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 Telegraph Avenue is a 4.5-mile stretch from downtown and terminates at the University of California at Berkeley. Many of these sites are brownfields - underutilized and a concern for investors and developers due to potential liability issues associated with any suspected contaminants in the soil, groundwater and building. While some segments of Telegraph are still struggling because of brownfields and economic obstacles, much of the corridor is transforming and anchoring place-based revitalization with a mix of old buildings and new development, retail, brewpubs and taprooms, and housing that capitalizes on good multimodal transit access and strategic locations.
The Temescal-Telegraph Business Improvement District (BID) has been guiding the improvement of scrappy Telegraph Avenue since 2004, and has led the renaissance of this once neglected neighborhood, now home to many homegrown businesses. The BID has been working with merchants and the city to create programming and develop plazas to improve safety and increase pedestrian traffic. One project is the proposed plaza on an underutilized right-of-way (pictured below) that will activate retail activity in adjacent properties.
The next stop was Temescal Works, a resident-led development project that started out as a crowd-sourced real estate investment and morphed into a business venture. The neighbors bought and are rehabbing a brownfield (pictured on the tour below) and, while waiting for lessor interest, decided to operate a coworking space. Just a few steps from the MacArthur BART station, there is no shortage of interest in the space. In fact, the BID will be moving in!
Temescal Brewing, a brownfield-to-brewery gem (a former laundry facility and movie house), was overflowing with activity when the group dropped by. A home-grown business, the brew pub’s rapid growth and center for neighborhood activity and community causes has made it a local favorite. Construction of the the outdoor seating was funded through Kickstarter. The brews are all made from locally-sourced ingredients and recipes are never repeated, making every trip to the tap an adventure. A rotating lineup of local food trucks (pictured behind the group below) complements the fresh brews.
The final stop on this tour was MacArthur Station, the East Bay’s highest-density transit village around the MacArthur BART station (pictured below). It is a transit-oriented joint development with BART, Boston Properties, McGrath Properties and Bridge Housing as partners. CCLR assisted Bridge with site assessment and cleanup issues, helped obtain infrastructure and cleanup grants for this brownfield, and Bridge’s MURAL apartments were the first of several projects that will be built up over the next few years, to make up more than 1000 housing units and local retail.
CCLR thanks BART, McGrath Properties, Temescal Brewing, Temescal BID and Temescal Works for helping make this mobile workshop a reality.