Emerald and Equity aim for 450 homes at former Oakland college

Developers plan to repurpose parts of the century-old campus

Emerald, Equity Aim for 450 Homes at Former Oakland College
California College of the Arts's David Howse, Equity Community Builders' John Clawson and Emerald Fund's Oz Erickson with a rendering of plans for 5212 Broadway, Oakland (LinkedIn, SITELAB Urban Studio, ECBSF, California College of the Arts)

UPDATED JAN. 26 at 2:15 p.m.:

Emerald Fund and Equity Community Builders have moved forward with plans to redevelop the former campus of California College of the Arts into nearly 450 homes in Oakland.

The San Francisco-based developers and college have checked off a draft environmental review of their proposal to transform the 4-acre campus at 5212 Broadway, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Ten of the school’s dozen buildings would be demolished.

Plans filed last March call for two apartment buildings with 448 units, 6,600 square feet of shops and restaurants and a 1.5-acre park. The number of affordable units, if any, were not disclosed.

Initial plans called for 589 housing units, a 19-story residential tower and 35 artist homes in a refurbished dorm. It was then scaled back to 510 homes, including 51 affordable apartments.

It’s not clear when developers expect to break ground and complete the project.

The project, designed by Seattle-based Mithun, consists of what appears to be a gray, six-story apartment building and an eight-story complex in white, gray and salmon, with inset and exterior balconies, according to renderings. Rooftop decks would be topped by leafy trellises.

The school’s nationally registered historic Treadwell Mansion and its adjacent Carriage House would be preserved and incorporated into the future development. Both were built in 1875 for John Treadwell and James Treadwell, co-owners of the Tesla Coal Mine in Livermore.

The developers also want to repurpose other parts of the century-old campus, including a renovation of the historic Broadway Wall, Broadway Stairs, Broadway Gate, the mansion (now known as Macky Hall), the carriage house and Macky Lawn. 

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They will also create direct views from the Broadway sidewalk.

California College of the Arts opened in Berkeley in 1907 and moved to Oakland in 1922.

In the mid-1990s the school opened a second campus in San Francisco, and announced in 2019  that the Oakland location would close and merge with the Mission Bay campus. The arts college celebrated its final Oakland commencement in May 2022, on its 100th year.

Emerald Fund and Equity Community Builders, both based in San Francisco’s Presidio, have worked on the project for five years. The college still owns the property.

In June, Los Angeles-based BH Properties bought the former campus of Holy Names University at 3500 Mountain Boulevard, in Oakland, for $65 million, after the college defaulted on a $49 million loan. BHt plans to lease the 58.6-acre college campus.

Correction: Previous story incorrectly identified the designer of the project.

— Dana Bartholomew

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