BCN — Funding from a Chinese real estate developer and investor will finally kickstart a long-stalled $1.5 billion development project on a 65-acre waterfront property south of Jack London Square in Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan said Wednesday.
The Signature Development Group, which is based in Oakland, obtained development rights to the former industrial site in 2001 and the Oakland City Council approved the development in 2006 despite opposition from community and environmental groups.
But the project stalled after several groups filed lawsuits seeking to stop it and the subsequent collapse of the housing market.
Quan said she believes the project will be an economic boon to Oakland because it ultimately will create 3,100 residential units, about 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and a marina with up to 200 boat slips.
Quan said it's estimated that 10,000 jobs will be created during the lengthy construction process and she said the project also calls for more than 30 acres to be set aside for waterfront parks and open space.
"We're starting to see more aggressive investments in the U.S. by the Chinese and we're hoping we'll have more Chinese investments in Oakland in the future," Quan said.
Quan, who is Chinese-American and is the first Asian-American mayor of a major American city, said she has been working to develop contacts with Chinese investors and was able to introduce the Signature Development Group to Zarsion Holdings Group, which is based in Beijing.
"To get investors from China you need to develop relationships," Quan said.
Gov. Jerry Brown, who backed the project when he was Oakland's mayor, announced the agreement at a ceremony in Beijing Wednesday with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and high-ranking Chinese government and business officials.
"This massive influx of Chinese investment will put thousands of Californians to work and dramatically improve Oakland's waterfront," Brown said in a statement released by his office.
He said, "This project is just one example of what's possible when business leaders in two of the world's most dynamic regions connect."