New Affordable Community Transforms an Underutilized Site into Much-Needed Housing for Oaklanders at Brooklyn Basin

Foon Lok West, 130 affordable units for families, currently under construction
January 26, 2021

Construction on Foon Lok West, a development of MidPen Housing, is underway in Oakland and slated to welcome residents in fall 2022. Foon Lok means “Joyous Community” in Cantonese and will bring 130 affordable rental homes for low- and extremely low-income working families and individuals experiencing homelessness. It is a part of Brooklyn Basin, a master-planned community along Oakland’s waterfront that will provide over 3,100 new homes for people of all ages, income levels and walks of life within a vibrant, 64-acre, mixed-use district that includes retail, parks and open spaces. Brooklyn Basin is the result of a highly collaborative public/private partnership whose vision began over 15 years ago.

“I am thrilled to see an additional 130 affordable homes for families and individuals underway in Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Every development that is on public land should have affordable housing for the people.”

Alameda County is one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets where, according to a recent California Housing Partnership report, 71% of extremely low-income (ELI) households are paying more than half of their income on housing and nearly 52,000 low-income renter households do not have access to an affordable home. In response to this need, Foon Lok West’s units will have 65 project-based vouchers that will be administered by Oakland Housing Authority and 26 units will be reserved for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Foon Lok West marks the third affordable housing community at Brooklyn Basin where ultimately 465 affordable homes are planned and will be developed by MidPen Housing. As Foon Lok West is starting construction, Paseo Estero (101 units) and Vista Estero (110 units) has recently completed construction and will welcome residents next month. MidPen’s fourth affordable housing community at Brooklyn Basin, Foon Lok East, is currently entitled and being actively financed.

The fact that so much affordable housing has been allocated is in large part due to the long-time efforts of the Oak to Ninth Community Benefits Coalition made up of four local organizations: Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) and Urban Strategies Council, who together represent over 2,000 low-income families and seniors in Oakland. Formed in 2004, this Coalition played an integral role in negotiating an agreement with the City’s Redevelopment Agency that required the construction of 465 deeply affordable homes. This agreement was accompanied by substantial investments of the City of Oakland’s and Oakland Housing Authority’s resources to ensure the properties’ development and ongoing operations.

“We applaud Oakland’s commitment to build affordable housing for all of its residents and thank our community partners for their ongoing partnership and support,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President and CEO of MidPen Housing. “Foon Lok West is the result of these efforts, and we’re pleased to see this next phase of development in construction.”

Foon Lok West will provide 48 one-bedroom, 35 two-bedroom (including a manager’s unit), and 47 three-bedroom apartment homes for families earning up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) which in Alameda County is $78,300 for a four-person household. Community amenities include a multi-purpose community room, computer lab, learning center, secured bicycle parking, 3rd floor landscaped courtyard and a children’s playground.

Financing for the community was provided through public and private sources including the City of Oakland, Oakland Housing Authority, County of Alameda, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, State of California HCD No Place Like Home Program, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Wells Fargo, and California Community Reinvestment Corporation. Foon Lok West was designed by HKIT Architects and the contractor is Nibbi Brothers General Contractors. MidPen Property Management will provide professional, onsite management and MidPen Services will administer adult and youth services programming with third-party case management for supportive units.