SRM Ernst selected to develop Sherwin Site

2 mins read

Park Avenue District residents, consider now “the calm before the storm”. We’ve endured the demolition of the Sherwin-Williams plant and the subsequent three plus year remediation as well as the never-ending Park Ave Beautification project. Get ready for two more years of disruption (We can handle anything at this point, right?) It was announced at the last Park Avenue District Committee meeting that Oakland based SRM Ernst was chosen from among a field of  six well known suitors (including the likes of Pulte & Archstone) to develop the 8 1/2 acre lot. SRM originally filed the Planned Unit Development (PUD) back in 2004 with designs prepared by Roma Design Group but they were withdrawn in 2005 by Sherwin citing that they wanted to focus on the completion of the remediation. Since then, edits to the city General Plan have been made that had implications on the development of the site. The Sherwin plant ceased operations back in 2006 and was recently given a “No further Action” approval letter by the DTSC in January. An additional follow-up editorial provided by the DTSC can be read here (PDF).

Most of the site is designated as Mixed Use with about two acres being designated as open space and more than an acre of it expected to be occupied by a new street and section of the Greenway leaving about 5.3 acres for development. The percentage of residential/commercial use is open but early indications are that as much as 90% of it is intended for residential. The maximum allowed residential density allows for 100 units per acre theoretically allowing for up to 530 units (by comparison, the Emeryville Warehouse Lofts are 140 units). The plans are for the units to initially be rentals while the market is assessed to convert them to condominiums.

The good news is that the original general plan allowance of a single tower up to 200 ft. shown in the included slideshow has been revised to a more tolerable height of 75ft (roughly the height of the Emeryville Warehouse Lofts). An elaborate scorecard of “Development Bonuses” allots for various construction additions in exchange for certain community benefits like the addition of public parks, use of alternative energy and family-friendly housing. The entire Planning and Building Department summary prepared by Planning & Building Director Charlie Bryant can be downloaded here. The adjacent lot to the east owned by Chiron still allows for a 200 ft. tower according to the most recent adoption of The General Plan.

The Developing Partnering for SRM will be Thompson Dorfman whom they’ve previously collaborated with on the first phase of the Pixar Campus in addition to an allotment of commercial buildings. No firm timeline has been established but conversations suggested planning, study sessions and community meetings could take up to 18 months before actual construction begins. Construction would last at least two years.

The Development of the Sherwin Property is a big one for the Park Avenue Neighborhood and will have an enormous impact on our quality of life. We all have a vested interest in following this closely to make sure the general plan is adhered to and that the interests of the neighborhood are represented. The Community will have an opportunity to weigh in and this blog promises to keep you posted on any developments we get wind of.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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