Jack London District, Oakland, California
|Jack London District|
|Neighborhood of Oakland|
The Oakland Ferry Terminal at the north end of Jack London Square
The Jack London District also called the Loft District is a neighborhood of Oakland, California that occupies the region south of the Nimitz Freeway (Interstate 880) along The Embarcadero between Adeline and Lake Merritt Channel. It includes and surrounds the Jack London Square shopping and tourist area, as well as the Warehouse District north of the Oakland Amtrak Station. The area has a long history of industrial and warehouse land use. Since the late 1990s, the area has seen residential redevelopment.
The district developed early in Oakland's history as a warehouse and industrial district due to its proximity to major transportation: Broadway, Oakland's main street; the Transcontinental Railroad main line along Seventh Street (leading to the immense Oakland Long Wharf); two passenger depots of the Central Pacific Railroad (later, Southern Pacific), located at Seventh and Broadway and First and Broadway; the Key System streetcar line along Broadway; the Oakland Estuary (early referred to as the "Creek"; a bridge, later replaced by underwater tubes to adjacent Alameda; and lastly, a public highway utilizing city streets, connecting to points east and south, replaced in the 1950s by today's Nimitz Freeway, (Interstate 880).
Nearby rail and Oakland's geographic centrality led to early industrial and warehouse development, which quickly spread northwest and southeast, largely along the rail corridors. Rail lines once ran directly alongside warehouse buildings along second, third, and fourth streets, so that freight could be loaded directly from box cars to and from the warehouses. Track is still visible in some areas along the public right of way, many of which lack sidewalks and are currently used to park and store private cars.
The Jack London District encompasses more than 70 blocks and a significant stretch of the Oakland waterfront which had been a prime development project for Oakland's mayor, Jerry Brown. Prior to 2000, housing mainly consisted of the Portbello condominiums (dating from the mid 1970s) and several reused warehouse buildings including the Fourth Street Lofts, the Tower Lofts, the Brick House Lofts, the Pocket Lofts, the Portico Lofts and the Phoenix Lofts. Since 2000, over one thousand new units of housing have been built in the area including The Sierra, the New Market Lofts, the Allegro Condominiums, The Landings, 288 Third, 428 Alice, AquaVia and 200 Second Street. A neighborhood association in the district, The Jack London District Association, attempts to advocate for the interests of the residents and commercial users of the District.
The Jack London District includes Jack London Square, one of Oakland's largest tourist attractions, which is an area of retail and office buildings that reside on the former heart of Oakland's port operations. With the advent of containerized shipping the Port of Oakland and most of its operations has moved up the Estuary helping Jack London Square open up to the retail shops and restaurants it now houses, including Yoshi's jazz club. However, business in the square has been suffering recently. In 2004, a major redevelopment of Jack London Square was approved including a hotel, movie theater, and "harvest hall". As of 2006[update], little of this had been built and Jack London Square's influence in the area was quietly waning, as many tenants of the retail area either left or went out of business, due to the reduced consumer activity. The start of 2007 showed a little more promise, with construction of one of the buildings underway. On October 22, construction finally started on harvest hall. This groundbreaking acts as a key addition to many new construction projects, happening in downtown Oakland over the last several months.
- Francine Brevetti (23 October 2007). "Oakland's Jack London Market moves closer to reality". The Oakland Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2010-02-13.