Perfect for these socially-distanced times, Oakland’s new outdoor waterfront living room opened at Brooklyn Basin on Wednesday.
Created from the remains of the 9th Avenue shipping terminal built in 1930, Township Commons park was designed by Oakland-based Einwiller Kuehl Landscape Architecture. Liz Einwiller, Sarah Kuehl and their team managed to transform a once-blighted industrial waterfront into a public outdoor space while keeping key pre-existing features such as the eastern-facing historic terminal front, gigantic metal structural trusses and the skeleton of the triangle-shaped terminus on the western end.
Some retail has opened in what’s left of the 20,0000-square-foot terminal building, including Rocky’s Market, The Kitchen at Rocky’s Market with outdoor dining, and California Canoe & Kayak.
An acre of wooden decking on the pier with bright yellow oversized wooden chaise lounge chairs and benches scattered throughout gives the feel of a boardwalk, and developers plan to install public art in the future. The park also provides a connection to the Bay Trail.
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Oakland-based Signature Development Group is spearheading the Brooklyn Basin master plan in a partnership with Beijing-based Zarsion Holdings Group.
“Parks and public spaces are more important now than ever, and I’m happy we can provide a new outdoor space for Oaklanders to enjoy,” said Michael Ghielmetti, Signature’s president and founder.
The 4 1/2-acre public space is the first in the initial phase of the 65-acre development, which will include several marinas and residences in a range of styles including apartments, townhouses, lofts and condominiums. Two high-rise towers are also planned as well as 32 acres of parks along the Oakland Estuary.
“Township Commons is the centerpiece of the new and growing Brooklyn Basin neighborhood and provides a beautiful new community amenity. The space is designed to accommodate small gatherings, performances by local musicians and artists, and other community activities which we plan to offer when it is safe to do so, Ghielmetti said.