OAKLAND, CA—SunCal, one of the largest real estate development companies in the U.S. that specializes in large-scale, mixed-use master-planned communities, has closed escrow on the purchase of the 167-acre Oak Knoll property in Oakland from the Lehman Brothers estate. The transaction was concluded on Friday for an undisclosed sum.
The parcel in the exclusive Oakland Hills area was the site of the former Oakland Naval Medical Center that SunCal and its former financial partner, Lehman Brothers, had been redeveloping into a master-planned community before Lehman collapsed in 2008 during the global economic crisis. The Naval complex treated thousands of wounded military personnel during World War II and continued serving through the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and peacetime before it closed in 1996.
During its previous involvement with the site that began in 2005, SunCal conducted extensive planning and on-site work. This included community outreach; initiating the entitlement process; clean-up and demolition; and designing a mixed-use community planned to include 960 homes, 82,000 square feet of commercial/retail, and 50 acres of parks and open space.
“We’re excited to resume our involvement with this very special site and we look forward to again working toward making this a new community that all of Oakland can be proud of,” said Frank Faye, SunCal EVP. “This is one of the most significant master-planned community opportunities in the San Francisco Bay area, and it is particularly satisfying to once again be at the helm of Oak Knoll’s development.”
“The City of Oakland is thrilled to have SunCal back on the project,” said Larry Reid, vice mayor, City of Oakland. “They worked well with our City and we know they can deliver a development that will be an asset to my district and all of Oakland.”
Beginning in 2009 while the property was on hold during Lehman’s bankruptcy process, SunCal managed the general cleanup, weed abatement and demolition of numerous buildings throughout the site on behalf of the bankruptcy trustee. The last building to be demolished was the 11-story main hospital building, which was imploded with dynamite in April 2011 before a festive gathering of city officials, area residents, former Navy staff and numerous news outlets.
SunCal acquires, entitles and develops major residential properties and commercial developments. The company creates distinctive master-planned and mixed-use communities that emphasize quality of life, environmental sensitivity and recreational opportunities.
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