The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) and its project partners celebrated the groundbreaking of the California Hotel revitalization on Wednesday, July 25th in Oakland, CA. The event was attended by Mayor Jean Quan, California Hotel residents, project funders and community supporters.
CSH provided EBALDC with a capacity building grant and an early pre-development loan to help spur its planning activities to acquire and rehabilitate the property. With capital funding support from the City of Oakland, State of California Housing and Community Development, Alameda County HOPWA, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services / Mental Health Services Act Housing Program and Enterprise, EBALDC was able to acquire the hotel in 2011 and begin its work on the major rehabilitation of the building.
After the project’s completion, the California Hotel will provide 137 affordable housing units for very low-income households, including 34 units targeted to people with special needs (e.g. living with HIV/AIDS, serious mental illness, etc.) and/or formerly homeless. The rehabilitated building will also include space for commercial and community facilities, including offices for its service provider partner – LifeLong Medical Care, a nonprofit FQHC.
Located at 3501 San Pablo Avenue, the California Hotel is a local landmark, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Built in the 1920s, during its heyday the Mission-Spanish Revival style building played a prominent role in Oakland’s burgeoning jazz and blues scenes, playing host to performances by James Brown, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Sly Stone, and Big Mama Thornton, among other music legends.
The California Hotel faced financial troubles and ceased operations in 1971. In the 1980s, the abandoned hotel was converted into affordable housing by a new owner, Oakland Community Housing, Inc. (OCHI). Following the 2007 dissolution of OCHI, the residents of the California Hotel fought eviction from the building. As a result, the building was placed under the control of a court-appointed trustee, allowing residents to remain in their apartments.
EBALDC’s work at the California Hotel is a key component of the organization's Healthy Neighborhoods initiative, a commitment to transform Oakland’s disadvantaged neighborhoods into healthy ones where residents have access to stable housing, healthy food, services, and educational and employment opportunities. The vision of the project is that the revitalized California Hotel will serve as a beacon for a healthy neighborhood along the corridor.