Keep Oakland Beautiful Point of Interest: Cathedral Building.

Keep Oakland Beautiful Points of Interest remind us of how interesting and beautiful Oakland is and why we should care about protecting it.


Celebrating its centennial, the 14-story, thin, triangular Cathedral Building (1615 Broadway) is one of the finest examples of gothic revival architecture on the west coast. Located on Latham Square at the junction of Broadway and Telegraph, the building was the first gothic revival skyscraper built west of the Mississippi River; it was originally named the Federal Realty Building.

The exterior of the building is highlighted by a number of terra cotta spires that give the property its cathedral-like appearance. The building style has also been referred to as ‘wedding cake’ (I think ‘slice of wedding cake’ is more apropos) and ‘flatiron,’ no doubt due to its triangular footprint.  The Cathedral Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.


Today, the Cathedral Building is a mix of commercial and resident spaces. Floors 7 through 14 are private condominiums, with two to three bedrooms, two baths, and walls of windows that look out on and over downtown Oakland. One of these residences recently sold for over $1.3 million.

A few years ago, a fashion entrepreneur leased the first floor of the Cathedral Building, hoping to start a fashion district in Oakland. Unfortunately, during the Occupy Oakland protests, the space was vandalized and looted. The first floor is now vacant, its windows covered in butcher paper.


The Cathedral Bar has now leased the first floor space and is expected to open in the summer of 2015. For the sake of the new owner, the building’s residents, and all Oaklanders, let’s hope that future demonstrations in downtown Oakland  are peaceful and that protesters find ways for their voices to be heard without resorting to vandalizing their fellow community members.


Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.

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