March 28, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES Real Estate Deals of the Year 2009 Best Affordable Residential/East Bay – Ironhorse at Central Station


West Oakland apartments bring life to neighborhood

Bridge Housing’s Ironhorse apartments at Central Station are a vibrant square in the development quilt stitching together a neighborhood damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

After years of planning and construction, the first wave of new development around the historic 16th Street station in West Oakland, a mix of affordable and market-rate housing that includes Ironhorse, is finally done. Plans to restore the 1870 train station with an events center and museum and build a new office project are under way as part of an ambitious plan to bring to life a 29-acre, formerly industrial neighborhood.

Bridge started planning Ironhorse’s 99 units in 2001 on a previously neglected property at 14th Street.

“This lot was in an area (that was in) desperate need of investment. This vacant spot was the perfect place to take something under-utilized for at least 20 years and make a project that met the need for affordable housing,” said Bridge executive vice president Lydia Tan.

Since construction was completed in November, 71 of the 99 units have been leased, and the remaining units are soon to be leased to people earning between 30 percent and 50 percent of the area median income, with rents ranging from $450-$1,000 per month.

Designed by David Baker + Partners, the $41 million project reveals care and imagination in its flourishes and amenities. The ultra-green project has community gardens, a green roof, solar-heated water set-up and a community music room where residents can play instruments without disturbing their neighbors.

With a donated piano and acoustic insulation, the music room is meant to create a shared space and sense of community that many other apartment complexes lack. The project is also putting a special focus on kids and nutrition by offering cooking classes to residents that incorporate the community gardens on-site.

In addition to on-site amenities, Ironhorse worked Robbie Gould Jersey closely with surrounding projects such as the market-rate Pacific Cannery Lofts to provide a great pedestrian experience where residents can move freely through the project in Robbie Gould Authentic Jersey the neighborhood without feeling gated in. The design also makes the area safer by strategically placing pocket parks and street lighting and creating greater visibility.

Architect David Baker said in designing the project it was important to think long-term since this is a neighborhood that is being built from next to nothing.

“It is very important to make this project walkable and green,” said Baker, who also designed the Pacific Cannery Lofts next door. “Since we did the Cannery Lofts, it was easy to communicate and make these projects flow together and feel connected.”

Baker also worked hard to surpass the minimums for getting green certification for the project, which is only 50 points, and managed Robbie Gould Womens Jersey to get nearly three times that: 146 GreenPoints. The GreenPoint Rated, a widely recognized program of Build It Green, grades large-scale buildings and individual homes on five categories: Resource conservation, indoor air quality, water conservation, community and energy efficiency. The standards and system are updated every three years to coincide with changes to the California Building Energy Robbie Gould Youth Jersey Efficiency Standards.

The extra insulation as well as solar power and storm water treatment on-site will create cost savings for the project, which is crucial in affordable housing where every penny counts, said Baker.

Ironhorse is one part of the Central Station plan, which calls for a total of 1,500 homes when built out. Tan thinks that “the renaissance is starting” around the 16th Street Station and soon will draw in more local businesses and investors to breathe life back into the district.

IronHorse at Central Station
Location: 1801 14th St., Oakland.
Size: 99-units. 153,395 square feet built on a 1.56 acre.
Cost: $41 million.
Developer: Bridge Housing Corp.
Architect: David Baker + Partners.
Contractor: J.H. Fitzmaurice.
Tenants: Families earning between 30 percent to 50 percent of area median income.
Law firm: Goldfarb & Lipman.
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