February 28, 2011 by 8junebugs
Our first morning in California, Bean called me to say, “Hello! Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here! Please oh please don’t live in Hayward!!!” Then she proceeded to tell us that everything bad now seems to happen in Hayward, which is apparently now the meth capital of the country or something. Maybe Hayward is the new Oakland?
We can’t verify that accusation, but we’d just spent our first night in the worst hotel in our personal and somewhat extensive experience of shacking up where we can get a good rate, and that hotel was in Hayward. Hands down, this takes first place in Scary, With a Side of Crack Den…and I don’t scare easily. Amenities include 24-hour house music (origin unknown — is seems to come from every direction) and carefully managed linen resources (if you’re at the end of the housekeeping line, you may find yourselves with one towel for the room — management said there were no more clean towels of any size, so tough luck).
In 12 hours or less, we were off Hayward completely, so I assured the Bean that our search now centered squarely on Oakland. (And please, for the love of god, don’t ever stay at the Days Inn & Suites in Hayward.)
I don’t think we’re supposed to admit this, but we rented the first apartment we viewed. We did a lot of work up front — I was more worried about not finding a place than about finding one too soon and being bored for the next five days, so we started with a big old spreadsheet and prioritized the places by our three top priorities: Puppy, pricing, and public transportation.
We went to the Allegro at Jack London Square first. We viewed two 1-bedroom units and managed to get the larger one for the price of the smaller one. We lazily attempted due diligence after handing over our deposit — we had 24 hours to change our minds, but the more we tried to convince ourselves to look at other places, the more we realized that the other places couldn’t compete with what we’d found first. The units in the same area with the same amenities (or fewer) couldn’t compete on price, so what was the point? We’d found everything we were looking for.
Here’s the score sheet for our new home, including our big three:
- WASHER AND DRYER IN UNIT (my delight regarding this cannot be overstated)
- Excellent fitness center
- Built-in workspace (desk and shelves)
- Gated, underground, assigned-space parking at no extra charge
- 791 square feet (larger than anything else at this price point in this area)
- Lovely common courtyard space with tables and seating and a shared gas grill
- Lots of outlets and co-ax hookups — this place will be easy to wire
- Excellent timing — the lease starts when we want it to, just a day or two before we roll in
- Walking distance to Lake Merritt BART (as well as 12th street, but that’s a bit farther)
- At least three coffee shops in easy walking distance, including Blue Bottle, which I’m told is extra awesome
- A bunch of good (or promising) restaurants within a few blocks (We heart you, Oakland Grill)
- Wide, decently lit, uncrowded sidewalks (and we were there at different times of the day)
- Lots of dogs and the potential for a nearby dog park
- Trader Joe’s is putting in a location in the neighborhood (we’re told) (!!!)
- More cabinet space than I have in the 1000+ square feet I have now
- Walking distance to the Oakland/SF ferry, as well as Amtrak
791 square feet: It’s big enough for what we need, but I’ve been sprawling in a too-big place for almost three years. I’m actually looking forward to downsizing (I started that weeks ago), but I know it’ll be an adjustment.
The stove: I am really going to miss cooking with gas. You have no idea.
Using the space: We spent some hours window shopping at Ikea and plotting out what will go where, but it’ll still be a puzzle to solve once we arrive.
The bathroom: It’s fine. The smaller unit had better storage, though. Bummer the bigger place wastes even a little of the space it has.
The access: We’re navigating our cable and internet options — they could be okay, but we’re not sure yet. The building is locked into contracts with certain providers; a larger company just bought the building and is trying to change that, but there’s no guarantee.
BART: Getting to either station requires walking under 880. One of us is more concerned about this than the other, and it might not be the one you think.
OMG, y’all, we’re near everything and close enough to almost everyone, while still getting the city neighborhood we need.
I love where this adventure is taking us.