Naval Hospital Oakland

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Naval Hospital, Oak Knoll circa 1946

Naval Hospital Oakland, also known as Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, was a U.S. naval hospital located in Oakland, California, opened during World War II (1942) and closed in 1996[1] as part of the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure program.[2] The 167-acre (68 ha) site is bordered on three sides by Mountain Boulevard and Keller Avenue in the city's Oak Knoll section and its map coordinates are 37°46′05″N 122°08′46″W / 37.768°N 122.146°W / 37.768; -122.146Coordinates: 37°46′05″N 122°08′46″W / 37.768°N 122.146°W / 37.768; -122.146.

Oak Knoll hospital was built during World War II for the purpose of treating American military personnel who had been wounded in the Pacific theater. In later years it also treated those who had been wounded in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The site was previously a golf course and country club which had closed during the Great Depression.[3]

A large main hospital building was started in 1965 and opened in 1968. The base was closed in 1996 in an official Navy ceremony.[4]

This building was imploded on April 8, 2011.[5]

Oak Knoll and Lehman Brothers bankruptcies[edit]

In 2005, a partnership of Lehman Brothers and SunCal (a land developer from Southern California) bought the site for $100 million with plans to build a master-planned community featuring 960 homes, a shopping area and a 50-acre (200,000 m2) park.[6] In 2008, SunCal began demolition, but then Lehman suddenly collapsed in September of that year, cutting off financing for the project. The demolition work was stopped for over a year, although SunCal initiated legal action against Lehman in November 2008 in order to obtain the cleanup funds and resolve other issues involving the property.

In October 2009, SunCal secured $550,000 from Lehman that was used for property-wide weed abatement, cleaning up wood piles, repairing perimeter fences and providing a team of armed security guards 24 hours per day to help secure the property from trespassers. In March 2010, SunCal secured a written agreement between the Lehman/SunCal bankruptcy trustee and a remediation firm on a $3.7 million plan to demolish numerous wooden outbuildings throughout the former base; all of these wooden structures have since been removed. The former Club Knoll officers club was spared so that it may be restored in the future.

In January 2011, the presiding federal judge in Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy approved the release of $1.7 million to complete the major demolition work at Oak Knoll. This meant that demolition of the major concrete and steel buildings would move forward; the warehouse and the bachelor enlisted quarters have since been removed. The 11-story hospital building, the largest structure on the site, was taken down in the spring of 2011. All structures to be demolished were first cleared of lead and asbestos.

SunCal itself is not in bankruptcy and continues to do business. SunCal still plans to redevelop the property into a master-planned community, but with a new financial partner. However, this is dependent on the outcome of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy which continues to make its way through court.

In November 2008, 14 SunCal projects filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse; these were all properties where Lehman was involved.[7] The entity that owns Oak Knoll, SunCal Oak Knoll LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2009.[8] The case is in United States bankruptcy court for the Central District in Santa Ana, CA, case 8:08-bk-17588.[9]

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