Two New Affordable Communities Transform an Underutilized Site into Much-Needed Housing for Families and Seniors along Oakland’s Waterfront

Groundbreaking of Paseo Estero and Vista Estero, developments of MidPen Housing and an official event of EBHO’s 2019 Affordable Housing Week
May 15, 2019

On Wednesday, May 15th, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland Housing Authority Executive Director Eric Johnson and other city and county leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of Paseo Estero and Vista Estero, two affordable rental apartment communities being developed by MidPen Housing. The event is part of East Bay Housing Organization (EBHO’s) 2019 Affordable Housing Week.

Paseo Estero and Vista Estero are two of the first parcels within Brooklyn Basin to break ground. Brooklyn Basin is a master-planned community along Oakland’s waterfront that will provide over 3,000 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 15 years ago.

Alameda County is one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets where, according to a recent California Housing Partnership report, 72% of extremely low income (ELI) households are paying more than half of their income on housing. In response to this need, Paseo Estero and Vista Estero will collectively provide 211 affordable rental homes: 101 for low-income working families and 110 for seniors on fixed incomes – many of whom have worked in and raised their families in Oakland but are now being priced out of the market and are at risk of homelessness. The communities are expected to welcome residents in late 2020.

“All Oakland residents deserve affordable housing and to feel housing security,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “It took several years and many creative partnerships to build 211 units of new affordable housing for our working families and seniors on this beautiful site. Today we celebrate the transformation of Brooklyn Basin and this groundbreaking, but we are also reminded to continue on with the daily fight to create more affordable housing across our region and for all residents.”

“Paseo Estero and Vista Estero at Brooklyn Basin demonstrate the commitment of one of California’s largest and most diverse cities to build affordable housing for all of its residents,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President and CEO of MidPen Housing. “We applaud the City of Oakland for championing what we believe will become a best-practice model for other major metropolises.”

Paseo Estero and Vista Estero mark the first phase of building affordable housing at Brooklyn Basin where ultimately 465 affordable homes are planned. The fact that so much affordable housing has been allocated is in large part due to the long-time efforts of The Brooklyn Basin Community Benefits Coalition made up of three resident membership organizations: Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), and Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) who together represent over 2,000 low-income families and seniors in Oakland. Formed in 2004, this coalition – with technical support from Urban Strategies – played an integral role in negotiating an agreement with the City’s Redevelopment Agency that required the construction of 465 deeply affordable homes.

“For fifteen years, our coalition fought to include affordable housing in this development. Our members believed deeply that Brooklyn Basin had to include them – Oakland’s working families.” said Andrew Nelsen, coalition member from EBAYC. “Today our families get to see the fruits of their labor, as we break ground at Paseo Estero and Vista Estero. We are thrilled and look forward to seeing folks moving into these affordable homes next year!”

Both Paseo Estero and Vista Estero will employ many green building and sustainable features and will receive LEED certification.

Financing for the two communities was provided through public and private sources including the City of Oakland, the Oakland Housing Authority, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the California Municipal Finance Agency, Wells Fargo, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. The communities were designed by the award-winning HKIT Architects and the contractor is Nibbi Brothers General Contractors. MidPen Property Management will provide professional, onsite management.

“We’re proud to provide nearly $200 million in construction and permanent financing at Paseo Estero and Vista Estero,” said Daniel Perl, Senior Vice President, at Wells Fargo. “Creating 211 new affordable homes makes a major impact in our community, by helping to address the pressing need for high-quality housing for Oakland’s families and seniors.”

Details on Paseo Estero

Paseo Estero will provide 36 one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom, and 50 three-bedroom apartment homes for families earning up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) which in Alameda County is $69,720 for a four person household. Community amenities include a multi-purpose community room, computer lab, fitness center, courtyard, secured bicycle storage, and a children’s playground.

Residents will have access to robust onsite programs provided by MidPen Services that include financial capabilities courses, workforce development, health and wellness programs, and ESL classes for adults; and academically-based after school and summer programs, leadership training, and college exploration programs for youth.

Details on Vista Estero

Vista Estero will provide 106 one-bedroom and 4 two-bedroom apartment homes for seniors earning up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) which in Alameda County is $48,840 for a one person household. The community is designed to support healthy living and allow seniors to age in place. Amenities include a community room, computer lab, balance studio, courtyard, secured bicycle storage and an arts and crafts room.

MidPen Services will provide onsite services that include a wide range of health and wellness programs: care coordination and case management, functional independence assessments, movement classes, health fairs, food assistance programs, independent living classes. Quality of life social programs designed to keep seniors connected and engaged will also be offered. These include holiday celebrations, field trips, and other social events.