Patch of Green in Emeryville
Posted by Roobs on July 15, 2010
I work at a law firm in Emeryville that specializes in real estate development law. I often feel it’s not by accident that my bosses located the firm in Emeryville. This city keeps developing more and more from the city that my parents knew when they lived in Alameda back in the early-mid 80’s. Emeryville is one big development site where old factories and warehouses have been transformed into trendy urban lofts and townhouses.
Emeryville is a pretty successful commuter city with the Emeryville Amtrak station taking workers to and from San Francisco or Sacramento. Pixar Animation is headquartered two blocks away from my office building and even they are expanding on their own property. Bayer Health also calls Emeryville home and has a large research facility about four blocks from my office building. And one block from me? Well, Peet’s Coffee has their headquarters as well. I do love the smell of fresh coffee in the morning. Although, I wish their headquarters also doubled as a coffee shop. They give tours but don’t sell coffee. Rude.
Sherwin-Williams Development Site
The general focus of this post is a site behind the award-winning Emeryville Warehouse Lofts building (my office building). It is known simply as the “Sherwin-Williams” site because it is the site of a former Sherwin-Williams paint factory. A lot of people might know it as the area on the other side of the tracks behind Ikea and the Bay Street parking structure.
When I began working at this firm back in 2006 as a clerk, the nearly 100 year old Sherwin-Williams factory was still there and trucks came in and out. They officially shut down operation in December of 2006 and by 2008, the building was all but demolished. Now, in 2010, the site is still undergoing a hazardous chemical clean up in anticipation of a large master development project that is to include a park and residential units.
From the perspective of a worker in a next door building, I have to say the clean up work has been pretty frustrating. Heavy construction vehicles and equipment always blocking the road making it difficult for me to get in and out of our parking structure. I have one flat tire thanks to this activity. Not to mention, the same construction company (Ghilotti) was also working on the other side of my building on the Park Ave. Beautification project (now thankfully, about 90% finished).
But one bright spot during the past year of clean up activity has been a little patch of green that seemed to pop up over night. The patch is located at the intersection of Hubbard St. & Sherwin St., two blocks North of 40th St. The site is complete with a bench, “doggie do do” basket and the mini of all mini putting greens.
This little corner of Emeryville, when finally completed with all development projects, will actually be a very nice mixed-use and reasonably dense neighborhood. As I said, I work in the Emeryville Warehouse Lofts, a pretty big building converted to residential lofts and home to my law firm, Holliday Development and Baker-Villar Architects. Street side, you can also find Shed, a hair salon run by a very nice woman.
On the same plot of land, though a different development, is Blue Star Corner, a very unique set of town homes envisioned by Rick Holliday of Holliday Development. 20 (count’em, 20!) thin and tall townhouses packed cozy into this little patch of land with plenty of room to spare for beautiful landscape.
Emeryville has character and I think its a mis-judgment when I hear people say that it doesn’t. Like most cities, you have to find it. Also remember that Emeryville is a “young” city. It really has only existed as we know it for about 20 years at most. It’s still growing and still finding it’s place in the region.