At our last monthly meeting, the City’s Jeff Kay offered several updates about big construction, parking and BART, utility box art, and more.

1. Construction downtown

Two big projects currently underway!

drawing of Cornerstone Apartments (under construction)

Cornerstone Apartments

The Cornerstone Apartments being built by BRIDGE Housing. It’s across San Leandro Blvd. from BART on property that was BART parking lot. The Cornerstone is expected to be built in two phases, with 115 affordable apartments, a child care space and about 75% of replacement parking for BART.

The second big project is the Tech Campus, located on the other side of BART station—the long green property between Davis and Marina that used to be a Del Monte cannery. The Tech Campus, a much larger undertaking, will be constructed in three phases and—of interest to our arts community—will include a substantial public art project on site.

The City also noted that they are working with these developers to create a better and more fun pedestrian connection between the BART station and the downtown area. Maximum walking enjoyment engaged? Make it so!

2. Parking

As many of our commuters know, the developments above have reduced our available BART parking. The City is trying to address this challenge with several additional parking alternatives. Do you know there’s an available space for you at Davis and Hays, where the food trucks parked last year? Also the big, new garage downtown has a free evening shuttle for those of us that are tired after a long day, are carrying packages, or just want to catch a ride. The shuttle is being run as a pilot project and will be re-assessed once more ridership data is available.

3. The (New) Village and other local changes

In case you haven’t seen the people walking around in our new Village, come visit the newly embiggened enlarged CVS, or Habit Burger or Great Clips, or the new Peet’s Coffee. Also of note: the AT&T office moved across Juana and is now on the Dolores side of The Village with a nice, more roomy store.

Something intriguing happened when CVS moved from their old Callan location to The Village. That property where the old CVS was at Davis Street and Callan Ave? CVS owns the corner parcel and building and the City owns the adjacent parking lot. There are plans in the works to open this lot up to a new development opportunity—possibly housing or mixed use, or whatever works best for our downtown.

Across E. 14th St. from The Village, you may have noticed construction (they call it “burritification”) on a new Chipotle. Some of us are quite excited (organic!) and will be lining up when it opens later this month.

Heubel's Utility Box Art: Fremont Hills (at The Village)

Heubel’s Utility Box Art: Fremont Hills (at The Village)

4. Utility Box Art

You’ve seen them, and they aren’t all that pretty: big, green utility boxes on the side of the street. This is going to change! These boxes are now canvases for artists to express themselves, and for businesses or citizens to sponsor a box or artist. Oooh, art! You can see examples on two of the boxes at The Village. One is along Juana (back of Peet’s), the other along Dolores (near the AT&T). Art boxes have been installed at Root Park and Creekside Plaza, and other locations.

5. Park Redevelopment Underway

A quick shout-out to the City for securing nearly $1.4 million to revitalize three of our parks. Of special note to our Downtown fun-lovers will be a new science-based interactive art exhibit, in partnership with the famed Exploratorium, in the Joaquin Plaza. That’s right, science meets the Post Office, Nations, and Safeway!