Forest City, MacFarlane Open Phase I of Oakland’s First LEED Silver Multifamily Project

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorOakland, Calif.–Oakland’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-certified multi-housing property is now open for leasing. Developed through a joint venture of Forest City Residential Group Inc., a subsidiary of Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises Inc., and San Francisco-based MacFarlane Partners, The Uptown is a transit-oriented, sustainable development.“Anytime there’s a project of this size with this certification, it sets an example of what’s possible,” says Kevin Ratner, president of Forest City Residential West. Converted from an area of parking lots, unused buildings and an old gas station, The Uptown is situated in the center of the Arts & Entertainment District and is within walking distance to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and AC Transit buses. Additionally, the development has on-site Zipcars for residents who do not own cars and VIP parking for hybrid cars. To further encourage public transportation, the development has a 0.8 parking ratio, compared to an average of about 1.25 in Los Angeles. “The ratio is less than what is normally required because we want to encourage people to not use their cars and to try to change the congestion of downtown Oakland,” says Ratner. “We’re providing people an opportunity to live closer to work.”Other green elements include landscaping that requires 50 percent less water for maintenance, low-flow bathroom fixtures, recycled kitchen and bath cabinets, Energy Star appliances and low-VOC adhesives, paints and carpets. In addition, Forest City partnered with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to deliver local produce and bring in local chefs to cook in the community’s demonstration kitchen.The 665-unit project is comprised of four city blocks and three buildings. Studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom residences are available and monthly rents range from $1,580 to $3,670. The development’s first completed building, The William, features a lobby with café-style seating, stainless steel accents, a silent film projection and two interior courtyards with private patios.Construction on The Uptown’s three phases is expected to be complete by the end of this year. At that time, 25 percent of the units will be affordable housing residences. In addition to the residences, The Uptown will feature 9,000 square feet of retail space. The city is in the process of developing a 25,000 square feet public park that will be the central outdoor focal point of the neighborhood.