Waterfront urban renovations and
new construction projects are rapidly transforming Oakland’s Jack
London District. The renaissance of the area recently attracted the
well-respected builder Crescent Heights, one of America’s most
active condominium companies. Crescent Heights is best known for its
visionary loft living renovation projects in New York City,
successfully converting historic industrial spaces into high-end,
sought-after condos. Their new full-amenity, resort-like waterfront
living complex recently opened its sales office for the Sierra
condominium project. They are already ahead of schedule selling
units, with initial occupancy predicted to begin as early as April
2003. The complex has three levels of underground parking, two-story
ground level retail and live/work spaces with modern lofts and flats
in six levels of residence capping the 12-story structure with a
Oakland’s Mayor Jerry Brown was
a pioneer participant in Jack London District’s transformation
from dormant and underutilized commercial and industrial properties
to emerging hipster hangout. After moving to Oakland in 1992, Brown
worked with his neighbors to transform his properties into trendy
luxury live/work and loft living spaces. When he was elected Mayor
in 1998, Brown outlined campaign goals for the revitalization of
urban Oakland: bring10,000 new residents to downtown Oakland. His
ambitious goals are being most notably met in the Jack London Square
area and the biggest of the new developments is the Sierra.
The exterior of the Sierra, in
keeping with the colors of the California mountain range for which
it was named, was designed by the award-winning Bay Area architect
Kava Massih. The rustic interior was designed by the Rockwell Group,
whose principal David Rockwell has worked for W Hotels in Manhattan
and the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, home of the Academy Awards. The
Sierra boasts a two-story lobby, an outdoor lap pool, a sauna, and a
sundeck. There is a state-of-the-art fitness center, a business
center, conference rooms, a library, and a media room. Those who
visit the six stories of characteristically simple yet elegant lofts
and flats in this new complex will notice how they differ from
standard apartments. The thick walls provide excellent soundproofing
to keep out the noise of cars, highways, and neighbors. The 16- to
18-foot ceilings allow for more light and a wonderland of new
interior design options.
Commuter routes are close and
convenient to this Jack London location. Residents are minutes from
onramps to the freeway, a ten-minute drive to the airport, just
blocks from ferries, BART, bus, and trains. Mayor Brown and his
neighbors were the pebble that started the ripple in a pond that has
become a wave of change to Oakland’s Estuary waterfront. What was
once a nearly dormant industrial area is now a growing, thriving
residential and mixed-use zone spurring on the renaissance of the
Jack London District.
penthouse flat signature interior décor is the creation of Mitchell
Freedland Design, 1760 West 3rd Ave, Suite 200, Vancouver, BC,
Canada (604) 733-3600, www.mitchellfreedland.co. One
of three top designers chosen to create a harmonious and stylish
interiors at the Sierra. Mitchell Freedland has been working with
Crescent Heights for several years. In that time, they have crafted
unique and lovely interiors for models and for new complex residents
with grace and style. Mitchell Freedland has tailored their models
to reflect each complex theme, lifestyle, and taste of the region.
They have worked with Crescent Heights on complexes in Chicago,
Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tampa, Honolulu, San
Francisco and now Oakland.
of Oakland Estuary Plan
wholesale produce industry in Oakland is centered at the
Oakland Produce Market in the Jack London District. However,
market operations are not expected to remain there over the
long term. A recent City study identified that physical
conditions of the existing facilities are inadequate for
modern, efficient operations, and that the type of modern
distribution facility needed cannot be provided at the
current location. Eventual relocation of the wholesale
produce market will offer opportunities for reuse of the
area adjacent to the new residential boom.
Office uses have
been growing within the planning area. The mix of uses and
historical quality of the Jack London District support a
less-traditional office niche. The area’s convenient
location and its opportunities for new space, for
interesting space in older industrial buildings, and for
owner-occupied office space have attracted a wide variety of
office tenants, including architects, consultants,
media-related firms, insurance, law, and other professional
service firms. The demand for office space is expected to
continue to grow.
As a destination for dining, entertainment and retail uses,
Jack London Square’s performance has improved
significantly since the early 1990s. Major new attractions
(Jack London Cinema, Barnes and Noble, Yoshi’s),
established restaurants, and numerous special events now
bring thousands of people to the area. There is momentum to
build on and great potential to strengthen and expand the
area as a stronger and desirable destination for retail,
dining, and entertainment activities.
Work/live and loft housing in the more central portions of
the Jack London District is attractive to East Bay artisans
and entrepreneurial professionals commanding higher prices
and rents than other nearby options. Throughout the Jack
London area, work/live and loft housing has been developed
through the conversion and rehabilitation of older warehouse
and industrial buildings.
is potential for additional work/live and loft housing in
the Jack London District in the future. There are
opportunities for additional conversions of warehouse
buildings to work/live lofts and opportunities for new
construction sites due to attractive raw property prices.
Increasing developed property values and rents in the area
are expected to reach levels that will make development
ventures attractive for a growth in new construction of loft
housing and work/live space conversions. The district’s
industrial/artistic feel, its mix of uses, and its urban
development pattern are important aspects of the area’s
desirability for urban, nontraditional types of housing.
The paint on the wall is called
Old Mill Stream, #1301, manufactured by ICI. They achieved special
effects by using both flat and eggshell paint. The streams of the
Sierra’s are places where cares can drift away like a leaf in the
current. The art and framing are a custom design by Mitchell
Freedland Design, supplied by Hambleton Fine Art of Vancouver, BC,
Laurie Miskuski, Marketing
Director for the Sierra and her daughter gently play in the morning
light on a sectional sofa with custom pillows that are custom
designs by Mitchell Freedland Design. Those shown are manufactured
by Bari Designs Ltd. of Richmond, BC, Canada. The Robert Allen
fabrics maintain the Sierra’s theme of colors and textures, using
dusty rose velvety fabric for the sofa. A combination of print tube
and rectangular pillows in soft textures and colors of rocks in a
stream provide islands of comfort for reading and relaxing. A warm
graphite-colored cashmere soft throw by Caban of Vancouver, Canada
is just the thing to ward off the morning and evening chill, or to
snuggle under for a nap.
Like the Sierras, a thick layer of
snowy white covers the ground, but it is warm woolly carpet instead
of cold wet snow. Flokati carpet is available through better
retailers in both the U.S. and Canada.
Design Within Reach of San
Francisco provided the glass and polished chrome coffee table and
the side and lamp tables, which are as clean and clear as water
bright with sunny reflection.
The table lamp is a "Beamy
Light," designed is by Kishima, a 100-year-old Japanese company
whose success is a direct reflection of their insistence on quality.
The table lamp gives light with the warm glow of a fire. Kishima
opened their first American store in San Francisco at 900 North
Point St, Suite B105, Ghirardelli Square, www.kishimausa.com,
in December 2002, providing a new option for interior designers.
The candleholders are available
from Torres & Tagus or select retailers in the U.S. and Canada.
The candles were supplied by Chandelier, of San Francisco.
The unique dining room set is a
custom design by Mitchell Freedland Design Canada, and manufactured
by Bari Designs
stunning chair supplied by Plexicraft of New York, NY is very heavy
with padded feet to keep it in place on the hardwood floors. The
material gives it a shimmering quality which makes it look like
reflected light on water . Sitting in one is like slipping into a
swimming hole along a mountain stream. It is not only surprisingly
comfortable it springs, but its slight springing action gives it a
Most of the kitchen accessories
are available at Crate and Barrel.
Sierra offers two options. Flats or lofts with light oak hardwood
floors have dark counter cabinets. Those with walnut tone floors
have contrasting maple veneer cabinetst. It is possible to have all
dark or all light if requested before completion. The counterstops
are "Absolute Black Granite" honed. All kitchen appliances
are by GE. Stainless steel, finish top ranges areavailable with
either back set or front controls, for different retail prices.
vanity cabinets are dark with sand floor tiles and "Crema Bello"
limestone honed counters.
Loft half walls were seen in two
forms. In a one-bedroom loft, the solid half wall provided privacy
allowing light to brighten the room like predawn light on the
In the configuration with an upstairs separate
bedroom, the loft office half wall was inset with glass panels
allowing more light from the towering windows and a view of the
living room area.
The Sierra is the newest complex in the Jack
London District. Recently completed award-winning projects like the
Legacy and Allegro offer apartments for rent and lease. The Sierra
offers lofts and flats for homeowners and adds a welcome
non-transient fuel to the fire
of the building waterfront renaissance with over 200 residential
units ranging from $350,000 to $790,000, plus live/work and retail
sites surrounding the complex on the ground level. The Jack London
District has advanced is city-wide goal of attracting 10,000 new
residents to the urban area. This new project will help make a
difference as Oakland marches ahead to revitalize the quality of
urban life. To this northern California native, the Sierra was like
unexpectedly entering a grove of redwoods, with its spacious, airy,
shafts of sunlight, temperate and peaceful with a sense of vibrance.
the Crescent Heights office for sales and information at: Sierra
Sales office located at 311 Oak St. (510) 285-3500. www.sierracondos.com.