Oakland real estate continues to show a lot of strength, despite the pandemic.

New York-based Pere Holdings has broken ground on the 14-unit Burrows Street Townhouses, with sale prices starting at $549,000.

“Oakland is undergoing an unprecedented boom,” says Pittsburgh/South African developer Douglas Mothusi Guy, who is partnering on the project.  “It’s in a neighborhood that literally has no new high-end housing, yet has one of the biggest biotech and robotics presences in the world.”

Guy is one of three founders of PEER  Africa, a design-build firm in Africa that works toward transforming informal communities into “resilient, sustainable formal communities.”

The Burrows St. development is in West Oakland at 112-134 Burrows St., near Carlow University and Fifth Avenue. Guy describes the location as formerly a “collection of neglected home parcels,” one of which he lived in while attending Pitt. “There is almost no land available in Oakland to develop,” notes Guy.

The distinctive design is from the renowned Philadelphia-based Interface Studio Architects, led by Brian Phillips. It’s inspired by local topography and geology.

“These (former) homes were constructed nearby a coal seam, which used to be very common in Pittsburgh hillsides, and consist of a dark black ribbon of coal running through limestone rock above and below,” says Guy. “The architect, who is a creative modernist, used that as his inspiration and designed the facades of the homes using Shou Sugi Ban Japanese charred wood and a limestone colored brick to create bands of charcoal grey and warm light grey that mimics the coal seams, but in a new geometric pattern that is the architect’s signature.”

Burrows Street Townhouses kitchen.

Each residence is three stories and has 2,245 square feet of space, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and an attached hidden garage that’s accessible from the rear of the homes.

Custom interiors from James Mohn Design, of Sewickley and New York, feature marble kitchens and bathrooms. Lighting fixtures come from Schoolhouse Electric — buyers will get a credit to work with Schoolhouse’s in-house designers to choose their own custom fixtures.

Environmental features include energy-efficient split system heating and cooling, with smart thermostats, insulated windows and electric car charging outlets.

Burrows Street Townhouses rooftop deck.

“My favorite features are the giant 10’x10′ windows on the ground floor because they allow in plenty of natural light,” says Guy. “Additionally, because of the hilltop location, the roof decks have views and fresh air.”

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.