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Preservation Action

Two historic buildings studied for demolition by GE, which formerly

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Dear Members and Friends,

Here's an update since our last communication regarding the proposed historic GE plant demolition. The comment period has been extended to April 11 at 4 pm! If you haven't sent in your comments already, please do so. There's a sample below, or feel free to write your own. Please contact Naomi Schiff (naomi@17th.com) or Daniel Levy (dlouislevy@gmail.com) if you have questions.

Two historic buildings on 24-acres at 5441 International Boulevard are being studied for demolition by GE, which formerly operated a transformer assembly plant there. GE is under orders to do remediation for toxics (PCBs mostly). The buildings are contributors to the Historic 57th Avenue Industrial District Area of Primary Importance. One has an extremely high rating (A1+, think City Hall or Municipal Auditorium), determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Report are due by April 11 at 4 pm.

GE proposes to demolish everything, cap it with concrete, and leave a huge bare area along this important thoroughfare. We seek your help! Please send comments before April 11. We're providing a bullet list of possible points in a sample letter below.


Link to Planning Commission and Landmarks Board Agendas, Staff Reports, and Videos

Link to Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)

Oakland Heritage Alliance
(510) 763-9218
Sample Letter:

Dear Mr. Vollmann,

I am commenting on the DEIR for 5441 International Boulevard.
- The historic GE buildings in the 57th Avenue API should be retained, remediated, and reused. 

- The alternatives presented are insufficient. Please study and present potential reuses for the historic buildings and for the site as a whole.

- A 24-acre blank area should not be an option for International Boulevard.

- If the buildings are to be demolished, the mitigations are too weak. They should be strengthened, and monetary contributions spent in East Oakland, not all over town.

- GE is a huge company. They must remediate a site that they used and contaminated for decades, endangering the health of Oakland workers and residents.

- The project description is flawed because it does not include potential later uses for the site, including the energy facility mentioned in the DEIR, and unspecified developments mentioned by GE's representative at the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board. The project must be completely defined in order to have adequate environmental review.

- The environmentally superior alternative is incorrect. Though Variant A of the No Development Alternative may be cheaper, Variant B of the Preservation alternative is the environmentally superior one, as it protects both resources for a longer period of time through seismic upgrades.

Please add me to the notification list for this project.

Thank you.

446 17th Street, Suite 301
Oakland, CA 94612