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Historic Spanish Colonial Oakland church becomes new apartments

After three years, Rose on Bond blooms

Photos by Alex Hernandez, courtesy of Riaz Capital

In 2016, developer Riaz Taplin told Oakland officials that he would transform the beautiful but neglected Spanish Colonial church at 1638 47th Avenue into new apartments while preserving the circa-1930 building’s historic assets.

It took one year longer than projected, but Taplin’s final product is now leasing. And Taplin reports that 97 percent of the 60-unit building is already occupied.

The leasing site lays out the history of the locale and the project:

When the Melrose Baptist Church was built in 1930, the area was a fruit orchard with a few small bungalows. Taking up a whole city block in the Melrose neighborhood of Oakland [...] the building, painstakingly restored and now called the Rose on Bond, is listed on the National Register and recognized as an example of Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture prevalent in the early 20th century, first designed by Wythe, Blaine, and Olsen.

The church’s National Register of Historic Places registration notes that, although neglected, the building was relatively well preserved before the renovation:

The design, materials, and workmanship are all intact. While some materials—specific to the Spanish Revival style—are in poor and in some instances failing condition, there have been no significant exterior physical alterations to the church and school subsequent to the final construction.

[...] A measure of integrity is whether a contemporary would recognize the resource; in the case of Melrose Baptist Church, the answer is yes.

The paperwork notes that the building previously served as a mosque and a school. The biggest change to the place post-Taplin is that the distinctive pink hue of the old building is now gone, but the architectural detail still appears to be in one piece.

National Register of Historic Places
The old church building before renovation.
National Register of Historic Places

In a press release, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf praised the new housing stock as “the right approach to the issues we care deeply about in Oakland: our history, community and housing for our residents.”

The building is divvied up into 32 studios, 26 one-bedroom homes, and two two-bedroom apartments.

The East Bay Times reported in 2016 that apartments would rent from $1,300 to $2,000 per month. Zillow now features one-bedroom units in the building for $2,048.

The chapel.
Open kitchen and family room.