EMERYVILLE -- A Bay Area building developer unveiled its latest addition to its EmeryStation Campus with a flourish of art and philanthropy.
Wareham Development celebrated the grand opening of its building at 5800 Hollis St. by debuting a 12-foot bronze sculpture by New York artist Frederick Gelb.
"In looking at Emeryville, there's this incredible rebirth of community from business leaders to city leaders," said Gelb, about the addition his piece entitled "All Together Now," after a similarly titled Beatles song, to the city's landscape. "This is fantastic; everybody working all together to maintain and do great things."
The piece is three muscular people supporting each other. The idea for it came out of his struggle with prostate cancer, according to Gelb, who began working on the project two and a half years ago.
"It's people working together for a single purpose," he said of the statue.
"All Together Now" was commissioned by the company's president Richard Robbins, who said that "it speaks for the reason we build what we build."
The artwork was meant to meld together the purpose of the company with that of the new building, which is a 99,000 square foot research facility.
The EmeryStation Campus currently serves other companies devoted to research, particularly biotechnology and green technology, said development partner Geoffrey Sears, but there are a few planning to work on oncology.
The company is hopeful that the new building, where construction started last year, will not only bring in new research and health ventures but also employment opportunities to the area, a goal that received the blessing from the city and the Emeryville's mayor's office.
"The city has backed this project ... to help mitigate some of the circumstances here," said Kurt Brinkman, vice mayor.
According to development officials, the area used to be a scrap yard for forklifts.
From the blight, a courtyard was also created around the statue.
However, the grand opening was not meant to just celebrate Wareham Development's new property. The company also donated $10,000 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and $5,000 to the Emeryville Center for the Arts -- an organization that strives to bring artists to public schools -- to further the integration of Gelb's artwork.
"We're able to incorporate a couple things in the building that will allow us to celebrate the arts," Robbins said, " ... and giving back to public education,"