Development Activities FAQ
Where is the site?
The site is located at 1919 Market Street, bordered by 18th, 19th and Myrtle Streets in West Oakland.
What is the site history?
The site, which has a 63,000 square foot partially demolished warehouse, operated as a Greyhound bus fueling station, repair facility and auto paint shop from 1951 to 1960. Since 1960, the site was used as a warehouse for various commercial uses, including plumbing and mechanical contracting. As part of the historic industrial operations, the site had two underground storage tanks. Since 2001, the warehouse consisted of 37 live-work units.
Who owns the site?
The site is owned by the 1919 Crew, LLC (1919 Crew). 1919 Crew has a voluntary cleanup agreement with the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health (County) to investigate and remediate the site in preparation for future site redevelopment. All environmental work is overseen and approved by the County and is coordinated with the City of Oakland.
What are the plans for the site? Number of units, parking, number of tenants?
1919 Crew is working to redevelop the site into 63 low-cost live-work residential units. Tenants will also have access to three common spaces and shared amenities outside of their individual units. In addition, the redevelopment will have 63 parking spaces for tenants and will include a first-floor commercial space.
Will displaced tenants be allowed to return?
Construction of the building is not expected to be finished until 2018. The 1919 Crew will work on a case-by-case basis with tenants that were displaced when the City of Oakland red-tagged the building and is evaluating options for to re-house tenants.
When is construction anticipated and when will it be finished?
We are working with the City of Oakland on approvals so that we can complete demolition and begin construction on the new building. Schedule of start depends on future environmental testing and end date is anticipated 2018.
Parking is tight here – what are the parking requirements?
In order to not affect area parking, each tenant will have access to one parking space. Additionally, the type of individuals that are attracted to living spaces such as this proposed development, often use public transit, carpools, and bicycles.
We can’t have any more traffic – will you conduct a traffic demand study?
While we do not believe the additional tenants and/or commercial space will cause a noticeable increase in traffic; however, we will conduct a traffic demand study if requested by the City of Oakland.
Will there be retail at the site?
Yes,we will also create one new commercial space to serve the surrounding neighborhood.
Will you hire locally?
Yes, we already have plans in-place to hire a local crew from the neighboring church, Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church, to maintain the site while we work on environmental investigation and cleanup activities. They will make sure the site remains clean and doesn’t become a nuisance to the community.
During building redevelopment, we will work with the West Oakland Jobs Center to fill some positions locally and will use locally-sourced materials.
Are there any community benefits associated with this project?
We are committed to working with the community to redevelop the site in a way that fits in with the neighborhood. Benefits of the project include:
63 units ranging from studios to three-bedroom spaces
Three common living spaces to promote a sense of friendship and community
A commercial space to serve the local neighborhood
63 off-street parking spaces for tenants
New outdoor landscaping to add vitality and greenery to the area
The project will be designed in a manner that complements the existing area and adheres to applicable city requirements.
How much of the new development will include below market-rate housing?
The proposed development will not include new below market-rate housing; however, we will create 63 units (32 additional units than previously at the site), which we can provide at an affordable rate to interested tenants by including common living spaces.
Who will manage the building?
1919 crew intends to hold the building for the long term and will either hire a reputable local company to manage or manage itself.
How will you continue to communicate with us?
We will issue work notices at project milestones and have set up a website with information: Web address. tbd . We will post all updates on websites and have a contact form where people can leave messages and we will get back to them within 72 hours.
What agency is in charge?
Alameda County Department of Environmental Health (County) provides oversight and approval for all environmental issues and the City of Oakland provides oversight for the planning and building of the future development.
Which site activities does the County regulate?
The County oversees all environmental investigation and cleanup work needed to support future residential development of the site.
What agreement and/or permit has the County issued? How do they provide oversight?
The site was originally opened as a low-threat underground storage tank (LUST) case with the County in the early 1990s. As a result of cleanup actions conducted by the owner at that time, the County closed the site in 1999 under a “No Further Action” letter, which stated that additional cleanup work may be needed should the site be redeveloped.
Since the 1919 Crew is in the process of redeveloping the site, we are working the County to characterize the extent of site impacts and prepare remediation and mitigation plans in conjunction with the future development. All work plans will be reviewed and approved by the County prior to implementation. All environmental work will occur with County oversight and an environmental site manager will be present during this work.
Which site activities does the City of Oakland (City) regulate?
The City will approve plans related to the proposed site redevelopment. The City will also oversee, in coordination with the County, the proper management of site soil and waste generated during site grading and sub-grade construction work as part of site development activities.
What permits has the City issued? How do they provide oversight?
The City oversees all work related to building codes and redevelopment of the property. To date, we have received a construction permit and J permit from the City authorizing the removal of hazardous materials from the former building and its partial demolition in preparation for redevelopment of the site. We are working with the City to receive approval on the new building design and construction. Attached are our current permits in place:
Hard Demolition Permit:
In coordination with the County, site grading and subgrade construction work will be conducted under a Site Management Plan (SMP) to help ensure soil and waste generated during these activities are properly handled. The SMP will include procedures for dust control, perimeter air monitoring, soil screening and waste profiling and management. It also establishes a site environmental manager and agency notification procedures. These measures will minimize dust generation and ensure VOC emissions do not exceed conservative thresholds established by regulatory agencies.
How can we make sure that this work is done in a manner that is fully protective of the community and that we are aware of site activities?
We believe communication is a key component and admittedly started this project without proper communication to the community. Moving forward, we will issue work notices when work starts and make sure our neighbors understand the work taking place.
Additionally, we will have plans in-place to mitigate dust, noise and vibrations and these plans will be approved by the City and County.
How will the County, City and Air District communicate with area residents?
The County will continue to hold public meetings and mail project fact sheets to nearby community members. You may also contact the County Case Manager, Kit Soo, at (510) 567-6791 or for more information.
The City will make information on the project available online at the City’s website www2.oaklandnet.com and hold community meetings as warranted. Should you have additional questions, please contact Richard Fielding, the City’s Principal Inspection Supervisor in the Building Services Department, at (510) 238-6202 or .
Should an Air District permit be required, the Air District will assign a case manager and hold a public comment period prior to approving the permit. A public notice announcing the comment period would be distributed to nearby community members and any schools within 1,000 feet of the site. Should you want information about the site visit the district conducted during the hazardous material abatement work, please contact Divinia Lee, Air District Air Quality Inspector II, at (415) 749-5847 or .
It seems as if someone dropped the ball – which agency messed up?
We apologize that you feel this way and moving forward we will improve our communications so you are aware of our enforcement role and any upcoming work. Should you want more information on the project, please contact the following agency contacts:
Kit Soo, Alameda County Environmental Health Case Manager, (510) 567-6791 or
Richard Fielding, City of Oakland Principal Inspection Supervisor, Building Services Department, (510) 238-6202 or
Divinia Lee, Air District Air Quality Inspector II, (415) 749-5847 or
Was there asbestos or lead at the site? How were these handled? Why didn’t we know about them?
Yes, asbestos and lead were found in the paint and building materials as a result of a thorough hazardous materials assessment conducted in accordance with California state laws. This is common for all buildings built prior to 1980. We apologize for not notifying our neighbors earlier of these impacts, but lead and asbestos were safely removed by a licensed environmental contractor prior to building demolition work. As required by law, an asbestos report was sent to the State Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirming the presence of asbestos and its safe removal.
Were we exposed to asbestos or lead when this material was removed? How can you be sure we were not exposed?
No, you were not exposed to asbestos or lead during removal activities. Building materials containing lead and/or asbestos were safely removed by a certified abatement firm in August/September 2016 prior to building removal activities which began that October. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District was notified of this work, as required.
Why wasn’t dust controlled during demolition activities?
We apologize for any dust impacts that occurred during fall 2016 demolition activities. Prior to demolition, we safely removed all asbestos and lead impacts and, as such, any dust you experienced would not be harmful.
Additional dust mitigation measures, as required by the County, will be incorporated for any demolition work that requires disturbing below ground surface soil, such as sub-slab work. These measures include using water to keep down dust, perimeter air monitoring, soil screening and waste profiling and management.
Who is responsible for issuing demolition permits? What does the demolition permit allow? Was removal of the slab in the demolition permit?
The City of Oakland is responsible for issuing demolition permits. In May 2016, the City approved a “non-residential building – addition” permit that allowed for the demolition of portions of the building as part of the redevelopment of the site into 63 live-work lofts. This work included the soft demolition of the interior features of the building, and the demolition of exterior features of the building upon completion of hazardous materials abatement work. This permit also did cover removal of the building slab.
How much of the building has been demolished?
To date, 60% of the building has been removed, and 40% (including main exterior frontages) are remaining.
Who authorized demolition of the interior of the building? The exterior? The slab?
The City of Oakland authorized, soft-demolition of all interior spaces and non-bearing construction, as well as slab excavation and exterior modifications per the approved structural and architectural drawings. The remaining slab could not be reused and had to be removed per direction from the contractor, geotech and engineer, due to it’s cracking and crumbling throughout the work. An additional hard demolition permit was issued to cover all scope not previously anticipated in the original permit.
Did the City know that the slab was going to be removed - was the slab removed illegally?
About 60 percent of the slab was removed during demolition activities because it was crumbling in place and could not withstand the construction equipment. We did not notify the City or County of this change, at the time, and worked with them to rectify this with an additional hard demolition permit for the previously not-anticipated slab work.
Did the City provide oversight of these activities? We're there site inspections? If not, why not?
The city had not provided or required site inspections during demolition.
There was a lot of dust during demolition – were we exposed to anything?
All demolition was disposed of properly by licensed contractors. All lead found was left 100% intact, and all Asbestos was abated properly by a licensed hazardous contractor. In addition, any VOC impacts in soil vapor that could have escaped would have dissipated naturally and safely into the open air.
How can we make sure this won’t happen again and appropriate controls are in place to manage dust and other impacts?
1919 Crew is working closely with the County and City to ensure the appropriate controls are in place to manage dust and additional impacts. A soil management plan is being prepared that outlines how we will safely implement dust control and air monitoring measures. Additionally, we will provide advance notice of all site activities so the community understands and is aware of any work.
What is the process to take down the building? Is anymore of the building going to be removed?
At this point, we have removed a majority of the building and the demolition process is almost complete. The remaining façades will be incorporated into the redeveloped building. Prior to conducting demolition work, an environmental site assessment was conducted that confirmed the presence of hazardous materials (asbestos and lead-based paint) and permits were secured with the City of Oakland. Demolition of interior furniture and unit framing was completed in July 2016, hazardous abatement work occurred in August through October 2016, and the rest of the building demolition was majority completed by November 2016.
Why weren’t we notified of this work? How will you make sure that we know what is going on moving forward?
We apologize for not notifying you in advance of building demolition activities. We have hired a local communications firm and are working closely with City and County staff to ensure future notification goes smoothly. As part of our outreach plan, we will provide project briefings to:
Area council member Lynette McElhaney;
Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church; and
Area residents and businesses
A fact sheet will also be provided that includes contact information should community members have further questions. Based on community input, we also may create a project website, send regular email updates and/or place site signage with a project hotline number for interested community members.
There was dust all over my home and it came into my house. Was I exposed to anything? Was my family or pets exposed?
No, we do not believe you, your family or pets were exposed to harmful contaminants from dust impacts as a result of demolition efforts. A licensed contractor safely removed all lead and asbestos impacts prior to demolition. In addition, any VOC impacts in soil vapor that could have escaped would have dissipated naturally and safely into the open air.
My asthma was aggravated by all the dust – will you pay my medical bills?
We apologize for the inconvenience. Out of respect for people’s privacy, we will meet with you individually to discuss any health claims potentially related to our work.
Will you test my building? Will you test the soil for asbestos?
Based on the environmental data collected to date, we will be sampling soil on select off-site properties where there is a possibility for soil vapor impacts. Given that VOC chemicals are commonly found in buildings due to a prevalence of use in everyday products, we are using the data we have already collected at the site to determine where best to conduct further sampling.
We do not believe asbestos would have left the site as a result of dust impacts from demolition activities. However, we are happy to address your concerns on an individual basis.
I have felt sick since this occurred, will you pay for me to see a doctor or my medical bills?
We are sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well. Out of respect for your privacy, we will address any health concerns on an individual basis.
We don’t believe you - will you pay for a third-party to review your work?
1919 Crew is open for a third-party to review
This is another example of treating a community of color unfairly. Would you do this in Piedmont?
While we respect that you feel this way we do not believe we are treating the local community unfairly however we failed at our initial attempts at communications. We will redouble our efforts to make sure you know what is going on, when it is happening, and why.
We are working to take an uninhabitable building and provide additional housing units at a low-cost rate during a time when there is a shortage of housing in the Bay Area. We also recognize that the arts are a huge part of the fabric of Oakland and we will work to incorporate that legacy into this building with community input.
Would you live here?
We get asked this question and it is a hard one to answer because where people live is based on a variety of issues. What I really think you are asking is: Would I be comfortable living here, or having my family live here, without their health being impacted, and the answer is yes. This yes is based on the best science and environmental data gathered to date that confirms asbestos and lead impacts were handled property and that any VOC impacts would not have impacted the health of previous tenants.
Will you compensate me for a decrease in my property value?
We do not believe the project will cause a decrease in your property values as we are adding much needed housing to the area and improving the site with new, safe building materials and attractive landscaping. That being said, we are happy to address any concerns property owners may have on an individual basis.
Will you compensate me for inconvenience/medical costs/etc?
We will address any concerns or claims on an individual basis.
We don’t believe you – we expect compensation.
We are sorry to hear that you feel that way. We prefer to address any compensation claims on a case-by-case basis.
We need to know what is going on and when. How will you let us know what is planned for the site and notify us of potential construction impacts?
We are developing a plan for communication including a website, mailing list, and a bulletin board onsite.
Did you kick all the tenants out? How many people lost their housing?
The 1919 Crew was required by the City to ask that all tenants leave their units when the City determined the building was unsafe for habitation as a result of an inspection in October 2015. While we regret that we were unable to allow tenants to remain in our building, we worked closely with tenants to provide them with relocation assistance as required by law, including move out packages. We are willing to offer to allow displaced tenants the option to move back into the new building on a case-by-case basis.
Did you pay displaced tenants relocation costs? How much did you pay?
Yes, as required by the City of Oakland, all tenants were offered relocation assistance on a case-by-case basis. Relocation costs or a tenant buyout were covered at various rates and all tenants were also provided with 1-5 months worth of free rent varying by unit. In total, we spent over $487,000 on relocation costs and an additional $662,000 on removal of illegal tenant construction.
Were tenants evicted illegally?
The city red tagged the building,1919 Crew followed all state laws including offering relocations packages at higher than the required amounts.
We were able to successfully offer relocation packages to 34 out of 36 units (2 units did not accept)
Will you allow displaced tenants/artists to have priority to return to live here? Will they be allowed to pay the same rent they were paying?
Yes, displaced tenants will have priority to return to live here once the site has been redeveloped. Given the improvements we are making to the site, we may not be able to honor their original rent, but will provide a range of low-cost, affordable options.
Can all displaced tenants come back?
No, displaced tenants will be offered the option to return to the building on a case-by-case basis once the new building is ready for occupancy.
The arts are important to Oakland - will there be space for displaced artists?
The site is being redeveloped to provide a communal living space that allows us to provide low-cost rents that are more affordable than traditional market rate housing. We create unique communities based off of tenants’ interests and will work with the community to honor the artistic legacy of this building.
We need below market rate housing - will there be below market rate housing provided?
While we are not planning on providing below market rate housing we are planning working with former residents.
Right after you bought the building it seems that the artists were kicked out. Did you kick them out?
Unfortunately, the City of Oakland determined the space to be unfit for habitation and red tagged the building in early 2016 requiring all current tenants to vacate the premises. We had been working behind the scenes with the City of Oakland in an attempt to prevent this from occurring, but were unable to implement the extensive renovations in a manner and timeframe that allowed residents to remain in the building.
Was the building really red-tagged and if so, by which entity?
Yes, the building was red-tagged by the City of Oakland Building Services Department in November 2015 as unsafe for occupancy. We worked with the City to push the deadline to vacate the property to January 31, 2016 and informed the tenants of this development. Tenants were required to leave the property by that date and were not allowed to re-inhabit the building unless written approval was received by the City of Oakland, Inspections Services Unit.
We worked closely with tenants to provide them with relocation assistance as required by law, including move out packages. We also offered to allow displaced tenants the option to move back into the new building on a case-by-case basis.
The property is derelict – will you clean it up and keep it cleaned up until it is redeveloped?
Yes, we are hiring a local crew from the neighboring church, Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church, to clean up the site, dispose of trash, cover graffiti and, most importantly, regularly check on the site so that it doesn’t become a nuisance to the community.
I don’t think the building was unsafe and I lived there. I think you kicked us out so you could make money.
We are sorry to hear you feel that way, but we can assure you we were trying to work with the City of Oakland to make the necessary repairs to the building while allowing current tenants to continue to reside there. Unfortunately, the City felt the building was unsafe for habitation and red tagged the structure in early 2016.
I don’t believe you. Who do I call to lodge a complaint?
Alameda County and the City of Oakland both oversee aspects of this project. If you have concerns related to environmental issues at the site, please contact Kit Soo, Alameda County Environmental Health Case Manager at (510) 567-6791 or . If you have concerns related to the building demolition or future development, please contact Richard Fielding, City of Oakland Principal Inspection Supervisor Building Services Department, (510) 238-6202 or .
We don’t want this development in our neighborhood – who can I complain to?
We are sorry to hear you feel this way and would appreciate knowing what we can do to make this development a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. The City also oversees all new developments and as such you may also contact Richard Fielding, City of Oakland Principal Inspection Supervisor Building Services Department, (510) 238-6202 or .