El Cerrito to create more than 700 housing units near BART station
on December 28, 2023
A high-density housing development of more than 700 homes, nearly half of them deemed affordable, is in the works in El Cerrito on land owned by BART.
The city received a $20 million state grant in October to propel the progress it has made on the San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan, which was adopted in 2014 to meet community housing needs.
The plan, updated in 2019, would put houses on land by the El Cerrito Plaza BART station that is now parking lots. It also would include public open space, and community uses like a library.
“The community is very supportive of creating housing for lower-income families who truly need these opportunities,” said Aissia Ashoori, El Cerrito senior program manager.
El Cerrito is the smallest of the six cities to receive support from the California Department of Housing and Community Development to build affordable and climate-friendly housing close to transit.
The BART board selected a team — Holliday Development, Related California and Satellite Affordable Housing Associates — to develop the project.
Under the Transport Oriented Development plan, 31% of the units will be reserved for residents making between 30% and 60% of Contra Costa County median income, which was about $120,000 in 2022.
“This might help promote more equity and integration by putting affordable housing near the BART, and it certainly promotes our climate goals as well,” said Jeffrey Levin, senior policy director at East Bay Housing Organizations.
The state gave El Cerrito a prohousing designation in February because it had demonstrated a commitment to climate-friendly housing for lower-income households. That designation makes the city eligible for funding and resources.
The four-year project will bring 743 residential units, 351 of which will be set at below market rate for Contra Costa County.
“It is really making sure that we are not just building housing but we are building a mix of housing to address all income levels,” Ashoori said.
It is too early to say how these housing units will be laid out, said Matt Lewis, BART property development officer. However, they will be close to transit options, giving residents incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re also really thinking hard about how to make sure that people still have access to the BART station,” he said.
In the upcoming months, the city will work with the development team to leverage funding for the project.
(Top photo: San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan conceptual drawing by Urban Advantage, courtesy of El Cerrito)
Richmond Confidential welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Richmond Confidential assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.
Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.
Please send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.