1640 Broadway Rendering Aerial

Originally approved for development over fifteen years ago, the plans for a 33-story Downtown Oakland tower to rise at 1640 Broadway, upon the current parking lot at the corner of 17th Street, are back in play with Lennar now leading the charge and requesting a couple of changes, including the shedding of nearly 100 parking spots.

Currently approved for 375-foot tower with 254 residential units over 4,700 square feet of retail space and nine levels of parking for 326 cars, seven levels of which were to be above ground, the development team is now proposing to build the same number of units in a 380-foot-tall tower, but with 5,000 square feet of retail and four level of above ground parking for 232 cars.

1640 Broadway Oakland Rendering

At 380-feet in height, 1640 Broadway would be the tallest residential tower in Oakland, existing or proposed as the plans for a nearby 56-story tower were dropped by 23 floors to 339-feet in height.

And with the City’s approval for the project set to expire at the end of this year, Lennar has also requested a one-year extension within which to break ground. Oakland’s Planning Commission is slated to hear the requests on January 6, 2016.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    I have mixed reactions to this:

    (1) It’s about time(!): this spot has been awaiting development since the 1930’s, when the old post office was replaced w/ the Federal Building in the Civic Center Area (never knew there was a post office there? yeah, it’s been THAT long), but

    (2) It seems a shame to use prime Broadway Corridor space for residential rather than office development. Downtown Oakland is already too spread out for the amount of space it contains – specifically the Lake Merritt area is separated from the City Center area by blocks of nothingness, and giving over those blocks to residential will make it ever harder for the two halves to grow into a whole. And a [four] level blank wall of parking fronting Broadway is obscene.

    • Posted by Tony

      Why not housing and office development? There’s a lot of space in downtown Oakland. If they build up there will be plenty of room for people to live where they work. Also, with housing prices this high that means that there are more jobs than units of housing in the nearby areas. In order to keep Oakland with a strong middle class it will be important to focus on housing for some time.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        When first approved back in the year 2000, the plan was for 20 floors of residential over 12 floors of office space.

        • Posted by Justin

          Thank you for your history! That is a better option imo. I walk by here all that time and it’s about time this prime peace of parking lot was put to a better use.

      • Posted by curmudgeon

        Agree with you that the lower portion should be office, particularly since the project abuts an approximately 15 story blank wall.

    • Posted by Mark

      I’m fine with this project and glad they cut the number of parking spaces. For a massive project within stone’s throw of a BART station developers should be promoting transit use as much as possible. Also, a major residential building fronting Bway will hopefully bring some much-needed life to the area after 5pm. SF is building residential along Market west of 5th. Why not on Bway?

      • Posted by woolie

        Office has a higher affinity for transit, and benefits more from being *literally* on top of a station than residential. People are willing to walk a half mile from a station to their home, but less willing to walk half a mile from a station to their office.

        • Posted by Mark

          There’s plenty of wiggle room to have residential, office, and mixed-use developments to create a healthy mix in and around mass transit stations. Otherwise you end up with something like the financial district which is a ghosttown after hours and on weekends.

    • Posted by HousingWonk

      The demand is for housing in the Bay Area. We do not lack for jobs. We DO lack for housing. So yes, housing is entirely appropriate in downtown Oakland. Its where the mass transit is located. And downtown Oakland is still far too dead outside the 9-5 M-F hours.

      So, basically, you’re entirely off base.

  2. Posted by dogwood

    As long as the ground floor is mostly commercial, who cares if there is four floors of parking above that? Seems to make sense as Broadway is very noisy with buses, thus the residences should start up on the sixth floor where it will be markedly quieter. This kind of high density residential development near employment and a BART station (1 block to 19th st.) is exactly what we need more of.

  3. Posted by Dave

    Hopefully another precursor to a shift in residential hi-rise development to Oakland from SF.

    Aside from the Van Ness Market corners and a few parcels still in the Transbay area is the City not running out of sites zoned for hi-rise residential development? I highly doubt there will be any upzoning of Central SOMA and especially with Peskin on board.

    Of course, Peskin is talking of extending rent control to projects built after 1979 and going forward. He is asking the City Attorney to look into the possibility of so doing.

    He is also seeking state help hoping to amend the Costa bill. The state legislature is more progressive than ever so who knows? If this were to happen it would be a huge boost to hi-rise residential development in Oakland.

    Even if Peskin does not succeed, there does not seem to be much room for more such development in SF.

    • Posted by woolie

      In Oakland, you can build 24 story tower with mere administrative approval — no need for a planning commission vote.

      • Posted by Dave

        Didn’t know that. Another reason to add to why development will shift to Oakland in the coming decades.

        Someone posted there is lots of available space in downtown Oakland and thinking of that – does it not make sense to shift high-density residential development there especially given that the transit situation in SF is poor and getting worse?

        The mantra is SF will reach a million or so people in 2035 or so. Does it have to? Why? if more housing is built in Oakland or South City could not some of that population growth be shifted from SF to other locations? Relieving the pressure on the inadequate SF transportation system.

        Good news for Oakland here and hope it keeps coming.

        • Posted by Mark

          The transit situation throughout the general Bay Area is inadequate, not just in SF. Sure, population can be spread out, but the transportation infrastructure must be built to accommodate.

        • Posted by JIPB

          The BART is pretty much maxed out running from Oakland to SF. Even with a capacity increase expected from new cars and proposed changes to stations in SF adding platforms to both sides of the train, it is going to be very difficult to increase rush hour commuter volume across the Bay. As for a second tube, the last estimates I heard for planning, financing and building it is around 30 years.

          • Posted by anon

            It’s “BART”, not “the BART”. This isn’t southern California.

          • Posted by Nimby

            Hopefully we’ll have efficient, driverless cars by then so we won’t have to rely on the BART.

            (get over it, anon)

        • Posted by anon

          Beverly Hills is looking pretty crowded too, why not shift $50 million mansions to Fresno? The market makes these decisions Dave, not bureaucrats. The projections are based on market projections.

          • Posted by JIPB

            Anon, you seem full of useful and informed opinions.

    • Posted by Rainer Wilke

      You really have some serious rose colored spectacles for Oakland huh.

      You think if Peskin is successful in obliterating Costa Hawkins (spoiler alert – he wont be) that Oakland (and Berkeley) wont line up behind SF to amend their rent control laws?

      There is plenty of room in SF for additional highrise development

      • Posted by Dave

        I have no idea if he will succeed in having it amended. There is a housing crisis, affordability, in California and the legislature is perhaps more progressive than it has ever been.

        I think him going to the City Attorney can’t result in much cause, as far as I know, the state would have to change its law before SF could extend rent control to post 1979 structures.

        I don’t see where there is plenty of room for additional hi-rise development in SF. Given current codes which with Peskin won’t change. And especially if Lee is replaced with a more progressive mayor in 4 years.

        The hi-rise sites are being used up (sites say zoned for 30 stories and above).

        • Posted by Rainer Wilke

          The Mayor is actually progressive. The supervisors – most of them anyway – are by policy – conservative reactionaries

        • Posted by skyscraperluvr

          An earthquake will open up plenty of opportunity for new high rise development.

        • Posted by HousingWonk

          [Peskin] is not going to be successful in amending Costa-Hawkins.

          Senator Mark Leno, despite multiple attempts, couldn’t even get an Ellis Act reform bill through the legislature (AB 364), a bill that would affect ONLY San Francisco and not other jurisdiction in the state.

          Yet Peskin is somehow going to get Sacramento to amend Costa-Hawkins? Riiiiiiiight.

    • Posted by anon

      If Peskin is successful at the state level in changing Costa, why wouldn’t Oakland enact rent control?

  4. Posted by Sassy

    All I want for Christmas is a 8-10 story pointy spire of some sort added to the Broadway side that could be lit at night. Pretty please!!!

  5. Posted by NJ

    <3 <3 <3 !

  6. Posted by Mark F.

    I still wouldn’t want to live in Downtown Oakland regardless of how many nice towers they build. Always gives me the creeps walking around there.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      Have you recently? It’s much much better than it was even two years ago.

    • Posted by Notcom

      Fine , let’s make it a 253 unit project, and then everyone can have their needs – or non-needs as it were – met.

    • Posted by woolie

      Reminds me of people saying “Oh, I’d never move to Brooklyn.”

    • Posted by PRE

      What always gives me the creeps is having to navigate the multitude of passed out drunks and bums at Civic Center BART on my way home to Oakland.

  7. Posted by Snark17

    When towers break ground in Oakland does that signal the next recession? Would make an interesting graph. Seems like Oakland is always last to the party.

    • Posted by Matt in Uptown

      After a quick look on Emporis I would say your theory doesn’t quite pan out.

  8. Posted by Pfffttt

    Condos or apartments? If condos, I’m getting one!

  9. Posted by Notcom

    Actually under way.

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