GRAND AVENUE, WEST OF 580 – March 2016
Hi Neighbors! This month we welcome our new neighbors living at AvéVista while also noting that Enssaro has turned its original location into a café serving Ethiopian coffee and snacks to complement its new restaurant across the street. In addition, last month the East Bay Express awarded Enssaro with the People’s Choice Award for Ethiopian Food. – LZ.
AvéVista Development – New and Affordable Elegant Density
When I moved to Oakland nearly 20 years ago, a vacant 0.31 acre lot sat at the corner of Bellevue and Grand Avenues. In 2006, a developer proposed building market rate condominiums, but discarded the notion when the city required inclusion of some affordable housing units and would not allow the building height the developer said he needed to make the development pencil out.
Today, residents are moving into AvéVista, the beautiful, new Mediterranean-style building at 460 Grand Avenue. The building features four levels of residential apartments above 2900 square feet of first floor commercial/retail space. There’s also a landscaped courtyard, a community room, on-site laundry, on-site property manager, and 97 parking spaces for residents of the sixty-eight 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units. AvéVista apartment rents are designed to be affordable to residents with incomes ranging from 30% to 60% of Oakland’s Area Median Income. Rental rates will vary depending on household income, number in household and apartment size.
How was this development possible? In 2010, BRIDGE Housing partnered with the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) to structure a deal in which OHA purchased the property and is leasing it to BRIDGE on a long-term basis. Chase, Wells Fargo and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco provided project financing. BRIDGE, TWM Architects + Planners, and the general contractor, J.H. Fitzmaurice, Inc., designed and built AvéVista to complement and enhance other neighborhood construction at a human scale that did not exceed height limits.
BRIDGE is a leading nonprofit developer, owner and manager of affordable homes for working families and seniors, with deep experience in an array of revitalization, transit-oriented, urban-infill and mixed-use/mixed-income communities. Since its inception in 1983, BRIDGE has participated in the development of more than 16,000 homes serving 40,000+ people.
When the AvéVista development was announced, over 5000 people applied. The application screening process first considered people who were already living or working in Oakland, so it is a near certainty that the 68 selected households already had ties to Oakland.
Although the waitlist for AvéVista’s residential units is currently closed, the retail space is available. BRIDGE would prefer a single, neighborhood serving business tenant, but it would be possible to subdivide the space. It has the 2008 Grand Lake Retail Advisory Group and 2013 business district surveys to refer to and to share with potential business occupants. Businesses interested in leasing this space should contact Newmark, Carey and Cornish at 925-974-0100 or email@example.com.
The Grand Lake area near Splashpad Park, and increasingly so west of 580 on Grand Avenue, offers that satisfying and fulfilling lifestyle of “culture, accessibility, and a flow of human activity” that can emerge in areas of “elegant density” – as described by then Mayor Jerry Brown in a 1999 article in the Whole Earth Catalogue.
We welcome AvéVista as a small tonic against the increasing cost of housing, here and throughout Oakland, that can over time reduce the diverse mix of incomes, ethnicities and cultures that is a large part of our neighborhood’s appeal and personality.
In 2015, SF Gate reported that rents in Oakland surged 20%. This was more than any other major city studied by Zumper’s National Rent Report for August 2015 as young professionals, in particular, entered the workforce and were drawn toward career opportunities and urban amenities. Last year, the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in Oakland was $1,980, which was still among the most affordable cities in the Bay Area. One bedrooms averaged $2,230 in San Jose and $3,500 in San Francisco.
At the groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of AvéVista construction on Feb. 21, 2014, Cynthia A. Parker, President and CEO of BRIDGE Housing, said, “This is a great example of smart infill development on the site of a former surface parking lot. AvéVista will bring much-needed affordable residences to a location just a mile away from BART, downtown Oakland’s commercial district and major regional employers.” Eric Johnson, Oakland Housing Authority Executive Director, added, “With the increasing housing costs impacting so many working families, the Oakland Housing Authority is proud to be part of the partnership with BRIDGE to bring much needed workforce housing to this wonderful neighborhood.”
460 Grand Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610
Newmark, Carey and Cornish