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BART Seeks Developer For Mixed-Use Project At Lake Merritt Station

Lake Merritt Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland

Bay Area Rapid Transit is looking for a development partner to build a mixed-use project at its Lake Merritt station in Oakland. The transit agency wants to build an office and mixed-income residential high-rise on 2.8 acres of BART land, the San Francisco Business Times reports.

The project would be built on an existing parking lot at 98 Eighth St. and at 101 Eighth St., which has an office building. It will coincide with BART's construction of a new transit operations facility and the redevelopment of the Lake Merritt Plaza.

The transit agency has been making a push to develop more on its land to boost ridership, especially in the reverse-commute direction, and reduce car emissions. A project just broke ground near the Fruitvale BART station and developments are cropping up around BART stations throughout the Bay Area.

The ideal project at the Lake Merritt station would have at least 20% on-site affordable housing as well as commercial space for nonprofits, project labor agreements and pay impact fees. While the affordable housing component could be a separate mid-rise building, the rest of the project would be a high-rise building. The parcels have height limits of 275 feet. BART would lease the land to a developer.

A future project could face significant opposition. BART does not plan to replace the 100 parking spots lost during the development. The local Sierra Club has opposed an office component saying it would not improve the housing crisis, and Chinatown community groups want at least 35% affordable housing at the site. The Chinatown groups also want control of the future community and nonprofit space.

Proposals will be accepted through April 16 and a shortlist will be available the week of May 14. The final project will need to be approved by Oakland's city council and the BART board of directors.