By Darin Moriki, East Bay Times
SAN LEANDRO — The San Mateo developer charged with building out the San Leandro Tech Campus next to the San Leandro BART station has received the green light to construct a mixed-use, residential complex within the office park.
The San Leandro City Council, by a 7-0 vote July 17, approved Westlake Urban’s plan to expand its new, six-story parking structure and build a seven-story mixed-use building next to it, with 197 market-rate apartments and ground-floor commercial space.
“I’m looking at the drawings here, and it’s quite beautiful and very thoughtful. The amenities are quite impressive by any standard,” Councilwoman Corina Lopez told Westlake Urban executives at the meeting.
Current plans for the 220,638-square-foot residential building, wedged between Parrot and Thornton streets, include 42 studio, 114 one-bedroom and 41 two-bedroom apartments for rent, along with a leasing office, meeting area, pet spa and 13,024 square feet of commercial space.
The apartments would range in size from 500 to 1,337 square feet and rent for $2,000 to $3,000 a month.
“It will take two years to build this project, so right now, we can say that (rent) range, but by the time these units would come online and be delivered to the public, the market can change, and we can’t predict exactly what that is at this point,” Westlake Urban Assistant Development Manager Donovan Cole told the council.
The existing San Leandro Tech Campus parking garage, with 785 spaces, would be expanded to accommodate an additional 560 vehicles, including 144 spaces set aside for residents and commercial tenants in the residential building. Another 85 parking spaces would be built into the first floor and basement of the proposed building, using a mechanical parking system, he said.
“Initially, in 2014, this parcel was just earmarked for at-grade parking with 88 spaces, so now we’re getting this mixed-use development, investment in the property, and with this creative design, 85 spaces instead of the 88-space parking lot,” senior city planner Elmer Penaranda said.
Former San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy said Westlake Urban’s proposed residential building “is the kind of development that fits within our zoning code, is within walking distance of BART and that we should support.”
“It’s wonderful to see that this advance and see private business have such confidence in our community by investing so much in creating additional office space and housing,” Cassidy told the council.
“At the same time, as other issues come before you with respect to housing and zoning, we need to make sure that we uphold our zoning code, and that we, if necessary, make that message clear to developers so that we also preserve our residential neighborhoods,” he said.
San Leandro resident Pauline Ahanotu said she has lived within a few blocks of the San Leandro Tech Campus for the past 19 years and has concerns about safety because of the residential building’s close proximity to Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
“Since I’ve been there, I’ve seen three schoolchildren killed by the train tracks,” Ahanotu said.
“This housing project that they’re doing is beautiful and I like it, but I’m still concerned about safety and the noise. I don’t mind office buildings because the people from OSISoft leave around 9 or 9:30 p.m., when I’m coming home from work, and that’s OK,” she said.
Construction of the mixed-use, residential building could begin as early as next spring, said Sunny Tong, managing director of Westlake Urban. The development company may then return to the city planning commission in mid- to late-2018 to build a hotel or mixed-use office building, he said.
In all, Westlake Urban’s investment in the 750,000-square-foot San Leandro Tech Campus likely will be valued around $150 million by the time the residential building and second office building under construction is complete, Tong said. The development company in May broke ground on a six-story, 132,000-square-foot office building next to the OSISoft world headquarters building and 55-foot-tall “Truth Is Beauty” sculpture by Bay Area artist Marco Cochrane.
Both the sculpture and the OSISoft’s new headquarters were completed and unveiled in October 2016.