City to purchase CCA student dorm for affordable housing

Will focus on family transitional housing and housing for extremely low income elderly
Saturday, August 22, 2020

On Thursday, August 20, 2020, the City of Oakland announced it had reached tentative agreement with the California College of Arts to purchase the Clifton Hall dormitory on the school's Oakland campus.  The dormitory, built in 2005 and the recipient of an architectural award that year, was put up for sale in connection with CCA's moving its campus to San Francisco.

Initially, the dormitory building was part of a redevelopment package for the entire CCA Oakland campus, including a 19-story market-rate housing building.  When the development team decided to downsize the development, their option to include the dormitory expired. It was dropped from that project and put on the market for separate sale.

Council member Dan Kalb had pushed to have the dormitory used as affordable housing. He apparently succeeded in convincing the City to put forward a serious offer for its purchase; an offer that CCA has accepted.  Funding for the purchase and reuse of the building will come from a variety of sources, including the City's own affordable housing funds as well as state funding to provide housing assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The City has also applied to the state for funding under the state's new "HomeKey" funding program for innovative public affordable housing projects.  The purchase price will be $13 million - expensive, but still below the building's appraised value.

The 45,000 sq.ft. building will include a total of approximately sixty units.  The first floor will be devoted to transitional housing, including supportive services, for 12-15 previously-homeless families.  The two upper floors will be used for extremely low income housing for elderly individuals or couples in what had been dormitory rooms. It is expected that there will be shared bathroom facilities for those rooms - as was the case when it was student housing.  There likely will also be shared dining facilities.  Details of services to be provided, which will almost certainly need to include coronavirus-related services such as testing and treatment, are still being worked out.

Council Member Kalb said he was thrilled at the City's being able to provide the much-needed housing, which should help reduce Oakland's highly vulnerable homeless population during the pandemic.

Council Member Kalb will be conducting a public informational session via Zoom on Monday, August 24th starting at 6:30 PM.  Contact Deidra Moss (dmoss@oaklandca.gov) to RSVP.  The City Council will vote on the deal at a special meeting next Friday morning (August 28th).