SFBT reporting groundbreaking of “AVB Emeryville” 389-Unit Public Market apartments

1 min read

Overshadowed by our coverage of the 500 unit Sherwin-Williams development is the groundbreaking of 389 apartment units as part of the Public Market Redevelopment. Avalon Bay Communities’ AVA “Public Market” and AVA “Market Place” will come by way of a two-phase construction effort that includes separate 167 and 222-unit projects respectively.

The locations of the new apartments are at the former theater site and in the lot to the West of the Amtrak Bridge (All images: TCA Architects).

Designed by TCA Architects, the centerpiece of the 26,151 sq. ft. project is said to be the “Bridge Walk”, which will drastically improve the stairwell on the western side of the existing Amtrak bridge (Artist rendering in the above first slide). The Eastern side will receive improvements from the in-progress Transit Center project directly across the tracks.

The approval of the project came after a contentious “negotiation” between our then council and the developers over the percentage of affordable units. The city successfully leveraged the realigning of Shellmound to increase the designated affordable units from 33 to 5o units or 11% (which is the current percentage of “affordable” housing stock across the city).

The theater site project plans to break ground in the third quarter of this year and both are expected to be completed in 2018. SFBT notes average rents projected at $3,605.

Exclusive: Nearly 400 homes start construction in tiny East Bay city

By Roland Li

AvalonBay Communities Inc. is building 389 rental apartments in two phases in Emeryville, one of the largest projects in the two-square-mile city.

AvalonBay (NYSE: AVB) started construction in the third quarter of 2016 on the 167-unit Avalon Public Market building at 5900 Shellmound St. It also plans to break ground in the third quarter of this year on the 222-unit AVA project at 6301 Shellmound St.

Read more on The SF Business Times (subject to pay wall) →


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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. At $3,605 average rent, they’re going to have a hard time renting the units. I currently live at Parc on Powell and 1 bedrooms are $2,800/month. The glut of rental units in SF and Oakland and net loss of residents in the region is depressing rental rates.

  2. Do any of these planners live in Emeryville? I’ve been here for 21 years and the modernization of this city was welcomed but now, we’ve become an over-congested little city – pollution is up, traffic hazards are up, crime is up. It would be humane and socially responsible to have a moratorium on new developments and allow those of us who live here to enjoy what we’ve invested into already. Sunday walks are no longer enjoyable but dangerous with the crush of shoppers jamming the streets. Evening rush hours on Christie Ave can look like a stinking parking lot. The brain trust that is allowing for all these developments needs to rethink their fiscal thirst and consider more of the civil rights of its citizens in the dangers they’re producing.

  3. I welcome this change if it will mean additional services and amenities for those who will be living in the Christie Core, myself included. I suppose that beats the empty Public Market parking lot area of current that has become a haven for potsmokers in their cars at night and an AC Transit break room for bus drivers to park (and double park) while chatting each other up.

    That being said, I am unsure if such a vision will ever come to fruition given the city’s MWO. Realistically I expect more empty “mixed-use” street level shops. Plus, Public Market needs to offer more than glorified Asian fusion truck food. Recent developments such as the newly opened Orangetheory and plans for establishments serving alcohol are a step in the right direction but who knows how long these small business will survive under the MWO.

    Anyway, City Hall’s goal of having soul-less yet high-earning techies fund their progressive utopia will only work if the techies want to dump their money in Emervyille. For $3,600 they can do the same in a city that actually has services and amenities and doesn’t involve a commute over the Bay Bridge.

    • Very true. Until city council drops the MWO for small businesses, Eville will be littered with vacant ground floor retail, and the corresponding lack of tax revenues. Save the MWO for the Targets/Ikeas/HomeDepots.

    • I suspect all the retail will actually all just go to chains and high margin shops (a la Rockridge and Walnut Creek). The MWO was a gentrification move.

      You drive out the poor people by making it too expensive to live here or to employ unskilled labor here.

      The MWO made Emeryville a place where the rich white folk could say ‘look how progressive we are’ while telling everyone else to GTFO.

      It’s working.

  4. According to the plans – it doesn’t look like there will be any parking? One will no longer be able to park easily to run into Peet’s Coffee to pick up beans?

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