Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fall Musings

To start this beautiful fall day, several of us rode through North Oakland. From the Berkeley border through Temescal, into Piedmont and looping into lower Rockridge. As we rode at a slow, but steady pace, we took notice of the area between the Berkeley border at Woolsey, Shattuck Avenue, MLK and 51st Street. The housing stock is not unlike that in the tonier parts of Rockridge, Piedmont and Temescal. California Bungalows, Craftsman, Colonial Revivals all weave a rich historic tapestry.

What is amazing about this area of North Oakland is that it is so close to the highly desirable commercial districts of Elmwood, Rockridge, Temescal and Piedmont. It is also bordered to the west by the ever-changing Emeryville. It has great accessibility to public transportation being close to three Bart Stations--Ashby, Rockridge and McArthur. It also has great accessibility to Highway 24 and 80. Many of the streets are tree-lined, though their canopies not as mature as Rockridge. The thriving Nomad Cafe sits as a beacon on Shattuck calling hipsters and aging hippies.

Even in this down market, it is clear that there is investment in this neighborhood with several deteriorated and blighted homes being completely refurbished and renovated as rentals or put up for sale. Along Shattuck Avenue at the corner of 56th and Shattuck a small art gallery has opened. Further up the street, a book publishing company is expanding its facility and completely renovating a dilapidated warehouse. The east parking lot of the Asbhy Bart Station is slowly being transformed into the Ed Robert's Campus. BART is contemplating a modernization of the Ashby BART Station and Children's Hospital is moving forward with a revised and downscoped expansion.

Because of the work of the We Fight Blight Team, abandoned and inoperable vehicles have been removed, dilapidated homes are being repaired and the City of Berkeley is repaving portions of Shattuck Avenue near Woolsey. The efforts of the Shattuck Crime Prevention Council and its Problem Solving Officers are showing good progress in making this area safer and addressing problem houses. With every house that goes up for sale, young families are moving into this neighborhood and revitalizing it with their enthusiasm and desire.

This North Oakland neighborhood is changing in many positive ways. Once the economy recovers, we think this North Oakland neighborhood will boom like Temescal. With the correction in housing prices, this area is incredibly affordable at the moment, yet offers all of the same amenities that tonier and more expensive neighborhoods offer. Most importantly, its proximity to the best and most vibrant commercial areas Oakland has to offer has not been fully recognized.

Just watch. We think people will be amazed by the changes and will wonder, why didn't we think to buy in that neighborhood.

1 comment:

lmariew said...

I completely agree with your comments which is why I purchased a large property in the Bushrod area in 2006. I did a lot of research throughout the East Bay, and this neighborhood is the perfect WALKABLE place to live.

And, despite the negative turn in the economy, my property has INCREASED in value :)

It is a great neighborhood: diverse and hopeful for the future, and luckily lacking the vanilla yuppie attitude that is Rockridge/Elmwood.