worked to assemble the financing and regulatory approvals necessary to complete the project.
“There’s a lot going on in downtown Oakland and this project is designed to provide a unique experience for someone who wants to be a part of it,” Frank Middleton, director of the West Coast division of Wood Partners, tells MHN. “Also, market fundamentals in the Bay Area are some of the strongest in the country and most analyst reports say it’s well-positioned for recovery.”
The target market for the property, he adds, is “young, urban professionals who want to be close to work, restaurants and nightlife of downtown Oakland.”
Upon completion, City Walk will offer area residents the first new apartments in the city center in two years. The property will include 264 apartments in four six-story buildings, as well as a street-level retail component. Construction could be completed as early as mid-2011.
The city of Oakland played a pivotal role in bringing the financing package together, agreeing in April to Wood Partners’ request for a $5 million loan this spring. At that point, Wood Partners had about 85 percent of the necessary funding in place. The city loan improved the project’s debt-to-equity ratio, which in turn allowed Wood Partners to secure the balance of funding.
Because the project is partly complete with most of the material already purchased and on site, the majority of the $39 million construction budget will go towards wages. The project will generate the equivalent of more than 170 full-time onsite jobs, with another 75 to 100 office workers to support construction, notes Middleton.