Plans to redevelop a vacant lot at 5100 Telegraph Avenue are underway, again, as local development firm Nautilus Group aims to build a mixed-use housing and retail site. Nautilus President Randy Miller said he plans to break ground in fall 2015.

“The 51st and Telegraph project is for us in the very early stages.  We have not finalized a building program.  However, I can say that vision for the project is a mix of housing and neighborhood-oriented retail,” Miller wrote in an email exchange.

The San Francisco Business Times reported Nautilus spent  $18 million to buy three entitled sites totaling 261 units and more than 14,000 square of retail in Temescal and Berkeley. One vacant site on the northeast corner of Telegraph and 51st Street regularly hosts Christmas tree lots and a pumpkin patch.

While Nautilus hasn’t officially submitted plans to the city, City Planner Darin Ranelletti said the firm bought sites at 5100, 5110 and 5132 Telegraph Avenue and is bundling several previously approved projects together. Previously dubbed Civiq, the 5100/5110 site was approved for 67 units and 2,990 square feet of commercial space; the 5132 Telegraph site was owned by a different developer and called for 102 residential units and 5,893 square feet of retail.

Tentative plans also include a connection through the site to Frog Park from Telegraph Avenue, as well as a commercial urban farm on the roof. The inclusion of the latter will depend on the success of a rooftop farm at another Nautilis site at 2201 Dwight St. in Berkeley.

“Nautilis Group is assessing the approvals and deciding what they want to do for each site, then making submittals to the city,” Ranelletti said, adding that the firm owns approximately six other properties in the neighborhood.

Miller did not give specifics on the number of housing units in Nautilis’ plans, but estimated rents would range from $800/moth for a studio unit to $3,000/moth for a 3-4 bedroom townhouse style unit. While the city of Oakland does not require affordable housing allocations for privately developed properties, Miller said Nautilis is “exploring the potential for a below market rate housing component to the project.”

The company surveyed 204 Temescal residents on what retail establishments they would like to see in the 5100 Telegraph space, as well as the neighborhood’s biggest issues. Survey respondents requested a grocery store, more restaurants and coffee shops, nightlife, and a drugstore, among other things, within walking distance from their homes. Residents would also like to see “cleaner streets and street lights, more parking, more street life and community events, more housing and more retail.”

City Councilman Dan Kalb, whose district includes Temescal, met with Miller last week to discuss the project. Kalb did not return calls for comment.

“Our next step in the development process will be hosting a series of community meetings with our design architect and various community stakeholders to develop the design of the project,” Miller wrote. “We’ve also been going through a design architect selection process.”

Nautilis will not have to present its plans to the city’s Planning Commission if its proposal is consistent with what was previously approved under the sites’ old owners, Ranelletti said. In that case, the city will decide the approval process. If the development plan differs significantly, the plan will be required to go before the Commission.

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10 Responses

  1. Tim

    “Survey respondents requested . . . a drugstore”

    Do residents there know there’s a Walgreens directly across the intersection?

  2. Jessica Lipsky

    Agreed, that was a strange response. There’s also a great (though expensive) grocery across the street that sells lots of veggies, and a Safeway up the street. Perhaps residents want more options within walking distance, on Telegraph specifically.

  3. Malcolm Kettering

    I think a great addition to the neighborhood would be a Market Hall-type of entity in the old paint store location. But it doesn’t have to be as over-priced and snooty as MH, just something with stalls for different types of food from local outlets and sources. Seems like that idea would totally fly with this neighborhood.

  4. Mike Irish

    That site would be perfect for an adult theater.

    Or maybe a condo complex that they can paint gray and drab earth tones to match all the other condos built recently and then on the ground floor they can put in a restaurant that makes grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with sweet potato fries that will have a wait of over an hour on the weekends and lots of places to park strollers and hang black leather jackets.

  5. clara

    Oakland does not require an affordable housing component in privately developed housing!?! Well, that would be something to change. And no buy outs like sf allows developers, put the units in the building.

  6. Anna Kingsley

    I always wished that spot could be a park. Could be nicely fenced in to keep little ones from running into traffic. It would also help turn a car clogged intersection into something much more neighborly.
    We need to build with a focus on encouraging walkability.

  7. Tim

    “Oakland does not require an affordable housing component in privately developed housing!?! Well, that would be something to change. And no buy outs like sf allows developers, put the units in the building.”

    Against state law as far as I know. God knows this city would have required it if allowed. We already have next to zero market rate housing construction; that number would somehow be closer to zero if developers were required to set aside x units for below market.

  8. James Miller

    Tim’s right; housing construction is near zero. Can we just frikkin’ allow some stuff to be built around here relatively easily for a little while, without our taxdollars supporting it? You know, if some kind of disaster befalls the city because vacant lots are being turned into housing and people are investing millions of dollars in our communities, we can, y’know, change the rules and make it impossible again.

    If you dont want development and investment in our community, this is your Golden Age!! See how fantastic everything is when there are no Evil Developers trying to make anything happen? There’s no gentrification to worry about and everyone can find an affordable place to live because nobody is profiteering off our communities!

    Oops, wait a sec…

  9. Randy Miller

    Great idea Malcolm! This is one of the retail options we are considering for Telegraph and we think it would be great for the neighborhood.

  10. AYA

    I would like to see more greenery on the street level incorporated into the design. It would be great to have a garden, beautifully planted and with public non commercial space for people of all ages to sit and interact. (I actually welcome the xmas season so at least we have a temporary xmas tree forest). Italy has piazzas, Mexico has Zocalos, Paris has hundreds of tiny parks and it makes these cities livable and inspiring.


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