Save Our Claremont is a non-profit organization formed by concerned citizens to inform the community and elected officials of Oakland and Berkeley that the proposed development plans for the venerable Claremont Hotel, an irreplaceable and beloved East Bay landmark, are horrendous and dangerous. We currently have over 750 community members on our mailing list and work closely with neighborhood organizations and local government officials in Oakland and Berkeley, as well as collaborating closely with our non-profit sister organization Claremont Preservation Coalition (http://www.claremontpreservationcoalition.org/).
Current owners AccorHotels, an international hotel chain, acquired the Fairmont Hotel consortium connected with financier Richard Blum in 2014. Signature development has been hired to prepare expansion plans. Concerned citizens have realized the project is massive and unsafe for the setting and the community; many mutually beneficial alternatives exist.
The project would create new residential parcels on a portion of the hotel acreage (an area protected by its nomination for the National Register of Historic Resources and listed as a State of California Historical Resource) that sits atop the Hayward Fault, to enable the construction of a six-story, 43-unit condominium complex atop an underground garage, as well as a large single-family home. The condoplex would not benefit the hotel at all, but merely the investors, as the plans call for excising and selling off the 1-acre parcel from the protected grounds. The condoplex is only one of the many ill-advised alterations to the property that include: 15% club expansion (+250 members); another pool; 7,000 square foot addition to club facilities with a new children’s club, club building, and cabana; illuminated basketball court facing private homes on Claremont Avenue; 98 additional parking spots; and a road routing traffic a stone’s throw from private homes behind the hotel.
In 1991, many lost their homes above the Claremont Hotel in the firestorm, escaping only with their lives. The Hiller Highlands and Caldecott Tunnel condominium complexes were destroyed. The high density of these structures made them impossible to save. The hotel survived the firestorm only due to a shift in the winds. Had it been ignited, the fire would have laid waste to immense swaths of North Oakland and Berkeley. To propose another condominium structure wedged within the landmark hotel grounds, abutting private residences and near the emergency access of Tunnel Road, seems truly foolhardy.
The proposed project will have significant negative impacts on the surrounding schools, residences, streets, and businesses. It poses significant barriers to emergency ingress and egress; creates environmental hazards; and permanently alters what has been recognized by local, state, and national bodies as worthy of full protection.
This is not the first misguided attempt by owners and developers to build on the property (see the history by year). The community has successfully banded together in the past and will do so again to ensure what is best for us all.
With your help, we can build a sensible, safe, beautiful, and livable future for the neighborhood.
Please join us by volunteering and/or donating. It will be a very costly and protracted endeavor.