The state of the Oakland housing market in 2018—what is needed and what’s actually being built—can be gauged by a pair of very different new developments located within this city of 425,000 that lies eight miles and a deep body of water directly east of San Francisco.
One is a 33-story tower at 1640 Broadway, designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, that will hold 254 apartments atop an artfully screened parking podium when it opens next spring; monthly rents are likely to start above $2,500 for the smallest studio apartments, with amenities that will include a rooftop lounge with fire pits. The other, located less than 12 blocks away, is decidedly more humble—a cluster of 20 repurposed garden sheds nestled against an elevated highway at 27th Street and Northgate Avenue. Each upgraded shed holds two people who formerly lived in tent camps near the site that were cleared by the city after the “community cabins” opened in May; the doors have deadbolts, and there are double-pane windows to muffle the freeway noise. But toilet facilities are shared, and each shed has only enough electricity to power a single light and recharge cell phones.
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