By Ignacio Dayrit, Director of Programs
February 12th, 2018
The “Best of Brewedway” mobile workshop, co-hosted by CCLR at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference, highlighted the roles that cities and developers play in promoting smart infill development on brownfield sites.
Oakland’s Broadway Avenue is a two-mile stretch from downtown that runs through an auto-row, health care uses, north into the Rockridge district and finally terminates at the University of California at Berkeley. The Broadway-Valdez District Specific Plan, covering almost a mile stretch of Broadway, is helping to transform many brownfields on a former auto row and auto-oriented arterial into a food, entertainment, and retail destination. Nestled among Oakland’s financial district, downtown, medical centers, Lake Merritt and the toney Piedmont and Rockridge neighborhoods, this transit-rich neighborhood is one of the city’s prime mixed-use growth and preservation areas. To offset the loss of redevelopment laws and tax increment, the city instituted zoning incentives to promote retail development and mid-rise housing. Streetscape improvements, public plazas and pedestrian-bike improvements are also programmed into the plan. The city also prepared a program environmental document to streamline permitting for projects that were consistent with the plan.
Developed with Wallace Roberts Todd (WRT), the strategy is paying off with 3000 residential units currently under construction and in the pipeline, as well as associated retail.
Adjacent to downtown and the Valdez District is the Uptown District, where recent residential developments, entertainment, retail, coworking space and a popular taproom opened recently in previous auto sales and service buildings - many of which required environmental cleanup. Regularly programmed events in this larger area attract a lot of foot traffic and visitors to an area which was moribund just a few years ago.
This portion of the mobile workshop was organized by the City of Oakland and WRT.