By Chris De Benedetti firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWARK — A developer has received the green light to build 244 homes on nearly 25 acres, continuing the likes of a building boom that this small city has not seen in decades.
Council members on Thursday approved two separate developments across the street from each other at Enterprise Drive and Willow Street, in Newark’s so-called Transit-Oriented Development.
Newark, with a population of around 44,000, needs the new housing, said Councilwoman Sucy Collazo.
“We need to grow and do what’s good for the city,” she said.
Trumark Homes, the developer on both projects, now will build 27 single-family homes on 2.14 acres, and another 217 houses on the nearby 21.4-acre site.
However, at least major two obstacles remain. The parcels are filled with toxic soil that must be removed before construction starts. And Trumark must purchase a 2-acre property within the site where Gallade Chemical, a company that supplies chemicals to high-tech businesses, still operates. Once purchased, the Gallade property would be cleaned up and converted into a public park, city leaders said.
Trumark will pay all the costs of buying the sites and building the city park, Newark Assistant City Manager Terrence Grindall said.
“All costs — the legal, environmental and land-acquisition costs — are borne by the developers,” Grindall said.
In the previous 15 years, just four homes were built in Newark, Mayor Alan Nagy said in his April 16 State of the City address. However, the city has a slew of new housing in the works, such as:
•The Prima project, which is building 239 townhomes or condominiums and 42 single-family homes near NewPark Mall.
•A Birch Street development, where 15 houses will be built.
•The former Ruschin Elementary School site, where the construction of 77 single-family homes have been approved.
•The Cedar Lane Project, which will see 86 townhomes built this year at Cedar Boulevard and Mowry School Road.
•Also, council members have approved a plan for 1,200 residences in Areas 3 and 4, a large swath of land west of Cherry Street and between Mowry Avenue and Stevenson Boulevard.
Those are big changes for one of Alameda County’s smallest cities, but Newark leaders say the city will benefit from them. “People are afraid we’ll lose our small-town charm, but I don’t think we will,” Collazo said. “That charm isn’t tied to our size, it’s about how we treat each other. So, I think our small-town spirit will always be here.”