Posted: Sep 5, 2008, 5:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
OAKLAND, CA | 1938 Broadway | 715 FT / 218 M | 56 FLOORS
Friday, September 5, 2008
Highrise hopes in Oakland
Soaring tower eyed
San Francisco Business Times - by Blanca Torres
East Bay developer Peter Wang is back for round two of trying to develop the tallest building in Oakland.
After withdrawing a previous application to build a 63-story tower, Wang’s firm, Encinal Jackson, submitted an application to build a 56-story tower rising to 715 feet at 1938 Broadway. The building would dwarf the city’s current tallest structure, the Ordway Building at 1 Kaiser Plaza, by more than 300 feet.
“(Oakland) does not have a landmark on its city-scape and that creates a lack of identity,” Wang said. “The city of Oakland deserves to have a very beautiful building like this.”
The proposed tower would contain 1.5 million square feet of space, including 790,000 square feet of office, 320,000 square feet of parking, 75,000 square feet of retail and 220 residential units.
The building, designed by global architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, features a modern, glass-lined cylindrical shape with a section that curves down one side resembling a roll of fabric unraveling. Wang said he withdrew the previous application because he did not like the 63-story building’s design.
“The intent of this building is to be a signature building to bring people back downtown and generate excitement,” said Mike Pfeffer, the architect and project manager for the building. “If and when this gets built and if it’s successful, they’ll be many buildings of this type in the area.”
Wang’s original proposal was submitted under the 10K Plan, former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown’s initiative to bring 10,000 new residents to downtown. Now, the project could end up as part of a surge of residential building in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.
Forest City completed its 665-unit Uptown rental project and has plans to add another 350 residential units in the next two years. Avant Housing, a partnership between San Francisco firms AGI Capital and TMG Partners, is looking to build up to 200 housing units, a 650-car parking garage, a full-service grocery store and a 150-room hotel at Telegraph Avenue and 21st Street.
The area is known for its cultural elements, including a variety of restaurants and the Fox Theater, a historic performance venue that is undergoing renovation. It also has access to BART and is close to Lake Merritt and the city’s downtown.
The Encinal site is a two-acre parcel on Broadway between 19th and 20th streets and has two existing buildings. One is a one-story structure that will be torn down; the other, the Tapscott Building, is a historic four-story structure that Wang will renovate and use for retail space.
Encinal Jackson submitted its application in July. Heather Klein, a planner with the city of Oakland, said it could take another year to receive entitlements. Wang said his timing on the project will also depend on money.
“From a location standpoint, it’s a neighborhood that is very much on the upswing and it’s close to transportation,” said Larry Westland, a broker with TRI Commercial in Oakland. “But, it would be very challenging to find financing for a project like that the way the market is right now.”
Encinal Jackson is holding an open house to answer questions about the project at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at the Oakland Marriott.
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Last edited by BTinSF; Sep 5, 2008 at 7:50 PM.