1314 Franklin Street Rendering: Franklin Facade

While the Downtown Oakland block bounded by Franklin, Webster, 13th and 14th Streets is currently zoned for building up to 275 feet in height, plans for 399-foot tower to rise on the western quarter of the block – with a seven-story base building across the rest of the site and a total of 630 dwelling units over 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and a 598-car garage – have been drawn, as we first revealed last week.

1314 Franklin Rendering: Webster Street

In order to reach the proposed density of 630 units, which is 85 more than for which the 1314 Franklin Street site is principally zoned, the development team is planning to invoke California’s Density Bonus Law and either provide 27 of the units to households earning less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or 54 units for households earning up to 80 percent of the AMI.

By invoking the State’s Density Bonus Law, the development team would also be awarded a concession/incentive to relax one other Zoning Regulations for the site. And in this case, Carmel Partners is asking the City to waive the maximum height limit of 275 feet and allow the 399-foot tower as rendered above.

Oakland’s Design Review Committee is slated to review the plans and proposal this week before it moves forward to the Planning Commission. But from Oakland’s Planning Department, in terms of their thoughts and leanings: “Staff feels that this request is reasonable since it would result in a superior design by creating a slender tower versus that of if they were to request a waiver to the dimensional requirements that could result in a very tall and massive building that could negatively impact the Oakland skyline.”

40 thoughts on “How This Oakland Tower Could Rise up to 399 Feet”
  1. It’s good to see a shift of major housing development to Oakland as this and other recent posts have hinted at.

    As San Francisco runs out of sites zoned for tall buildings and as the pushback grows against projects like 1515 S. Van Ness (with perhaps the whole Eastern Neighborhoods plan being challenged and possibly halting more projects) the shift to the East Bay should accelerate.

    The other shoe to drop, and the more important one in terms of combating congestion on BART and the BB and in SF, is a shift of office development to the East Bay. That may take a while but, with a dwindling base of parcels available for major office construction in SF, it’s only a matter of time.

    Nice project. great location.

  2. 598 parking spaces?? That seems like an unusually large amount for a downtown project adjacent to a BART station. Having less parking could reduce the cost.

    1. Yep. Reduce the cost and reduce the desirability for many. The people living here can always take BART if they want to go to downtown SF – but what if they want to want to go to places not served by BART – Marin, Santa Cruz, or Tahoe? What if they have an elderly person in their family they are are responsible for? An infant? A person in their family with cancer or some other terrible disease?

      Not everyone wants to – or can – live in the SF bubble. Diversity is Good – development in the Bay Area should be heterogeneous – reflecting the fact that we all do do not have or want the same lifestyle.

      1. You’ll be absolutely shocked — shocked!! — to discover that the other 95% of housing options nearby offer parking.

      2. Private car ownership in cities is a dying lifestyle, not a growing one. SF is far from a bubble on this… many people in the Bay Area live in a one or zero car households. Oakland’s 667-unit Uptown Apartments dropped bundled parking four years ago and it’s had zero impact on their occupancy or rental rates.

        1. Private car ownership is increasing in both SF and Oakland in absolute numbers and per capita, according to the US Census Bureau ACS (and CA DMV registrations available for the county of SF). Up about 4% per capita in Oakland 2015 vs 2010.

          As woolie mentions, there are alternatives nearby and Oakland is rather over provisioned in pahking.

          FWIW, almost all the “car ownership/driving declining in USA and/or cities” stats from a couple years ago were due to the severe recession, not lifestyle changes; though I wish it were. The current rise in car ownership in SF and Oakland is strongly correlated with rising per capita incomes. Can’t spend it all on avocado toast or can we?

        2. car ownership increasing per capita in bay area. not a dying lifestyle, still gowing albeit minimally. hopefully it will peak soon and start dropping a bit, but i dont think you will be able to use the term “dying lifestyle” for at least 10 more years (if not longer)

      3. I get your point, but you lose me and I’m sure a bunch of others with the Marin/Tahoe/Santa Cruz argument. I’m guessing you don’t mean they commute there daily, right? Isn’t the maybe-one-trip-per-month market what carshare and rentals are for? Point of personal experience: Tahoe by Capital Corridor or Amtrak beats driving solo, in rush-hour traffic and in the snow.

        1. That seems like a stretch, although I would LOVE it if we really had convenient trains in this country. Taking the Capitol Corridor to Tahoe from Oakland requires a bus transfer and is at least 5 hours (and obviously that’s not door to door).

          1. You’re right it takes over 4 hours on the Capitol Corridor to ride from Richmond BART to Truckee, and there’s the BART ride and the shuttle to Northstar, so all told it takes me about 5-6 hours. The times this was faster than driving was when Bay Area/Sacramento traffic and snowfall were thick, and when cars were backed up with chain requirements. And when I stopped to eat But it was generally less exhausting.to be a passenger on the train/bus ride than driving…still, I long for the day we get UP clearance to allow more trains and faster trains, through Reno. We almost were there with SP about 15 years ago, but when they sold the tracks to UP the “Ski Amtrak” plans were stopped.

          2. Union Pacific is well aware that they control unique assets and are skilled at using that leverage to extort transit agencies.

      4. if you make frequent weekend trips that require a car, or if you need one to care for an older adult or young child, then maybe you should think twice about living downtown, where parking is costly and onerous and should never be taken for granted. there’s no reason for a development like this to cater to suburban priorities, if there is sufficient market demand from buyers who don’t require it. FWIW, i’m a car owner living in downtown oakland. when the time comes to move, i accept that the car is a liability that will limit my options. car ownership is sometimes a convenience, sometimes a mere necessity, but always a liability, which i don’t expect anyone else to mitigate.

  3. have to laugh about “negatively impacting the oakland skyline” being a primary concern when the town suffers from terrible crime, blight, and underutilized space in downtown. any building with hundreds of units of housing should be approved irrespective of the effect on the “skyline”

    1. Impossible to get through the comments on an Oakland story without someone blindly bashing the Town. MKP, have you spent any time in Civic Center? Just having come from The War Memorial over the weekend it’s literally turned into a sh—hole. When you think SF can’t get any worse it does. Better take a hard look around your precious City. Oakland shouldn’t accept just any old project to fill an available lot. That’s the same kind of short term thinking that led to the buildings being town down in the sixties in the first place.

  4. People who speak of “terrible crime” in downtown Oakland have never researched actual crime stats on crime mapping.com for downtown SF & downtown Oakland. There is much more crime in downtown SF. SF averages about 2100 weekly crimes citywide compared to about 450 weekly crimes citywide in Oakland. Downtown SF averaged about 400 weekly crimes compared to 75 in downtown Oakland. Biggest myth is that downtown Oak is more crime ridden than downtown SF.

    1. violent crime is 3x higher per capita in oakland than SF. most SF crimes you mention are quality of life crimes. it sucks to have them, but you have much lower chance of being beaten, raped or murdered in SF than oakland. Oakland is still in top 10 in violent crimes in US. its getting better, but still worse than average city

        1. Well, I get your point, because violent crime is highly concentrated in East Oakland and much less evident downtown so one could be blithely indifferent. I’m a big Oakland partisan, but citywide crime stats are by no means useless garbage for any number of reasons. For one, it tells you that Oakland needs a lot of cops on the beat to keep up with crime (and they’re probably not going to have time for much focus on the minor stuff in nicer neighborhoods). Also it tells you something about the budget realities for a City like Oakland. I should add that I am very happy that things are going in the right direction, and I’m as sick as PRE of the constant assumption that Oakland is one vast murder zone.

  5. Many more assaults in downtown SF. Incredible amount of violent crime within a couple of blocks of Union Square. Auto break-ins were 26,000 in SF and 7,000 in Oakland in 2015. Home burglaries much higher per capita in SF while robberies are also much higher numerically. SF had 700 more violent crimes than Oakland in 2015 and trailed only LA in total number of violent crimes in CA.

    1. Where do you get your stats from? Everything that I have seen has Oakland in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the US…

  6. Bottom line is an average person not involved in criminal activity or looking for drugs or prostitution is actually safer in Oakland than in downtown San Francisco. The mentally ill, aggressive panhandling, assaults and break-ins, put the average citizen going on about their business in SF in much more peril than someone at Oakland City Center, Old Oakland, Uptown, Jack London Square, Chinatown, Rockridge, Montclair, Piedmont Avenue, Lakeshore/Grand, or Temescal.

  7. suggest you check city crime statisticss. the rates of violent crime in oakland is much higher. i just doublechecked 2 reputable sites

  8. Honestly, can’t we get beyond these tired arguments and concentrate instead on the “quality of life” crimes most affecting Downtown Oakland…namely too many “perforated metal panel garages” and too many prime lots being landbanked? 🙂

    1. I agree. The city has to eradicate the graffiti, blight, and illegal dumping in and around Chinatown, and around the fringes of Old Oakland and Uptown. Some areas of downtown are very clean and well maintained while the under developed areas around 15th Street, 14th Street, 13th Street, all located east of Broadway need to be cleaned-up.

  9. The crime narrative has always been used as a way to marginalize Oakland and as a supposed reason not to relocate from SF to Oak. The fact is that SF has the highest density crime rate of any city in the U.S. SF recorded 56,000 official crimes in a city of only 47 square miles. Any business or resident using crime as a reason not to relocate to Oakland from San Francisco has been badly mislead by selective media crime reporting and dubious “dangerous city” rankings which can not be trusted due to various crime reporting methods among different cities. But yeah, Oakland city government needs to step up and keep up some of the neglected areas of downtown east of Broadway.

    1. You need to look at per capita crime rates E. Gonsalves. And best to look at murder rates or at least violent crime rates, because they are more consistently reported from place to place. Oakland is CERTAINLY more violent on a per capita basis than SF. Yes, the violence is highly concentrated in certain parts of town. But you are being a bit pollyanna-ish to insist that SF is more dangerous. It is very certainly not true.

  10. What defines “more dangerous?” More dangerous for whom and in which neighborhood? To me, SF feels more dangerous as evident by the random victims of violent crime all over SF. The poor young baseball player shot at Aquatic Park. Kait Steinly at Pier 14, the English tourist stabbed in the middle of the street near Japan Town. The Thai tourist shot in the shoulder on Lombard Street. This “dangerous city” narrative has been used by SF interests to keep business and development in SF and away from Oakland.

  11. You mean the statistics where 50% of daily S.F. crime reports somehow fail to make the final year end statistics? Statistics are great for those who creat them and for those who control them. S.F. has a huge tourist industry to protect. You think that may be the reason that crime in Oakland has always gotten much more attention from the S.F. Media? I like unfiltered statistics, not those sanitized at years end by S.F. officials.

    1. I’m so over your deliberate obfuscation of verifiable fact. Homicide rates are the absolute best way to track violent crime because nobody “hides” murders from the record. In 2015, there were 83 in Oakland, while there were 52 in San Francisco, a city of more than double the population. Oakland’s murder rate was the highest in the Bay Area, 3X that of SF.

      Oakland homicides are WAY down from where they were a few years ago, which is cause for huge cheers. But to pretend that Oakland is not the most violent major city in the Bay Area is simply WRONG and I’m not taking your bait any longer.

  12. In 2007 & 2008 S.F. recorded 100 homicides. Did the media make a big deal out of those numbers. You really believe that cities don’t hide violent crime which is what gets cities in these “most dangerous” rankings?

    Did you know that San Francisco leaves out officer involved killings in their reported numbers to the media while all of Oakland’s homicides are included in the media numbers? Did you know that San Francisco has more “suspicious deaths” per capita than any city in the Bay Area? Did you know that the reports of daily assaults in San Francisco don’t come close to corresponding to the year end assault numbers put out by SFPD? San Francisco is far more crime ridden than Oakland or Richmond if you were to take the time to look at impartial crime maps and do your own research.

    SF is a big tourist corporate city with s big corporate media which constantly promotes it and protects it. You have been conditioned over time by the media to believe the SF hype regarding Oakland and it’s supposed reputation. The actual facts tell a different story.

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