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So Long Oakland Parking, Hello Oakland's Newest Apartments?

Lot right next to BART rumored for sale to multi-billion dollar apartment developers

The San Francisco Business Times reports that an enormous parking garage at 1314 Franklin Street is on the verge of a sale to San Francisco-based developers Carmel Partners, potentially becoming a 500-700 unit residential development down the line.

The block, bounded by 13th and 14th streets on one side and Franklin and Webster on the other, is less than 430 feet from the 12th Street BART station and spans 1.38 acres. The Times estimates a value of $35 million or more. The alleged sale is not yet final, and Carmel Partners is presently mum about the issue one way or the other.

Carmel is the same firm behind the Carmel Rincon on Howard Street and the proposed Walnut Avenue apartments in Fremont. The firm owns over 22,000 apartment units worldwide worth almost $5 billion, and will have developed over 12,000 units of its own once everything on their plate is clear. Two years ago, they raised over $1 billion for the purposes of future residential development, much of which they’ve been pouring into the Bay Area.

The Franklin Street lot is part of Oakland’s 2014 Lake Merritt Station Area Plan, which encompasses a zone stretching as far as Broadway on the west to 5th Avenue on the east, and from 5th Street on the south as far north as International Boulevard. Increasing the amount of residential housing around BART stations was one of the city's express goals when passing the plan.

This is potentially huge news for Oakland, as development continues to transform its housing market as well as its downtown scene and skyline, but would be quite a blow to the folks at the Downtown Merchants Parking Association, who talk about the squat, 500-plus capacity yellow structure on Franklin street like proud parents, boasting that the garage was built in "just 105 working days" and a month ahead of schedule.

An unlikely bit of enterprising Oakland business history, but it might fall into the category of eggs and omelets as the city moves forward.