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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Here's How We Mark Progress in Emeryville

Out With the Old
In With the New

Who Needs Stately Beaux Arts Turn-of-the-Century 
Architectural Heritage 
When You Can Get Modern Curved Screening
and Oceans of Stucco?

Emeryville just keeps getting better and better.   We're on the move!  We keep tearing down these old eyesore buildings with their architectural integrity, authentic period materials and old world craftsmanship and replacing them with new buildings that are so new and therefore better.  We know it's better because the City Council majority keeps tearing down Emeryville's old buildings and they would never do anything that's bad for Emeryville.

Take the 'Avalon Building' at the star intersection of Adeline Street and San Pablo Avenue.  For a hundred years there was a stately Beaux Arts triangle shaped building from the turn-of-the-century "city beautiful" era there; the old First National Bank Building.  But in 2000, a developer saw a payday and said he could turn a profit if he tore down that monstrosity and replaced it with a modern stucco building.  It's a job the developer said that would "pencil out".
The City Council majority tells us it's best to defer to the developers.  Emeryville always turns out better when we put them in the driver's know, jobs and all...revenue and whatnot.  So with a subsidy from the taxpayers via the Emeryville Redevelopment Agency, the old blighted eyesore was torn down.  Good riddance!

We keep tearing down these historic buildings so we know we must be doing something right in Emeryville.

Take a look at the pictures below.  See how much better Emeryville is without that old Beaux Arts monstrosity?  Stone quoining blocks, load bearing brick walls, deep set wood sash double hung windows with curved glass, stone columns supporting an entablature comprised of an architrave & frieze with stone mouldings, beveled glass transom window above cope and stick oak doors and copper dentils with ogee cove detailing on a three foot cantilevered cornice has been replaced with aluminum windows, stucco and curved steel screens.  It's so much better now, don't you agree?

The stately old building lent a palpable sense of authentic place to San Pablo Avenue.  But it was old, blighted and it had to go.  The new building could be anywhere but it's new....and better!

 These side by side photos clearly show what the City Council majority of Nora Davis, Kurt Brinkman and Ruth Atkin and their developer friends have delivered to us.  See how they're looking out after our interests?

Adeline and San Pablo Avenue
The replacement: The Avalon Building
Note the beautiful curved screens.
Oceans of Stucco.
New and so much better.
Adeline and San Pablo Avenue
The Old First National Bank Building
circa 1900
Outdated blight.
Old and ugly.

Good riddance!


  1. I see what you mean. Old buildings are no good. If a developer wants to tear one down, we applaud. We say yes, yes a hundred times yes! These old buildings are a disgrace! Next to go, that atrocious 1903 City Hall building. It's more than one hundred years old...hello? That's really old! It's got to go!

    1. The idea isn't to tear down old buildings for the fun of it. The idea is to let free market economics (with a little government grease) be the guide. Developers know best. If a developer could turn a profit by tearing down the old City Hall building then who are we to judge?

  2. I encourage the Emeryville City Council to tear down every building and bring in their favorite developers to "re-imagine" the city to the specifications of the highest bidders.

    It's called urban renewal and the city from border to border is in dire need of it.

  3. Snarky, yet unfocused. What did you want me to feel after reading this?

    1. Feel municipal pride. Pride is appropriate in this case.

  4. At Avalon a non-profit developer saw an opportunity to provide affordable housing to seniors and they did so. It certainly wasn't motivated by profit, because EBADC doesn't turn a profit on their development. Sure, the photo you've posted shows that the building looked great at one time, but I have no idea what it looked like in 1998. It may have only had two walls standing. Who know's? You may be right, but you certainly haven't met the burden of proof with this story. Kurt Brinkman wasn't on the Council in 2000. You try to pin this on him in your paragraph, but your readers know better. I don't know what this is, but it surely isn't journalism.

    1. Interesting, a developer working for no money. Seems like a lot of work to not make any money. But bully on him. Kind of like a modern day Jesus I guess. Pure altruism. He must be a really great guy!

      What did the building look like in 1998? Good point. Who knows? Maybe it was just a tar paper shack. The photo is a fake... a movie set. There's no way of knowing. There's no proof. But if the building did exist, it would have been a good one to tear down though, don't you think?

      Regarding Kurt Brinkman.... It's true has wasn't on the Council in 2000 but he's been involved in lots of tear down decisions since he has been on the Council. He's one of the three that make up the majority. They're the 'tear down three'. But I'm concerned about your use of the words "pin this on him"'s as if you think tearing down buildings isn't a wonderful idea. I don't think Mr Brinkman would appreciate you characterizing him as a radical building saving tree hugger....especially since it's not true. He's got a record of developer hugging and we have him (and the other two) to thank for all these beautiful modern stucco replacements. Kurt Brinkman is helping developers create jobs unlike his colleagues, the two nihilist radical old building savers Jac Asher and Jennifer West.

      Re Journalism: I'm admittedly one sided here, taking the City Council majority at their word. Radical building savers are just that: radical building savers. I could have also asked a Stalinist or any other number of bizarre factions about this but they're outlier radicals. A journalist doesn't always have to get two sides of a story. They don't have to ask someone who denies the holocaust when doing a story on Nazi atrocities.