Oak Knoll Golf Club: 1920s to 1942

Club Knoll (from 1998 EIR)

Club Knoll (from 1998 EIR)

The Oak Knoll golf course was active in the 1920s and 1930s. The golf course featured one distinctive mission-style building, Club Knoll, built in 1924.

Navy Era: 1942 to 2006

The Oak Knoll Naval Hospital center served veterans beginning in the 1940s. Numerous barracks and other buildings were constructed from the 1940s to the 1950s. The main hospital building was completed in 1968.

Oak Knoll circa 1946 (California State Military Museum)

Oak Knoll circa 1946 (California State Military Museum)

Base closure began in the 1990s, during which the public was involved in years of planning meetings to shape future development. Final agreements resulted in $2 million for the Homeless Collaborative, and buildings and acreage for the Seneca Center. The Seawest Credit Union decided to remain at the site and Oakland received 5.5 acres.

The Navy, city of Oakland, and neighbors worked together to develop four reuse plans for the base, as formalized in the 1998 Environmental Impact Report (the “EIS/EIR”). All four plans included large tracts of open space at the ridge/knoll, creek preservation, and retention of Club Knoll (for the EIS/EIR go to Documents page).

Originally Oakland was to buy the site from the Navy and implement the community reuse plan. But the Navy rejected the city’s offer and the property was put up for sale on the open market.

SunCal buys Oak Knoll: 2006

SunCal in partnership with Lehman Brothers purchased 167 acres at Oak Knoll for $100 million. After multiple planning meetings a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report was issued in 2007, but the entitlement process was not completed.  As a result, the plans advocated by SunCal were not finalized.


Oak Knoll in Bankruptcy Court: 2008 to 2014

Oak Knoll landed in bankruptcy court in 2008 due to the financial collapse of SunCal’s partner, Lehman Brothers. SunCal abandoned the property as Oak Knoll became a significant public health and safety hazard. It took the combined efforts of the Oak Knoll Coalition and city and county staff to persuade the judge to release over $4 million to address these problems. In 2011, all the buildings (except Club Knoll) were finally demolished, and security was restored.

Oak Knoll Naval Hospital Implosion 2011 (SFGate)

Oak Knoll Naval Hospital Implosion 2011 (SFGate)

Lehman Brothers and SunCal fought over ownership. The judge eventually awarded the property to Lehman Brothers, but set a deadline for Lehman to sell Oak Knoll in order to satisfy debtors. In 2013, Lehman entered into a new partnership with Signature Homes, but little progress was made.

SunCal buys Oak Knoll for a Second Time: 2014

In May 2014, SunCal purchased Oak Knoll for the second time with a new financial partner.