2100 Telegraph in Oakland at Crucial Intersection—Office or Residential?

Oakland, 2100 Telegraph, Uber Technology, Oakland’s Planning Commission, Environmental Impact Report, Uptown District, Telegraph Avenue, Paramount Theatre, Breuner Building, First Baptist Church, YMCA Building, Lane Partners, Strategic Urban Development Alliance, Gensler, Eastline Project
Image courtesy of Oakland Planning Department

By Michele Chandler

New offices, more residential units—or some of both?

That’s the question before Oakland officials who are considering the best way to move forward with a potential development at 2100 Telegraph, near Uber Technology Inc.’s Oakland office.

Oakland’s Planning Commission released its draft Environmental Impact Report on December 22 to detail potential ways development could proceed in the area that’s under review, which is located in the city’s Uptown District and covers an entire downtown city block. The project is roughly bounded by Telegraph Avenue to the west, 22nd Street to the north, Broadway to the east and 21st Street to the south and is located just north of the 19th Street BART Station. Several historic buildings are close to the project site, including the Paramount Theatre, Breuner Building, First Baptist Church and YMCA Building.

Five separate parcels would be combined to create the proposed development, which covers 1.65 acres. A consortium consisting of Lane Partners LLC of Menlo Park and Strategic Urban Development Alliance (SUDA) of Oakland will develop the project. San Francisco architecture firm Gensler is also participating in 2100 Telegraph, which is also known as the Eastline Project.

The Planning Department released its draft EIR on the Eastline Project on December 22nd and is now taking comments on the contents of that draft through February 5, said Oakland city planner Pete Vollmann. After the comment period ends in February, the project draft then heads to the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board and then to the Planning Commission, he said. For now, the process involves only receiving comments on the findings of the draft, Vollmann said, adding, “it’s not to discuss the merits of the project itself.”

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board will hold a public scoping hearing on the draft EIR on January 8. The Planning Commission will hold its public scoping hearing on the draft EIR on January 24.

That process is designed to allow city officials to look at the “big-picture range of development potential” as they evaluate possible environmental impacts of the various developments that have been proposed. One proposal is heavy on office space, while the other includes significant residential development. After the city selects a development option, the final development permit can be issued.

The proposals must also be considered by the Planning Commission for the planning permit process. That involves a development agreement with the city’s former redevelopment agency—now called the Public/Private Development Division—which owns the site and is in an exclusive development agreement to negotiate the sale of the property to the SUDA-Lane Partners consortium, Vollmann said. That portion of the proposal must eventually go before the Oakland City Council, which has the final say.

Image courtesy of Oakland Planning Department

Exactly which development proposal will be considered must be determined, as two final plans are being reviewed concurrently.

One proposal contains office, retail and residential. The developer subsequently filed another plan for review that only includes office and retail uses.

The city is looking at the environmental consequences of both proposals. Explained Vollmann: “They are looking at maximum residential to maximum office, so they can catch all potential impacts from what type of development would happen there.”

The two plans being considered are:

• Residential/Office: Includes a 365,000-square-foot residential tower containing up to 395 units, plus an office building covering 880,00 square feet, 85,000 square feet of retail space and 18,500 square feet of community space. Six levels of parking are proposed.

• All office and retail. This proposal includes 1.45 million square feet of office space, plus 80,000 square feet of retail space and 23,000 square feet of community space. This development would also include six parking levels. This proposal was submitted in response to downtown market conditions, according to the EIR.

“It’s going to be one or the other, not both,” said Vollmann, who added that the city also could opt to “scrap both and come back with a different one in the future.”

Originally, a proposal submitted last year would have redeveloped the site into a mixed-use project that could have included up to 1,556 residential units and office space, up to a maximum development of a total of 2.8 million square feet.

The city of Oakland is the lead agency on the project. The project’s sponsor is W/L Telegraph Owner, Inc., according to city documents.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News