City Center Building

The City Center Building, known briefly as Centennial Tower, is clearly visible as the tallest building in Hayward, California. It is the tallest in Hayward, and was previously the second tallest, until the 2013 razing of Warren Hall on the Cal State East Bay campus. It is currently an abandoned building located between Foothill Boulevard and City Center Drive, in the City Center section of Downtown Hayward, adjacent to the PlazaCenter mall. It was formerly used as Hayward City Hall.[1][2][3]

City Center Building
Hayward City Center Building
Former namesCentennial Tower
General information
TypeCity hall
Business offices
Location22300 Foothill Boulevard
Coordinates37.679405°N 122.082353°W / 37.679405; -122.082353
Construction started1966
OpenedOctober 18, 1969
OwnerMika Realty of Los Angeles
Technical details
Floor count11
Design and construction
ArchitectMitchell Van Bourg


The City of Hayward opened the steel reinforced concrete building on October 18, 1969. It was originally planned to have 20 floors and a cinema, but only 11 floors were built, with no cinema. The building served as Hayward's city hall from 1969 to 1998. Its top floor was the seat of municipal government and other floors were leased to businesses. It was designed to replace the old Hayward city hall, now located at Alex Giulini Plaza. It was the first building in the planned City Center complex. Architectural critic Allan Temko nicknamed the building "the toaster" in the 1970s, strongly influencing public opinion against it. The Centennial Hall Convention Center was added to the complex.

In the 1980s, the PlazaCenter complex of retail and commercial businesses was built next to it, on the former grounds of Hayward High School.

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the building's structural integrity and the city government moved out of the building.[4] In 1998, after the completion of the new city hall, the building was closed to the public. The city sold the building for $1.5 million in 1998 to a developer who planned to convert it to condominiums. They renamed it "Centennial Tower" and sold it to another developer. Condominium conversion was never implemented, as it was considered too expensive. In 2006 plans were made to demolish the building. A year later, the demolition was canceled. On November 1, 2009, the adjacent Centennial Hall Convention Center closed, and was subsequently demolished.

New Hayward City Hall

The new City Hall opened in January 1998. It is located at B Street and Watkins Street, next to the Hayward BART station.

Current conditions

The building remains vacant. The interior walls, pipes and heating system have been removed. There are numerous broken or boarded-up windows. Graffiti is visible on the windows and top floors. In January 2008 a fence was erected around the building to deter vandalism. In March 2010 a fire broke out on the top floors of the tower.[5] Homeless people have occupied the first floor, and taken out copper pipes to sell as scrap.[6]

Plans for the site

Plans were announced in early 2008 for remodeling the tower, including seismic retrofitting and conversion to office space.[7] There were also plans to build condominiums over the Centennial Hall parking garage, which has not been demolished. The building closed in 2009. In 2010, the city opened bidding for its demolition. Instead of demolition, the site only had hazardous materials removed.[8]


  1. Archived June 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Hayward has low opinion of its tallest buildings". Inside Bay Area. 2006-08-20. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
  3. "Vacant Hayward City Hall gains new life - San Francisco Business Times". Retrieved 2013-09-12.
  4. O'Brien, Matt (January 16, 2006). "Tower owner to ask for more time". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  5. "Three-Alarm Fire Controlled At Old Hayward City Hall Building". 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
  6. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2011-07-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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