Richmond defies NIMBY trend, welcomes housing development
Jun 16, 2017, 11:57am PDT Updated Jun 16, 2017, 3:21pm PDT
Hannah Norman Intern San Francisco Business Times
A 60-unit Shea Homes development is under construction in Richmond, one of the East Bay city’s growing number of projects in the pipeline.
To date, the city has struggled to attract significant investment for development. Last year, UC Berkeley suspended planning on its global research campus indefinitely, citing “budgetary challenges.” City officials see the Shea Homes project as a step in the right direction, as Richmond seeks to ramp up development after a decade-long lull.
Shea Homes' Waterline project is currently under construction.
“I wish we had more, but we’ll take what we can get,” said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.
Unlike many Bay Area cities characterized by their NIMBYism, Richmond is aggressive towards growth, especially following the recession, Butt said. In 2012, the city upzoned a few areas for higher density development, with hopes of adding 20,000 to 30,000 residential units.
“We need housing here at every income level,” said Butt.
Development in Richmond is definitely picking up. The Point, which includes 28 for-rent units, is also under construction. By the marina, Bay Walk is in the pipeline to include 193 townhomes, and Terminal One, a 13.8 acre mixed-use project east of Ferry Point, is expected to begin construction in late 2017 or early 2018, according to Lina Velasco, senior planner of Richmond. That project was subject to a lawsuit, but it was settled.
In 2016, Butt and his staff unveiled a housing strategy to boost both market-rate and affordable development.
The Shea project, known as Waterline, sit adjacent to the 240-acre Miller Knox Regional Shoreline Park in the Point Richmond neighborhood. Model homes are set to be available by spring 2018. Dahlin Group Architecture Planning designed the project. The shoreline flats and town homes will have two or three bedrooms and range from about 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, featuring additional options such as lofts, home offices and multi-car garages.
As far as transportation goes, Richmond is well situated, Butt added. In addition to the Richmond BART Station, nearby El Cerrito has two stops within walking distance. A Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) ferry terminal in Richmond is also slated to be fully operational in 2018, with a route directly to San Francisco.