Economic Revival To Transform West Oakland Historic Factory

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DiMartino, project manager for the 116,000-square-foot renovation, said he spent time in Oakland as a child with his grandparents who owned apartments near Lake Merritt: “Over the years, Oakland has had a black eye, but I think it is the most underrated city in the United States. When I can have a hand in rejuventating West Oakland, I am there.”

[contextly_sidebar id=”d2552d52d02021931cd4c696e07c04df”]Michael Bartlett of Horizon Partners Northwest, another Oakland live-work developer who is investing in the project, said at other like developments where he has been involved that people attracted to such quarters were singles or couples where one spouse works outside the home and the second works as an artist, designer or craftsperson from a home studio.

“It is a great building, and the units will be incredible,” he said.

Even at these early construction stages, huge windows lining the three upper stories illustrate how much natural light will illuminate even the center of the building. On the roof, what Levy calls “a monitor” sits above and runs the length of the roof’s peak allowing clerestory windows to admit even more light. At the same time, the windows offer panoramic views of both San Francisco and Oakland.

She has never invested in a client’s project before, Levy said, but this one felt different. “It is a place where when I was younger I would have wanted to live,” she said. “I also really like John, and it’s easy for me to say I also believe in the project.”

First-quarter apartment rents in San Francisco exceeded those of the East Bay by more than $800 a month, according to new research from Marcus & Millichap National Multi Housing Group. Oakland metro-area effective rents climbed up not quite 7 percent last year and should rise another 5.5 percent this year to finish at $1,608 a month. Average effective rents in the San Francisco metro area will climb to not quite $2,500 a month by the end of this year, up another 5 percent.

Through the years, many of the buildings’ walls have become canvases for area graffiti artists. While most efforts do not appear to have lasting aesthetic value, at least one and perhaps two paintings on the third and fourth floors are exceptions. The project’s sponsors intend to preserve the deserving.

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