New plans have been filed to the Oakland Planning Commission for a new religious community hub at 5901 College Avenue for the city’s Rockridge neighborhood. The plans would repurpose an existing office space and create a new home for the non-profit Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, remaining in Alameda County. Equity Community Builders is responsible for the application.
The plans for JCC to expand and move out of the current aging facilities date back several years. The non-profit shares online that its ambition for the new location is to create “a place of inclusivity and belonging—a place where all of our local organizations can come together in a central location to maximize our resources, to amplify our collective impact, and to better serve our rich and diverse community.”
The nearly three-acre site includes five buildings with existing retail. The shops will be retained, with no full-building demolition proposed. Work will be limited to interior renovations, facade reskinning, rezoning to allow for daycare uses, and transitioning a portion of the 140-car surface parking into landscaped open space and a playground. Parking will be retained for 97 cars and 22 bicycles.
The property was purchased back in 2019 by the commercial real estate company, Libitzky Property Companies, to assist in establishing a centralized community hub for the JCC East Bay instead of their current location in Berkeley. The non-profit’s administrative office has already been moved to the location, working out of 6048 Claremont Avenue.
The East Bay has the largest number of Jewish residents across the Bay Area, housing around 37% of all Jewish households in the region.
The largest building is 5901 College Avenue, currently serving as offices for Nestle/Dreyers and the location of five retail tenants. Their lease is expected to continue through December 2024, after which ECB will transform the space into a new preschool, administrative offices, and a kosher café.
Two Jewish non-profit community organizers operate out of 6012 and 6016 Claremont Avenue. 6028 Claremont will be renovated to host an afterschool and camp program, adult education classes, and a fitness center for yoga, meditation, and dancing. The space will be able to host events for Jewish holidays, cultural and arts events, mental health services, and refugee services.
Future visitors and employees to the hub will be just two blocks from the Rockridge BART Station and be easily accessible by AC Transit. Equity Community Builders has not yet replied to a request for comment.