The Cox Cadillac Showroom was originally built as a powerhouse and cable car house for the Piedmont Cable Company in 1889. In 1925 the building was converted into an early Cadillac showroom and housed a Cadillac dealer until the mid-'90s, when Cox Cadillac finally closed. The building was taken on by developer Frank Morrow who redeveloped it into a Whole Foods Market, although he incorporated many of its historic features into the new design.


  • The building just before it was converted into a Whole Foods.
    The building just before it was converted into a Whole Foods.
  • The building while it was still operated by Piedmont.
    The building while it was still operated by Piedmont.

The Cox Cadillac Showroom became an Oakland designated landmark on April 9, 2002. Before this, the City approved a proposal to convert the building into 125 residential units as well as accompanying commercial use and amenities. The housing market shifted, however, and the property was sold to a new developer who dropped the residential aspect of the plans and replaced it with a Whole Foods Market, which opened its doors in 2007.

Before being used as an auto showroom, the building operated as the powerhouse and car barn for the Piedmont Consolidated Cable Company's cable car line. Originally built in 1890, this system’s track ran from downtown and on to, what is today, Oakland Avenue. The Piedmont Baths were constructed next door in order to make use of the excess energy, with the waste steam used to heat its waters.  

Local architect Clay Burrell is credited with converting the former car barn and powerhouse into a showroom for Don Lee Cadillac, which later became Pat Patterson Cadillac, and then Cox Cadillac. In its last incarnation, it was the home of Bill Cox Cadillac and Bill Cox Buick. 

Cox Cadillac Showroom. Local Wiki. Accessed June 11, 2017. https://localwiki.org/oakland/Cox_Cadillac_Showroom.

Levy, Dan. Whole Foods setting up shop in Oakland. SF Gate. November 23, 2017. Accessed June 11, 2017. http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Whole-Foods-setting-up-shop-in-Oakland-2526377.php.