Newark Planning Commission OKs amendments opening way for FMC Willow and Grand Park project

(Credit: City of Newark)

Newark is moving forward with transforming a former industrial site into housing, a giant park and a new transit center to the western part of the city near the Dumbarton Bridge.

On Tuesday night, the Newark Planning Commission unanimously approved a series of zoning changes and map amendments intended to move the 22.1 acre FMC Willow and Grand Park project forward, with final approval expected to be granted by the Newark City Council. Commissioner Jeff Aguilar was absent.

“Congratulations,” said Chairman John Becker. “It’s passed the first hurdle.”

The project includes 279 multifamily units, a 6-story mixed-use building with 3,600 square feet of retail space and 91 affordable multifamily units, a 1,485 square foot community building, the 5-acre Grand Park, and 1.8 acres set aside for a future transit station.

The project is located at 8787 Enterprise Drive near the entrance of the Dumbarton Bridge and is essentially a rectangle divided into a north and south portion by the Hetch Hetchy pipeline.

The affordable units are going to be on the north side near the transit station with the park expected on the southern portion with the 279 townhomes.

USA Properties Fund would construct and manage the affordable units, of which 47 would be for those making between 30% to 50% of the area median income, 23 for those making between 50% to 80% of the area median income, and 20 for those making between 80% to 120% of the area median income.

That would break down to between $770 and $1,798 a month for a 1-bedroom unit, between $924 and $2,157 for a 2-bedroom, and between $1,068 and $2,493 for a 3-bedroom.

The city is planning on prioritizing Newark residents for those units, followed by people who work in Newark and Alameda County residents.

Commissioners Debbie Otterstetter and Becker expressed concerns about the reduction in parking. While the project has an area for a transit station, Community Development Director Steve Turner said the Dumbarton Rail project that would connect the East Bay to Redwood City is still 15 to 20 years from becoming a reality.

Vice Chair William Fitts said there is a lot of public transportation that can be tied into the project with some collaboration in the interim.

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