1700 Webster, Oakland Rendering

While Gerding Edlen’s plans for an Oakland tower to rise up to 250-feet in height at 1700 Webster Street, with 206 condos over four floors of parking and 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail space as rendered above, have been approved, the developer is now seeking permission to remove a floor of parking.

In a nod to neighbors who were concerned about the development’s mass and impact on local traffic, the proposed revision would reduce the overall height of the building and podium by nine feet and decrease the required number of parking spots from 206 to 148, a ‘transit oriented’ reduction of 28 percent.

The development team, which opted to seek the post-approval revision in order to avoid raising the hackles of one-to-one parking advocates during the Planning process, has been aiming to break ground by the end of the year with occupancy slated for the second half of 2017.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by MoneyMan

    No unit should not have at least one parking space. One can rely almost exclusively on public transportation, yet still have a car that they might use on weekends. And it just makes street parking more difficult too.

    • Posted by S5

      it’s 2015, use Zipcar or Uber on weekends. I sold my car in 2010 and never looked back.

    • Posted by Andrew

      AAA says a car costs $10,000 per year – that leaves quite a bit money for renting, car share, taxis, etc. THIS is how you will be able to live in this building without owning a car.

    • Posted by Car-free is care-free

      I’m 41 and have never owned a car. I like that some housing units are available without parking, assuming that they go for lower cost.

    • Posted by farts

      if given a stall, people with cars will move in. if given no stall, people without cars will move in. people without cars should be encouraged, people with cars should be discouraged. this is the best-served area for the pedestrian. let’s look to the future, not the past. so sick of money being spent to make it easier to own cars.

    • Posted by datenschwanz

      It’s not 1950 anymore. Using all that space to store a vehicle “that they might use on weekends” is a horrible, antiquated idea. There are so many car share and rideshare services now this line of thinking is obsolete.

      • Posted by Jake

        Yup, definitely not 1950 anymore. Now we have twice as many cars per capita and many more people. And both per capita car ownership and population are increasing in the Bay Area. Wealth effects, don’t cha know.

        Certainly can’t depend on surface parking like our forebears did. Really need to store cars in high-density off-street parking in urbanized areas. You know, the post-post-modern 21st century way, not like the 1950s when they could indulge in fantasies about the future and ignore the realities. Nope, that kind of thinking is obsolete.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        “this line of thinking is obsolete” yeah maybe among 10% of the Bay Are population and 3% of the US population. as jake says most people still want to own cars for a variety of reasons, and thankfully we have the right to do so

    • Posted by Sustainability First

      I am from LA, and I moved here 25 years ago. I sold my car 15 years ago. I have never regretted it. I use City Car Share a few times a year, but biking and BART is the way to go when living in an urban area. People need to shed this “I can’t exist without a car” mindset, doing so will not only help us shed a few pounds, but it will help reduce carbon emissions as well.

      • Posted by NoeValleyJim

        You are a good person.

  2. Posted by HousingWonk

    Good for GE. They tout themselves as being Pacific Northwest/Portlandia green – its all over their brand identity – and was a bit surprised at the 1:1 parking. But its Oakland, the City stuck in the planning paradigm of the 1960s and run by a bureaucracy of second-rate hacks. (That’s right, not even 1st rate hacks, but second rate ones).

    Good for GE for seeking a post-approval reduction in parking. Would love to see an even deeper reduction. They have certainly gone much deeper in projects in Seattle and Portland that frankly don’t have any better transit access than this site.

    Maybe someday Oakland’s planning department will enter the 21st century.

    • Posted by woolie


      You should know Oakland Planning has been pushing for a complete elimination of parking requirements downtown, and easy-to-obtain 50% reductions in large portions of the rest of the city. The draft proposal was released last month.

    • Posted by Pablo

      The 21st century ala San Francisco planning department? Where the City gets ever more economically segregated every year through poor public planning policy? Where we build pretty much an unlimited number of luxury high rise condos downtown – and expect the people who serve us lattes to live in Oakland and commute by BART?

      Sorry. Those people living in Oakland want better paying jobs in San Jose. They dont want to be serfs to the City’s elite forever. That means they need a car to get to San Jose. That means they need parking in Oakland.

      Different strokes for different folks.

      • Posted by anon

        The folks who serve us lattes are college students, living with roommates. At least that’s what I see at every coffee shop.

      • Posted by woolie

        Pablo, commuting from Oakland to San Jose is terrible, and I don’t know anyone who makes the trip. People who’ve made the trip in the past started looking for closer jobs pretty quickly.

  3. Posted by Starchild

    We’re seeing a system designed to empower the “haves”, neighbors who already have homes and businesses in an area, at the expense of the “have nots”, people for whom housing is never built, or is built only after builders have been weighed down with taxes and regulations and planning delays which make it so expensive that most people can no longer afford it. Two root causes are NIMBYism, and a lack of respect for property rights. NIMBYism has always been a tool of the wealthy, but lack of respect for property rights also counter-intuitively hurts the poor, by decreasing affordability as described above and in many other ways.

    • Posted by zig

      Zoning has evolved from protecting “health, safety, welfare” to really a form of collectivism over private property rights. It is socially conservative but runs counter to the purported beliefs of many so called free market conservatives

  4. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    Well it’s a step in the right direction. Residential parking minimums in downtown areas should be removed, especially in dense walkable neighborhoods well served by transit. Oakland should look towards the San Francisco Planning Dept. in regards to its parking reforms.

    • Posted by Mark

      I agree, but both Oakland and SF should look towards Portland in regards to parking reforms. SF high rises within a short walking distance to mass transit still have too much parking. But, that’s the California way, given the priority of the car over adequate transit.

  5. Posted by Mark

    I used to live two blocks from here on 17th St. and passed this intersection on my way to BART every day. I hope the height brings more residents outside of their units after 5pm and on weekends. This area of Oakland is a ghosttown outside of M-F business hours.

    • Posted by Matt in Uptown

      Mark, ditto. A few years ago I would be the only person after 6… on a Sunday afternoon I could look in any direction and not see another human being anywhere. Today you pretty much see people on every block most of the day. Howden Market is opening soon across the street. That should increase foot traffic a bit, too.

  6. Posted by VancouverJones

    The area is well served by Bart and bus. It’s also a nice area for biking. Perhaps they could reduce the parking enough to make it feasible to push all of the parking under ground.

    The parking podiums really detract from the architecture and pedestrian experience. While I’m glad that there is retail on the ground floor, it would be nice to have some townhouse units that open directly on to the street. This in only feasible if all the parking is located underground.

    The goal is to build wonderful, vibrant neighborhoods…. brick by brick (so to speak). We all loose out when the only goal is to: “bring X amount units on line to sell to narrow population Y with enough parking”.

  7. Posted by bus rider

    Instead of having eyes on the street, floors 2 through 4 of this building will just have windshields (dozens of them) looking at the street. Perhaps buildings designed like this have contributed to urban decay (and urban crime?) for decades.

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