While San Francisco is now engaged in a legal battle over its recently approved, and rather significant, plan for reshaping and densifying the San Francisco’s downtown-adjacent district known as Central SoMa, the City of Oakland has just released the “preliminary draft” of its Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP), a comprehensive plan that could guide the development of the city’s downtown through 2040, taking into account Oakland’s current and projected economy, and community needs, while aiming to protect what makes the city’s downtown “authentically Oakland.”
The preliminary draft plan’s six main drivers/goals, as stated:
- Economic Opportunity: Create opportunities for economic growth and security for all Oaklanders.
- Housing: Ensure sufficient housing is built and retained to meet the varied needs of current and future residents.
- Mobility: Make downtown’s streets comfortable, safe, and inviting and improve connections to the city as a whole so that everyone has efficient and reliable access to downtown’s jobs and services
- Culture Keeping: Allow diverse voices and forms of expression to flourish.
- Community Health: Provide vibrant public spaces and a healthy environment that improve the quality of life downtown today and for generations to come.
- Land Use: Develop downtown in a way that meets community needs and preserves Oakland’s unique character.
If adopted, the DOSP would allow for the development of over 17 million square feet of new commercial space and over 29,000 new residential units, including up to 7,250 units of housing which could be offered at below market (affordable) rates, centered around BART and its connectors.
A network of multimodal streets would provide priority paths for buses and bikes, along with a continuous “Green Loop” around the downtown core, connecting to network of parks and open spaces.
The adoption of special zoning and land use regulations would attempt to preserve four specific cultural districts, including the Black Arts Movement District (BAMBD) and a Maker District around Jack London Square.
And in terms of timing, Oakland’s Planning Department is aiming to publish an official (non-preliminary) draft plan this summer and targeting 2020 for the plan’s adoption. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.