Latest news from RCD

A note of appreciation from a happy resident

“I’m feeling particularly grateful for my home today and felt compelled to share my impressions with you. The construction guys did a suPERB job, outfitting my new unit. The kitchen!..because the door swings IN…the living room is a bit larger. How the building engineer managed to get MORE SPACE inside these walls is endlessly terrific. The updated, modern light fixtures make me feel as if it’s 2019, not 1959… I live to see the expression on the faces of my friends when they see all of the changes here.”

We’re particularly thankful to our donors, sponsors, and grantors for sustaining the lengthy process of housing development. You have helped earn feedback like this!

Wrapping up construction at rehabs

Several years ago, we began three “scattered site rehabs” by grouping sites with similar needs in close proximity to each other under one ownership structure to position them for new investment. We gathered development teams for each project to assess and design the needs at each property and figure out the most efficient means of phasing the construction. And we started to assemble the necessary funding.

Now at the end of construction and newly updated, each property’s character is preserved, with structural and systems upgrades behind the updated and upgraded exteriors. The apartment interiors are upgraded, along with painting, landscaping, accessibility, and security improvements to the communal spaces.

Church Lane Apartments in San Pablo and Idaho Apartments in El Cerrito are home to over 75 residents. Included are 29 units for residents who were formerly homeless and eight three- and four-bedroom units for larger families. Residents at Church Lane, where the community room and courtyard have been revitalized, will benefit from the introduction of an RCD Resident Services Coordinator.

New at Idaho Apartments: two large murals designed by Jerarde Gutierrez  with residents engaged in the design that includes nature and a nod to he area’s past commercial flower growing and an edible garden built and managed by A link to: Planting Justice.

Pinecrest Apartments and Terrace Glen Apartments in Antioch serve almost 100 residents in 56 units. New site-based rental subsidies will help half the households spend no more than 30% of their income for rent. 

We converted Camara Circle and Riley Court in Concord to affordable housing and renovated them in the 1990s and built Elaine Null Apartments in Bay Point in 1995. These communities offer a mix of 41 one-bedroom, 62 two-bedrooms, and 10 three-bedrooms to over 215 residents.

Preserving pieces of Oakland’s history, adding affordability

Two other sites were grouped together for refinancing and development to achieve greater scale that have moved into construction. RCD purchased Empyrean Towers (still known to many as the Menlo) in 2017 to convert it to permanent affordable housing, saving it from becoming a boutique hotel or higher-rent housing. The renovation will create 66 studio and one-bedroom units for individuals and small families.

RCD converted the nearby Harrison Hotel to affordable housing in 1993. The 81 units there provide affordable rent and full supportive services for residents. Among the improvements underway, the resident services spaces will be expanded, there will be accessibility and seismic improvements, and kitchenettes will be added to 30 of the apartments. 

RCD was fortunate to receive major funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation that supported our work with local, state, and federal reviewers on how best to strike a balance between each building’s historic features and the needs for seismic retrofitting and other modernizations. Now, both Empyrean Towers and the Harrison Hotel will be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Historic restoration will include restoring the neon Harrison Hotel marquee and the intricate crown molding in the lobby of Empyrean Towers. Particular care is being taken with the Empyrean Towers’ exterior to restore the marble and terra cotta façade that was hidden behind metal coverings.

Units will be available at Empyrean Towers, with leasing applications available from October 14 to 28, 2019. [ A link to: See website for information.]

A peak at what’s in the pipeline

RCD’s housing production includes a pre-development pipeline of 10 projects that will produce almost 800 units. Two outstanding projects include A link to: David Baker Architects and A link to: Nibbi Brothers General Contractors on the development team.

Coliseum Place is set to begin construction later this year on 59 affordable homes of one- to three-bedrooms. Coliseum Place will have high levels of environmental sustainability as part of our collaboration with the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge Affordable Housing Pilot Program. See some of the ambitious program goals A link to: here.

Sango Court is located on a former light industrial site in the new transit area in Milpitas near the Valley Transportation Authority and the planned BART stations. With 102 units, including 40 for people who have been homeless, Sango Court will be RCD’s first modular, factory built development. See the architectural overview A link to: here.


Neighbors at Park Alameda affirm the value of gathering together on National Night Out. This year, there were similar gatherings at 19 other properties.

Beautiful fruits and vegetables in abundance at Healthy Snack Day. Many thanks to partners at A link to: Alameda County Public Health Nutrition Services and the A link to: Dairy Council of California for a fun and inspiring visit to Clinton Commons.

Members of the Resident Services team at the Affordable Housing Management Association Conference (from left): Alecia, Sequita, David, Anthony. New to the team, Anthony brings experience as a case manager and has extensive experience working with people with substance abuse and mental health issues. David just joined as well to lead our Youth Enrichment Program. He has a background in youth development, including coordinating youth sports leagues, developing partnerships with schools, and leadership development.

We are grateful to these major sponsors of our work!

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