Bringing in the Harvest at Jack London Square
Marketplace, Restaurants, Hotel on Redevelopment Menu
If developers are right, Oakland is poised to join San Francisco and Berkeley in a culinary triangle of excellence. A 185,000-square-foot marketplace, to be called California Harvest Hall, will be the centerpiece of a $300-million redevelopment project in Jack London Square on Oakland's Embarcadero.
"Oakland has always played a key role in California's food history, dating from the transcontinental railroad in the 1800s to the entrepreneurs of the 20th century," said Hal Ellis, a principal in Jack London Square Partners. Oakland has been the birthplace to global food brands, including Del Monte, Safeway Stores, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Jelly Belly Candies, Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, Peerless Coffee and Trader Vic's restaurants.
The project (also referred to as Jack London Square Phase II) is a private-public collaboration among Jack London Square Partners, the Port of Oakland and the City of Oakland. "There is a rich agricultural and culinary history in this area, and the Port of Oakland has long been a focal point in distributing California's bounty to the world and the rest of the U.S. We want to celebrate those traditions," stated Jim Falaschi, a principal in Jack London Square Partners.
A Banquet of Delights
Preliminary plans envision a banquet of culinary delights and advent rues, including:
- A daily fresh market of fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, pasta, cheeses and baked goods.
- Waterfront restaurants and quick cafés.
- A professional cooking school.
- A chef's hall of fame.
- Specialty retail shops.
- An exposition of California food and wine companies and producers, and agricultural products.
Part of a Larger Redevelopment Project
The California Harvest Hall is just one of a series of improvements planned for Jack London Square. Other projects envisioned include a conference center hotel and spa; restoration of the building at 66 Fanklin to its original 1926 façade and construction of a new office building; a state-of-the-art movie theatre complex, additional destination restaurants and parking facilities. The project also will continue and expand the Bay Trail through the square.
The project received approval from the Oakland City council and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission in 2004. It also will protect the district's natural landscapes and add green space and view corridors.
Jack London Square Partners presented their initial plans to the City of Oakland Planning Commission in October 2003. The project received approval from the Oakland City Council and the San Francisco Bay Conversation and Development Commission.
"Harvest Hall is for every person, everyday," said Falaschi. "The entire scope of the project will bring vibrancy and vitality to Jack London Square. It will be a local hub and regional draw, benefiting Oakland with much-needed revenue and the creation of 2,000 permanent jobs."
The restoration of 66 Franklin will be the first part of the project to be completed in 2005, just in time for visitors to enjoy the fruits of summer at Jack London Square.