The new owners of the Claremont Hotel, financier Richard Blum and the Fairmont hotel chain, which is now part of Paris-based Accor Hotels, have revised their plans – but their project remains significant in scope and impact. Plans would still include a five-story condominium complex next to the hotel, extending to the Tunnel Road entrance, and expansion of the Club’s facilities and membership.
Claremont Hotel Expansion: Community Awaits Environmental Impact Report
By David Kessler and Janet White
Oakland’s Planning Bureau posted revisions on December 9, 2016, at http://tinyurl.com/oak059503. Revised plans eliminate the event lawn, stadium seating for tennis courts, and raised tennis courts over parking. They now call for a new 6,000 square-foot clubhouse expansion. As before, the condominium complex would have two levels of underground parking; there would be an additional swimming pool, and 250 more club memberships. Since family memberships are common, actual club members would increase by a multiple of 250. Currently, the City of Oakland is preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). When it is complete, the public will have 45 days to submit comments. The City of Oakland expects to issue the DEIR early in Spring 2017, after design review.
Last summer, Oakland’s Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board and Planning Commission held hearings on the project, meetings widely attended by both Oakland and Berkeley residents. The City of Oakland received comments expressing concern. Residents cited impacts on traffic, air pollution, noise and emergency access, as well as the need to preserve the integrity of the hotel, a state historical landmark, and its grounds. Other concerns are related to seismic and hydrologic issues; construction is planned near or above the Hayward fault. A group of neighbors from both Oakland and Berkeley is actively opposing the development. For information, please see www.saveourclaremont.org.
In light of adding 250 Claremont Club memberships, and anticipated increases in hotel guests, the owners plan to increase hotel and club parking spaces by 43. They will provide 66 spaces for the residents of 43-44 units, including 43 condominiums and one new house to be built on Tunnel Road. City staff anticipate public hearings with the Design Review Committee and Landmarks Board at the end of the first quarter of 2017, followed by the Draft EIR and further hearings. Here is the link to Oakland’s notice sent last summer to Oakland and Berkeley residents and government officials inviting comment and describing the project: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/agenda/oak060097.pdf