Cranes (not the feathered variety) in North Oakland

August 13, 2015

Outdoors, Politics, Streets


With 4 major and several other projects breaking ground in the Temescal/North Oakland, it’s time to take a look at what all the activity is about. The combination of these projects will add hundreds of new units of housing, from studios to an entire senior assisted living complex to Safeway’s new “lifestyle” grocery store and thousands of square feet of new retail. Sadly, no units are being developed as “affordable.”

Safeway at Broadway and Pleasant Valley

As I noted in a blog over 2 years ago, the redevelopment of the Safeway store and its surrounding parcels at 51st and Broadway is the biggest development to happen in the area for possibly the next 50 years after MacArthur’s BART makeover. I’m not sure why it’s taken almost 2 years for the project to finally break ground but the results are dramatic. I only wish housing had been included as those views from above the quarry would have been killer. Both Starbucks and Jamba Juice have relocated next to the AAA along the quarry. I think most folks would agree that the makeover of the Safeway at College and Claremont has been a positive change and I hold out the same hope for this long-envisoned rehab.


Merrill Gardens at Broadway and Pleasant Valley

This 127 unit senior assisted housing project is being developed by SRM and will include 7000 square feet of retail space. This corner has been blighted since Poppy Fabric went under years ago. SRM withstood the backlash of a few vocal neighbors to get the entitlements and now a huge crane overlooks the sight, something I haven’t witnessed near my house for 18 years. Seeing it fill up the sky makes me happy that soon we will have lots of new seniors living nearby. Most bicyclists and peds avoid this intersection like the plague and hopefully special care will be given to the public plaza and artwork for the corner.

cranewww.srmdevelopment.comTemescal Apartments

The name is not so sexy but we can expect a dramatic improvement from the 126 rental units that SRM and Brick Architects are envisioning along Broadway from 51st-49th St. Instead of collapsing roofs, blighting billboards and cars waiting to be sold, we’ll have a healthy combo of rental (no unfortunately affordable units) with large outdoor spaces, balconies and retail. My cohousing community hosted the 4 meetings we had with other neighbors over 2 years and the result includes less parking spaces for cars and more storage parking for bikes plus a commitment to a DIY/non-profit running a repair space inside the complex. With the relatively new bike lanes right outside the door, I expect most folks will happily live here car-free.



Bank of America ATM

On the SW corner in front of what used to be the Red Oak Realty building, I noticed some new construction and was told by folks in Broadway Vet that Bank of America is putting in an ATM in the building as a way to keep a presence when the building they are located in across the street is being renovated. I can’t get excited about this as it just means more drivers to that corner but I guess the owner has been having trouble renting the building.


Claremont Apartments at Claremont and Telegraph

I called Signature Developers and got some info on this project but no drawings by KTGY Architects, even though construction has started and will be completed by end of 2016. The project location is best known as the site of the much beloved Kingfish Pub which literally moved across the street onto Telegraph where it is experiencing a revival of sorts with an added outdoor space. The Claremont Apartments will feature 33 units and 2400 square feet of retail on the Claremont side.

Other Projects of Note

East Bay Developed has written recently about new housing development along the side streets to Mt View and Saint Mary’s cemeteries. The 25 townhomes at 4425 Piedmont Avenue will be sold by Anthony Associates who have a long track record of mostly high end and beautiful homes in the Temescal. On a recent walk, I noticed a new development along Montgomery as well but don’t have info on that one.


Kaiser Garden at Howe and MacArthur

On a recent weekend day, I found myself all alone enjoying the new public plaza at Kaiser’s new hospital. To be able to experience it without a fence keeping me out was the result of neighbors organizing in the Piedmont area and for their tenacity I am grateful. Why Kaiser would want to keep local residents out was a misstep of the usual misguided variety. The soothing mural and comfortable seating is the perfect location for food trucks and one lunch pod is already in operation.kaiserpark1kaiserpark2

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About Karen Hester

Karen Hester is a community activist and events coordinator who lives in North Oakland in Temescal Creek Cohousing. Her event productions website is She lives and breathes the fight to stop more billboards in Oakland and started

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