1900 Broadway Rendering

While designs for a 56-story “Encinal” tower to rise on the Uptown site were envisioned back in 2006, designs which would have produced Oakland’s tallest building, those plans were abandoned in the subsequent downturn.  But if approved by Oakland’s Planning Commission this evening, a 33-story residential tower, as rendered above, could rise up to 339-feet in height at 1900 Broadway.

As designed by Brick for developer Seth Hamalian, the proposed 1900 Broadway project includes the renovation and conversion of the adjacent historic Tapscott Building, atop of which a setback fifth floor, pool, deck and outdoor space would be added.

1900 Broadway Rendering: Open Space

A 20-foot wide courtyard would separate the Tapscott Building from the new tower, and the parking would be in a six-level structure, “tucked to the rear of the site, hidden from view from passersby.”

1900 Broadway Rendering: Courtyard

In total, the development would yield 345 residential units, with parking for 333 cars and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail.

Oakland’s Planning Department is recommending the project be approved as proposed.  An approval could be appealed to the City Council within 10 days of the vote, but an appeal isn’t expected.

UPDATE: As expected, the development was approved as proposed.

44 thoughts on “33-Story Oakland Tower Approved”
    1. I agree. With Oakland’s excellent weather there is no reason (other than developer profit) for an enclosed glass box without outdoor areas for each apartment.

    2. I’ve never loved balconies – they always seem underused. A place to stash your bike and let your plants die. And maybe every few months or so someone goes out there for a smoke during a party.

      1. The key is to make larger (deeper) balconies that are really more like decks. Some high end buildings have exactly that and I think it works much better.

        1. Zactly. You need a minimum distance of 6 feet, ideally 8 feet or more, to feel comfortable on any balcony more than a few stories up. Narrow balconies at height usually evoke a subconscious “OMFG theres a cliff right there” feeling that is not compatible with relaxation.

        2. I’d rather have a deeper living footprint if I’m up 30 stories. Balcony is not needed. Snow Park & Lake Merritt is a 5 minute walk away!

  1. Awesome. The fact that they are leaving the corner building intact (and the old signage, to boot!) is incredibly refreshing. Is there any progress on 1100 Broadway (a similar setup: historic building left intact and a new one built adjacent)?

  2. Looks sharp. Oakland might be able to learn from some of the mistakes being made in SF and really come out ahead(ish) [if this sort of development is any indication].

    1. Opposition to the Lake Merritt tower was principally about the use of city-owned land without an affordable housing component. Which was enough to kill it (for a while). Any NIMBY concerns about aesthetics, traffic, height, shadows, etc., were completely steamrolled, and all indications are that this tower (and other similar towers proposed under new specific plans) on private land will sail through.

      [Editor’s Note: Controversial [Lake Merritt] Tower Deal Likely Illegal.]

          1. how so?

            its crazy how little housing has been built in oakland this cycle – like just a couple hundred market rates units. how much time is left before sh!t hits the fan?

          2. Because there has been almost no gentrification or new development in this entire cycle. Of course things are different when nothing is changing. Wait until it does. Oakland can blow up and rally against anything with the best of them.

          3. Barely even in the hundreds. Oakland had 316 units under construction in June 2014 compared with SF’s 5,000+ (from bizjournal)

        1. Agree – given the strength of the Occupy / Anonymous movements there, anti-growth efforts in Oakland have the potential to make San Francisco look like a developer’s paradise.

          1. Y’all are focusing on the failures and ignoring a bunch of built or approved projects.

  3. This is a great sign of things to come for Oakland. The trend so far to completely save historic buildings and a faux-front which seems par for the course in SF.

    As the available lots zoned for hi-rise residential construction rapidly diminishes in SF you will see a major shift in hi-rise residential development to Oakland. To boot it has better transportation links.

    The Gang tower is an awesome design. It will not be built in SF. Even if the PV approves the exception it will be killed at the ballot.

    What should happen is the developer build this project in Oakland and go 20 stories higher (plenty of sites zoned for 40, 50 and more stories in Oakland already w/o having to seek an exception) as the true magnificence of the design needs more height to be fully realized.

    1. No, what’s needed is an exemption to the asinine height restriction for that site at the foot of Folsom so that it can be built where it can be fully appreciated at 600′.

  4. At 33 stories I think this will become Oakland’s tallest by 3 stories.

    [Editor’s Note: While only 28-stories, the Ordway Building (a.k.a. One Kaiser Plaza) is 404 feet.]

    1. As the editor noted there were plans for a 56 story tower at one time for the site. Plus way back there were plans for a mega-tower in Oakland.

      The height limits are much more relaxed in Oakland.

      At some point there will be mega-towers (over 60 stories) in Oakland. Will they reach for the century mark as LA is doing and Seattle may do? Can’t answer that.

      In SF the Salesforce tower at 62 stories will be the tallest. Nothing taller will ever be built because of the shadow ordinance for one thing and a host of other reasons. The Salesforce tower was actually shortened because of the shadow ordinance.

      Pretty much going forward it will be a 40 story max in SF and that is on the diminishing number of sites zoned for hi-rise towers. Mayor Lee may want to up-zone that area around Caltrans but it will never happen. Going forward I expect the rule will be downzoning if anything in SF.

      1. “The height limits are much more relaxed in Oakland.”

        Um, what? No, they’re not. There are many more areas in SF zoned for highrises, and even those places in Oakland that are zoned for highrises are a big question mark. If a bunch of new highrises were proposed tomorrow in Oakland, my guess is that community opposition would be so fierce as to make SF’s no wall on the waterfront stuff seem mild.

        1. I disagree. Community opposition is less in Oakland. And what there is is “low brow” – the poorer folks. Unlike SF where a lot of the opposition comes from the upper class which, let’s be real, carries more weight than the lower class.

          When the Warriors finally give up on SF and announce a new stadium in the a-budding stadium city do they think there will be anywhere near the opposition the Warriors had in SF which killed their project here/? Well it not quite dead yet but its all but over.

          1. I think maybe you weren’t involved in the process to build the BART airport connector. Tremendous amounts of protest ending up increasing the cost by several hundred million. No reason to think that this wouldn’t repeat itself over and over again. This idea that Oakland is easy to build in is insane to me. Based on what? The Lake Merritt tower has had more protests than just about anything ever built in SF.

          2. ” ‘low brow’ – the poorer folks”

            Wow, just wow. ‘Cause poor folks can’t possibly fathom development proposals like rich trust fund babies. And poor folks shouldn’t have a say in their community’s growth; that should be limited to folks who live in penthouses and have to look at all the hoi polloi milling about.

  5. I really wish they would go back to the Encinal Tower design.
    It had much more character.
    Maybe they can dust off those plans and find another site for it.

  6. I really have a hard time understanding people’s fear of towers.

    I understand concerns over increased traffic, which comes with growth and inadequate expansion of existing infrastructure. I understand people’s concerns about gentrification, but then rather than attack individual projects, we really should focus on policy in Sacramento and in DC.

    I simply do not understand the pure fear people have over high rises in particular. This building could skate by as a 6-7 story thing in this area. But the fact that it’s a “tower” will have people all up in arms, caring about all the issues more than if it were not a tower.

    I suspect people all the way in other parts of Oakland will crawl out of their cave to fight this. I just don’t get it. It’s the epitome of irrationality, in my opinion.

    1. Maybe you can save the complaints until there’s actually opposition? The article says that no appeal is expected.

  7. Crazy how little new construction there has been in Oakland since 2011. I’ll believe it when it actually happens.

    1. it truly is crazy. the question is – is there enough time left in this cycle for actual development to occur?

  8. I want to live there! That pool, in such sunny Oakland weather would be amazing. Hopefully they have also incorporated BMR units there, or else this is gonna be a problem for city expansion.

  9. i was wondering when that lot would get developed. is it owned by kaiser? it’s hard to tell what is going on in that lot now. in the far back (perhaps another parcel) there is a parking lot, but that lot is secured with some sort of structure along broadway with some public art. the building next door has been sitting mostly vacant for years. when this gets complete, the area will be very vibrant, especially being right across the street from the new sears building.

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