Oakland, Calif. (November 18, 2020) – Brooklyn Basin, Oakland’s newest waterfront neighborhood, today announced the opening of the highly-anticipated Township Commons public park. The first of five public parks planned for the neighborhood, Township Commons sits alongside the Oakland Estuary with picturesque water views to Alameda and San Francisco. Situated adjacent to the beautifully restored 9th Avenue Terminal building, the park provides expansive outdoor space for visitors, neighbors, and residents to enjoy.
“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, president and founder of Signature Development Group, the Oakland-based development company spearheading the Brooklyn Basin master plan in partnership with Beijing-based Zarsion Holdings Group. “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.”
Township Commons is conveniently situated next to other newly-opened amenities at Brooklyn Basin including Rocky’s Market, a local organic produce and grocery store; The Kitchen at Rocky’s Market, a restaurant serving seasonal menus for outdoor dining or take-away; California Canoe & Kayak, a specialty paddle sports pro shop offering merchandise sales and hourly rentals; and Brooklyn Basin’s first residential offerings, including Orion Apartments, which is now leasing, and MidPen Housing’s Paseo Estero and Vista Estero affordable housing communities, which are expected to open in early 2021.
“We are pleased to see Township Commons opening as the first 211 affordable housing units at Brooklyn Basin are set to open in early 2021,” said Evangelina Lara, community organizer at EBAYC and leader of the Brooklyn Basin Community Benefits Coalition. “These new units will serve many of Oakland’s working families, who will be able to walk from their new homes to this beautiful public open space.”
Design & Community
Designed by Oakland-based Einwiller Kuehl Landscape Architecture, the park transforms a portion of Oakland’s industrial waterfront into a public outdoor space while keeping pre-existing features such as the historic terminal façade and some of the original structure as focal points. Spanning the park are three distinct remnants of the original 9th Avenue Terminal building, including a covered waterfront “community porch” designed for outdoor dining, an expansive open-air deck made from sustainably-harvested wood, and a terminus section containing a giant grassy hill with water views, perfect for picnics and outdoor activities. Numerous brightly-colored and oversized wood chaise lounge chairs are scattered throughout the park, creating what feels like a waterfront living room for the public to enjoy. Plans are in place for public art to be installed in the near future.
Various historical artifacts, discovered throughout the site during the construction process, were also preserved as a tribute to the industrial history of the location and have been integrated and overlaid with new planting and lighting, including original locomotive cowcatchers from trains that once visited the terminal and massive dock tie-ups once used to secure large shipping vessels. The color scheme was drawn from the original industrial space — bulldozer greys, safety oranges and yellows, deep water blues – that reference the site’s history.
“We wanted to transform the eight-acre space into a memorable public space that would be suitable for modern use while keeping elements that told the story and history,” said Sarah Kuehl, co-founder of Einwiller Kuehl Landscape Architecture. “Township Commons is a generational project for Oakland. It needed to be transformative enough that it had a new and better purpose for today. Projects like this don’t happen often, and this is at a level of investment and transformation similar to that of Lake Merritt, a building block that our generation is offering to the future and an important part of reconnecting to our estuary and our waterfront.”
Additionally, the park provides a connection to the Bay Trail, a walking and biking path with 500-miles planned to go around the entire San Francisco Bay through all nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities, and across seven toll bridges.
“We are thrilled that Township Commons is opening as a new public park for the local community,” said Ken Lupoff, executive director for the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation. “With Oakland’s growing population and the critical importance of parks during the COVID pandemic, it’s critically important that all Oaklanders have access to well-maintained public open spaces.”
Township Commons will be open to the public daily from dawn until dusk. Visitors are encouraged to practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
About Brooklyn Basin
Designed to reconnect Oakland with its historic waterfront, Brooklyn Basin is creating a vibrant new mixed-use neighborhood surrounded by open air and stunning views of San Francisco and the East Bay hills. With a vast network of parks and residences, along with a unique blend of cultural, commercial and recreational activities, Brooklyn Basin will provide dynamic new options for the varied and inspiring ways in which we live, work and play.
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