Oakland CA | In Design
This mixed-use, affordable development will contribute to the revitalization of the San Pablo Avenue corridor with 60 healthy family homes and 2,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space fronting a renovated streetscape.
The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) also owns and manages the adjacent California Hotel housing—a national historic landmark—to the north and the People’s Garden, a community garden powered by People’s Grocery, to the west. This housing design aims to better connect the three sites together, creating a cohesive community from these resources.
The goal is for the new housing to have measurable positive impacts on the health of the West Oakland community. The new homes—ranging from studios to three-bedrooms—will be designed with wellness and activity in mind. For example, careful attention is being paid to mechanical systems to address air quality concerns based on the project’s proximity to the freeway.
The design emphasizes the activation of the San Pablo Avenue frontage, ensuring a safe, lively, and engaging street edge. A historic driveway gate on the 1930’s-era California Hotel site will be repurposed as a residential entry, transforming vehicular access into an active node for people.
The 34SP building is designed to respect and complement its historic neighbor, the California Hotel. An active ground floor will relate to the California Hotel’s prominent commercial storefront, creating a continuous band along San Pablo Avenue that seeks to activate street life and restore the corridor’s once bustling commercial character.
Like the turrets at the north end of the California Hotel, a raised northeast corner element on the 34SP building will mark the building’s entry and be clad in a warm material wrapping inwards to the entry courtyard. The new building takes cues from the red and white color pallet of the California Hotel, and will use modern materials in an honest way that honors and is inspired by the craftsmanship of its historic neighbor.
In addition to these relationships between the physical character of the two buildings, a site strategy has been developed to link the resident communities of the two buildings. A 20' wide driveway that currently stands between the two buildings will be transformed into a richly landscaped, ground-level courtyard accessible to residents of both building. This green space will create a unique moment along the busy San Pablo Avenue streetscape. The courtyard will also connect to the new building’s community spaces and the People’s Garden, an urban community garden.
This project is being informed by extensive community outreach. Several events have been held to share information about the project and to hear input from local residents early in the design process.
The site is currently activated by SPARC-It Place, a pop-up local-vendor marketplace designed by DBA with EBALDC for an innovative interim use of the site. SPARC-It Place provides a lively community-oriented gathering area with programming scheduled up until construction.
San Pablo Avenue at 34th Street