Oxford and AvalonBay propose turning Emeryville offices into homes

Potential conversion site sits up the street from developers’ Public Market project

AvalonBay Communities' Benjamin Schall; Oxford Properties' Daniel Fournier; 6001 Shellmound Street (Google Maps, Linkedin, Getty, AvalonBay Communities)
AvalonBay Communities' Benjamin Schall; Oxford Properties' Daniel Fournier; 6001 Shellmound Street (Google Maps, Linkedin, Getty, AvalonBay Communities)

Oxford Properties and AvalonBay Communities want to convert a 128,000-square-foot office building in Emeryville into homes.

The Toronto-based life sciences developer and the Virginia-based real estate investment trust have proposed an office-to-home conversion for the eight-story building at 6001 Shellmound Street, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

Oxford and AvalonBay are now redeveloping the Public Market a few blocks down the street. They approached the city last month about turning the nearby offices into homes.

Oxford, owned by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, has considered buying the building. It and City Center Realty Partners own the building’s first-floor retail space, according to Miroo Desai, senior planner at the City of Emeryville. 

Denver-based developer EverWest Real Estate Partners, which bought the top seven floors in 2017, has listed them for sale.

Desai said the city believes the building could successfully be converted to residential use, though it was not yet clear how many units it could produce. 

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“We need housing,” Desai told the Business Times. “I hope it happens, because it will show a different way of doing things. I mean, the city is all behind it. Now it’s really for the developers to make a deal.”

When it bought the 148,000-square-foot Public Market in 2021, Oxford proposed converting some of its offices and shops to life science uses. It then proposed another 421,000 square feet for life science offices and research labs on a pair of vacant lots next door.

The project would replace a planned 167 apartments on one of those lots. Oxford said the residential project would no longer pencil out, and in May of last year, Emeryville demanded Oxford pay $20 million in fees before it would approve the switch to life science.

Emeryville has earned a reputation as a place where housing of various sorts gets built. And the mayor has earned a reputation as a straight talker when it comes to a desire to build more homes.

— Dana Bartholomew

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