Sandwiched between rail lines in the East Bay town of Union City is a former brownfield site that is now home to an impressive new affordable housing development. Station Center was designed by David Baker + Partners and is a 157-unit apartment complex complete with resident garden plots, a playground, fitness center, community rooms and retail spots. Certified LEED Platinum for Mid-Rise Homes, the project features solar hot water, photovoltaics, a tight thermal envelope, energy-efficient systems and Bay Friendly Certified landscaping.
Station Center Affordable Housing is part of the larger Union City Master Plan and revamping of the transit centers. The site for the project is sandwiched between a freight line and a commuter rail line, and it was previously an underutilized brownfield site. The redevelopment provides the community with easy access to transit and a new mixed-use housing and commercial area. Two 5-story buildings wrap around a central, protected courtyard. Community rooms open up onto the courtyard and connect to an outdoor pool and fitness center. The courtyard doubles as a playground with playful gorilla statues and garden plots for residents. On the exterior is a mural by Mona Caron, who enlisted the help of residents to add a message of “Welcome” in their native languages.
The buildings were constructed to achieve a high level of energy efficiency, and the entire project has earned a LEED Platinum certification. Energy efficiency strategies include the use of operable windows, high-efficiency lighting, Energy Star appliances, motion sensors for lighting in public areas, exterior sunshades, high-performance insulation, and a high-efficiency gas-powered boiler heats domestic hot water. The rooftop is covered in solar hot water and photovoltaic panels that provide energy for the building. Surrounding the project is sustainable landscaping that minimizes water use by 193,282 gallons of water per year and rainwater is captured for irrigation use. Inside, all the apartments feature low- or no-VOC paints, finishes, carpet and cabinetry, along with low-flow fixtures and built in recycling.
Images ©Bruce Damonte