500 Kirkham Site

The new plans for a 417-unit West Oakland development to rise up to 8 stories in height on the vacant 3-acre Caltrans lot bounded by Kirkham, 7th, Union and 5th Streets could be approved by Oakland’s Planning Commission in three weeks time.

500 Kirkham Rendering 2016

In addition to the 417 apartments, the proposed project includes 22,000 square feet of ground floor retail/commercial space along Kirkham and 7th; a two-level above ground garage for 264 cars with its entrance on 5th; and a private dog park for residents at the corner of 5th and Kirkham, above which BART tracks run to the West Oakland station a block away.

500 Kirkham Ground Floor Plan

As redesigned by Humphreys & Partners for the West Oakland Development Group, which had originally floated plans for a 17-story development on the site, the mass of the proposed project is now broken-up by three courtyards on the third floor of the development which open to 7th, Kirkham and Union Streets.

500 Kirkham Podium Plan

And the secure bike parking building on the block at 1255 7th, across from The Crucible and near the ramps for I-880, will remain in place.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by woolie

    I don’t know why they wasted time with their original, poorly conceived proposals. This is fine, it’s a standard type that can be financed and built. The original idea was a block wide 17 story curtain wall building with no massing breaks. Not that I object to high rises at all, but it needlessly irritated planning and had no chance of securing financing. So we’re back, six months later with a plain, economically viable proposal.

  2. Posted by Frog

    Wait, is this where the Fire Arts Festival used to be held? There’s nothing like seeing a 50 foot high fire tornado while on a Bart train.

  3. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I don’t understand why this project doesn’t envelop the secure bike parking building too. The facility could be incorporated into the new building. As planned here there’s a lost opportunity to build higher than that one story building on the corner.

  4. Posted by Pablito

    Good central location – its a short walk to BART – if the tenants are brave…. Unless there is a big event at the Crucible – not much street life in the area.

  5. Posted by Notcom

    The site has such an interesting history, both culturally and architecturally…too bad a little more – or any, really – of that doesn’t come thru in the design.

    • Posted by don

      That was a great and informative link, thanks. Really too bad the brewery was demolished; if still standing it would have been a far more engaging piece of the neighborhood than this apartment complex could ever hope to be. It’s better than the wasteland there now, but I do wish Oakland hadn’t lost so much of itself.

  6. Posted by Mark F.

    It seems like West Oakland should be ripe for gentrification, but it really hasn’t changed all that much. Still very frightening and deserted at night and there are few businesses or services.

    • Posted by Pablito

      Oakland public housing project – and the resulting crime. Even with cheap rent people do not want to be next to the projects. The crime is terrible. As a social program – the projects were gigantic failures – institutionalizing people into poverty for perpetuity. A form of government sponsored segregation for poor black people. Jails without walls. No politician wants to deal with it. And until the social issue gets dealt with – the West Oakland community will always face a major struggle to develop into a better place.

      • Posted by Sabbie

        Yes. Common sense, government aid should be transitional only, it doesn’t take a genius to see the difference between helping and enabling.

    • Posted by Willow

      Gentrification has started but there are some definite challenges… However, I am stunned by some of the prices in Oakland. High end million dollar condos around Lake Merritt is now quite common and the prices of homes in Rockridge have skyrocketed to SF levels. Less than 10 years ago Uptown had no bars/restaurants or housing. At some point buyers will bite the bullet so to speak as they are priced out and purchase in large numbers in West Oakland.

      • Posted by anonoak

        The neighborhoods East of the Lake are much more pleasant and livable than West Oakland. And less expensive. It’s a closely guarded secret.

      • Posted by EBGuy

        West Oakland median and $/sq.ft. are up over 40% year to year.

  7. Posted by MKP

    as a west oakland resident, I am VERY excited for this to go up. this lot seems like a no-brainer – right by BART, empty, prime land. 6 minutes to SF, 3 minutes to downtown oakland, easy freeway access…surprised nothing is here already! I imagine that this will be filled easily with people fleeing higher rents in SF who want easy and quick access to the city (why I moved to west oakland).

    7th street does not have much going on (and probably never well, due to the screaming BART trains) but an influx of 1000 or so wealthier types will definitely have an impact on retail, restaurants, cafes, etc. there are already 3-4 relatively new cafes in the area (kilivolt, trouble coffee, 10th and wood, etc.). if you combine this with the new 200+ units of housing being built on three lots near the 16th street train station, along with increasing gentrification of the prescott neighborhood on a house by house basis, you have a real, powerful transformation going on.

    re Mark F. above – west oakland is definitely still rough around the edges. there is crime. there is illegal dumping. there are some homeless encampments. but I walk through the neighborhood every day and see kids, families, people of all races, and slow and steady improvement. this neighborhood is on the precipice – and with this new building by BART, will be surrounded by new development on basically all four sides (emeryville to the north, new condos to the west, uptown/downtown to the east, and BART to the south). the projects will always be a blight on the area, but I think west oakland is on a new path and will never return to being the violent no-man’s land it was 15+ years ago.

  8. Posted by Sassy

    I just wish it was double the density, this is next door to one the most important BART stations!

    • Posted by Bat

      Well double the density wouldn’t probably be good for the infrastructure screwing that outdated BART station’s layout underneath. Unless they prepared to update the layout before the construction starts

  9. Posted by Some Guy

    Enjoy listening to BART at full tilt 19 hours a day, and the raised freeways 24/7. The places people pay to live, yikes.

  10. Posted by Link Boute

    Snide comments notwithstanding, Lower Bottoms is a great place to live. I’ve been here for twelve years, and would be reluctant to live anywhere else. Certainly it’s amazingly convenient to downtown Oakland and SF. But more importantly, it’s a neighborhood with real history, substantive architecture, and great, high quality neighbors. I’m here to stay.

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