By Julian J. Ramos
From a few acres to a couple hundred acres, proposed residential projects are seeking to transform Newark.
At ultimate buildout over 20 to 30 years, projects under construction and those in the planning pipeline could swell the city’s population to 60,000 from 45,000, Newark Assistant City Manager Terrence Grindall said.
During the latest recession, city leaders took the opportunity to look at planning for the city, Grindall said. The process of laying out the groundwork included updates to the municipal general plan, housing element and creation of specific plans.
“We’re seeing the fruits of our labor coming to fruition,” he said.
Residential construction is “much more active” than it was five to 10 years ago, according to Grindall. The city added no new subdivisions in that time period and home construction was only a few units at a time.
“It’s very much hotter than it has been,” Grindall said.
At the moment there are 1,000 units in construction with 1,000 moving through the planning process, he added.
Key to the city’s future is the Dumbarton Transit-Oriented Development, a proposed new neighborhood calling for 2,100 homes, retail and businesses in western Newark. It is to be located next to a proposed commuter rail station near the corner of Willow Street and Enterprise Drive.
A specific plan, which is the ordinance regulating the project, for the site envisions a pedestrian friendly town where walking and biking have replaced autos for access to shopping and recreation. Toxic cleanup of the site is needed before any development.
Development of the 223 acres includes housing, shops, parks and open space, including a bayside trail, and opportunities for employment.
Under the proposal, higher density residential development, such as condominiums, would be located within a quarter-mile radius of the transit station, medium residential development, such as townhomes, to be located slightly farther, and single-family residences are to be located farthest from the station.
Blocks are to be generally short and pedestrian-oriented to offer walkers several different ways to walk through the neighborhood.
Primary traffic circulation would be on a network of streets, mostly one lane in each direction with bike lanes and parking on both sides of the roadway.
There would be landscaped medians. Traffic control through the use of single-lane roundabouts to slow traffic with efficient circulation of cars, bikes and pedestrians.
Near the transit station at the Willow Street and Enterprise Drive, retail stores and shops are to be centered. Higher density housing would be next to the retail area and the transit station.
Included are neighborhood parks inside the residential areas and a larger community park.
The Dumbarton TOD Specific Plan is in the vicinity of the Union Pacific Railroad corridor, which is also in the future Dumbarton Rail Corridor.
According to city officials, the Dumbarton TOD Specific Plan has “the potential to provide retail opportunities to existing and future residents; to reduce green house gas emissions, to help in meeting state regional and state housing requirements; to increase transit ridership; and to improve recreational facilities and linkages.”
The project and amenities are to be developed by private development at no cost to the city and revenues are expected to be equal or greater than the cost of providing services, they said.
Preliminary work is underway in the Dumbarton TOD on the 553-residential unit Torian project, a 42.22-acre site on the west side of Willow Street at the end of Central Avenue.
Also planned in the TOD are 88 townhomes, 74 senior apartments and a grocery store at Willow Street and Enterprise Drive. It is known as the SHH site.
A Trumark Homes project proposal in the specific plan area calls for 244 residential units on about 25 acres. In May, Trumark broke ground on a 164-unit residential project on nearly 12 acres — the first new development in Newark in more than a decade.
A mix of single- and multi-family homes, there will be 84 three-story detached single-family homes, an average of 2,200 square feet, and 80 two- and three-story attached townhomes with six floor plans from 1,573 square feet to 2,379 square feet.
A former RV storage parking lot is at Timber Street and Cedar Boulevard.
Other projects include:
GATEWAY STATION WEST
Southwest of Highway 84 and Thornton Avenue, the 54.5-acre site is bounded by Hickory Street to the east and solar salt production basins on the west. There is vacant industrial land on the north and vacant underdeveloped land on the south. Enterprise Drive, formerly Wells Avenue, ends near the northeast corner of the property.
A former FMC Corp. facility is to the north along with an existing Union Pacific Railroad corridor, to the east is a former Ashland Chemical Co. and Torian facility, to the south is the Plummer Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank, and to the west are the Cargill bittern ponds.
The project site is located in a former industrial area with open space and residential uses in the vicinity. Proposed are 669 single- and multi-family residential units on 41 acres.
Up to 282 residential units are proposed at the northwest corner of Mowry Avenue and Interstate 880. The 19.43-acre site includes a vacant Mervyns store, a Motel 6, a commercial parking lot and a vacant parcel.
Proposed are 147 attached townhouses, 93 attached condominium units and 42 detached dwellings.
The detached dwellings would range from 1,618 square feet to 2,317 square feet in a mix of two to three stories with attached garages.
Proposed townhomes would be three stories ranging from 1,232 square feet to 2,135 square feet with a two-car garage. Condominium buildings would be four stories ranging from 1,296 square feet to 1,630 square feet with a two-car tandem garage.
Newark City Council members are expected to consider the project in October.
The 10.1-acre site at 36120 Ruschin Drive, on the former Ruschin School site, is surrounded by single-family residential uses along Sandalwood Street to the north, McDonald Avenue to the west, Fernwood Drive to the east and Ruschin Drive to the south.
Plans include demolition of the former elementary school and the construction of 85 single-family homes ranging from 1,793 square feet to 2,322 square feet. Density is 8.4 units per acre. Floor plans include three or four bedrooms with a two-car garage.
Construction could begin in March 2015.
Located at 38517 Birch St. on the west side of I-880, north of Mowry Avenue, the 2-acre property is developed with a church, associated church buildings, a paved parking lot and landscaping.
On the west side of Birch Street north of Moores Avenue, the site is surrounded by a mix of detached and attached residences on all sides.
Plans include demolition of the church and other structures to build up to 15 detached two-story homes ranging from 1,900 square feet to 2,500 square feet with an attached two-car garage.
Located on the west side of I-880, north of Stevenson Boulevard, the vacant 4.3-acre site is at the northeast corner of Cedar Boulevard and Mowry School Road. Site addresses are 39850 and 39888 Cedar Blvd.
A previously proposed mixed-use project on the site, “The Atrium” had plans for two multi-story buildings totaling 70,190 square feet of building area. Approved by the Newark City Council in 2007, the project was not built and the proposed Cedar Townhomes development is its replacement.
The project calls for 85 attached townhome-style condominium dwellings with three- and four-story buildings with five floor plans. Floor plans begin at 1,486 square feet and go up to 2,114 square feet. All have two-car garages, either tandem or side by side.