A 289-unit, mixed-use project near Civic Center and the Richmond BART station received a unanimous nod from the Richmond City Council Tuesday despite concerns from some neighbors.
The project on Nevin Avenue between 21st and 23rd streets includes two six-story buildings with ground-floor retail along with 112 studio apartments, 84 one-bedroom units, 53 two-bedroom, 30 three-bedroom and 10 four-bedroom units. The image above, provided by the city, depicts what one of the planned buildings will look like.
City leaders say the transit-centric development is exactly what the city needs. An influx of new rental units will help address rising rents in the city by adding housing supply, they said, and the project’s central location will encourage residents to walk and use transit.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, however, two speakers spoke out against the project and claimed other neighbors shared their concerns. They believe the project will attract “unstable” low-income families into a neighborhood already plagued by crime. Neighbor Chung Yeung Yiu, who appealed the project, also says 194 parking spaces designated for the project are insufficient.
Council, however, rejected Yiu’s appeal and unanimously supported the Richmond Planning Commission’s approval of the development.
Rather than increasing crime, city staff says the project will “revitalize two blighted parcels in a neighborhood that has experienced substantial disinvestment.” New residents will not only increase eyes on the street, they will help support and promote economic activity downtown, staff added.
Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin took issue with the assumption that affordable rental units meant “unstable” residents would move in.
“This is workforce housing,” McLaughlin said. “These are teachers, firemen…these are people that are going to be working and people who will add to the neighborhood, revitalize the neighborhood.”
Additional parking spaces are not needed, staff says, as folks moving into the development will do so in order to benefit from its close proximity to public transportation.
The project will also benefit from a revitalized Nevin Avenue. In April, City Council approved major street enhancements favoring pedestrians and bicyclists along Nevin Avenue between 19th and 27th streets.