Station Center 2012 in Review, Affordable Housing, All projects, Apartments, Current Work, Green, LEED, TOD Transit Oriented Development
Union City, California

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CNU 2014 Charter Awards (June 5, 2014)
The Congress for the New Urbanism has selected Station Center as Best Building and also bestowed the Grand Prize for overall excellence in its 2014 Charter Awards, which recognize exceptional placemaking. Says juror  Will Bruder, "It is a mastery of proportion and scale, materials and detail."  Download details of the awards and other winners at left. 


Image: Bruce Damonte

Image: Bruce Damonte

Enabled by the Proposition 1C TOD voter-approved bond program, Station Center Family Housing is the affordable inclusionary component of the Union City Master Plan.

Designed by ROMA Design Group, the Master Plan calls for Union City BART Station to be revamped into an intermodal station—a hub for BART, Dumbarton Rail, ACE, and Capital Corridor.


ULI Global Award of Excellence

Station Center, the pioneer affordable family housing at the heart of the Union City Master Plan, was awarded a 2013 ULI Global Award for Excellence. This year's 12 worldwide winners were selected for their dedication to building enduring communities. Congratulations to MidPen Housing and the entire team for creating such a complex and compelling project! See more about the Urban Land Institute Awards here.

Image: Bruce Damonte

The brownfield site before construction of Station Center.

A brownfield site sandwiched between the existing commuter and freight lines and currently cut off from the BART station by tracks is being reclaimed for a vibrant mixed-use district including these high-density affordable family apartments.

Station Center Family Housing comprises 157 affordable rental units in two buildings framing a public playground and overlooking the new plaza and eventual direct connection to the BART station. 

The building is ringed with active edges: The main entry is framed by a towering entry portal, and the face of the building is lined with retail arcade that is soon to house a corner cafe and a market. Along Cheeves Street, additional public and private entryways connect to the sidewalk. At the rear, housing "wraps" the neighborhood-serving garage, shielding it from view.


Image: Bruce Damonte

The building has on-site social and health services with programs for teens and kids.

Image: Bruce Damonte

The community room opens onto a fitness center and pool deck, and opens entirely to a grand courtyard, creating a large indoor-outdoor gathering space.

Image: Bruce Damonte

Image: Bruce Damonte

The courtyard—designed along with all the building landscaping by Fletcher Studio—features allottment gardens for residents, formal and informal seating areas, and a play yard populated by playful concrete gorillas.

Image: Bruce Damonte

LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Platinum Certified.



Station Center Family Housing Green Features


• Large operable window.
• Private decks
• High sound isolation between units
• High-efficiency lighting
• Built-in trash and recycling bins


• Contractor recycled 88% construction waste
• Over 45% cement replaced by  slag or fly ash, unused manufacturing byproducts
• Wood-framed walls built off site to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.
• Building trash and recycling chutes

Air Quality

• Cabinets contain no added formaldehyde
• Bathroom and kitchen fans exhaust to the exterior 
• Low- or no-VOC paints, coatings, and construction adhesives
• CRI Green Label Plus carpets


• Added insulation to minimize heating needs.
• Solar hot water panels pre-heat domestic hot water
• A high efficiency gas-powered boiler heats domestic hot water
• Energy Star appliances
• Corridor and garage lighting controlled by motion sensors
• Exterior sunshades reduce heat gain
• Attic insulation is R-30 and wall insulation is R-21 

• Exceeds Title 24 by 20% 


• Bay Friendly Certified landscaping
• Landscape irrigation controller receives weather data via a satellite connection
• All rain is captured and treated onsite in swales and large below-grade storage system
• Low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets


The low-energy building used a range of complementary sustainable strategies—including solar domestic hot water, high-efficiency boilers, and rooftop photo-voltaic arrays—to achieve LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Platinum certification. The Bay-Friendly Rated landscape design will save 193,282 gallons of water per year compared to a conventionally landscaped property.

Artist Mona Caron and her in-progress mural at Station Center Family Housing. Image: Nick Kasimatis

Alazar, right, shared a welcoming phrase in Ethiopian. Mural: Mona Caron. Image: Nick Kasimatis

San Francisco artist Mona Caron creating a towering mural on the 5-story entry tower, visible from the neighborhood and neighboring train tracks.

The mural, "Taking Root," was inspired by an intrepid local plant she found pushing through the broken concrete. While the plant reaches to the sky, it is "rooted" at ground level in multi-lingual messages of welcome contributed by new residents.

More information on Mona Caron and her work can be found at

Image: Mona Caron

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CNU 2014 Charter Award—Best Building
Congress for the New Urbanism
CNU 2014 Charter Award—Grand Prize
Congress for the New Urbanism
ULI Global Award for Excellence
Urban Land Institute

project details

Nonprofit Housing Developer

MidPen Housing


David Baker Architects

General Contractor

Barry Swenson Builders

Landscape Architect

Fletcher Studio

Structural Engineer

Tipping Mar + Associates

Structural Engineer

FBA Structural Engineers

Lighting Designer

Horton Lees Brogden

Mechanical Engineer

Timmons Design Engineers

Civil Engineer

Mark Thomas & Company

Mural Artist

Mona Caron


project data
Station Center 20813
Union City, California
Completed April 2012
number of units
1 bedroom 33
2 bedroom 74
3 bedroom 50
total 157
density ratios
project sf 299,944
site sf 94,139
acres 2.16
total bedrooms 328
bedrooms/acre 152
units/acre 72.6
open space sf 33,000
open space sf/unit 210
total 289
resident 204
flex commercial 10
public 75
spaces/unit 1.3
type  garage
bicycle parking 53
LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Platinum