By Jon Peterson
San Francisco-based Ellis Partners is advancing its plans in Oakland on a project located at 1919 Webster Street. However, the company is considering two different sizes and designs for its new office development project, in a move likely designed to provide Ellis Partners some time while it evaluates the state of the market and if it should build a larger or smaller project.
Ellis Partners is working with San Francisco-based architect and design firm Gensler on the property. Neither of these firms responded to phone calls seeking comment for this story.
The smaller proposal for the building is for a building totaling 283 feet high, which would produce a total project of 422,930 square feet. The development will have an office component in the amount of 393,470 square feet and 3,375 square feet of ground-level retail. The design is include terraces throughout the project beginning on the third floor and ending with an 8,800 square foot rooftop deck. Parking will be included for 30 cars in a single 15,200 square foot basement garage. It will also feature an area that can hold up to 63 bicycles.
The taller version of the project is projected to be 400 feet high with three main components in the buildings. These are the 518,330 square feet of office space, 2,000 square feet of ground-level retail and 92,320 square feet allocated for the 158-car garage spanning the basement and up to the fourth level of the building. Open space will be featured in terraces starting on the fifth floor and an 8,800 square foot rooftop terrace, which is planned as a shared amenity. The bicycle storage will be for 82 bicycles.
Ellis Partners and Gensler will be joined in the development by several other companies. BKF is the civil engineer, Magnusson Klemencic Associates is the structure engineer, Meyers+ is the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer and Surface Design is the development’s landscape architect.
Ellis Partners has been the owner of the property since April of last year when the real estate investment firm acquired the site for $23.5 million. Its equity source for the project is Boston-based Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation. These two real estate firms had come together on another office development project in Oakland. This is the 345,000 square foot The Key at 12th located at 1100 Broadway in Oakland. The property is now leased to the California Office of the President and financial services technology firm Credit Karma.
The seller of 1919 Webster was Pacific Gas & Electric. The asset at the time of the sale had been a six-story office building and a surface parking lot.
Ellis Partners is hoping that it will be able to obtain approvals for the development sometime this year. A final decision has not been made about the timing of the project, and the City’s staff has outlined a number of design issues that the development team will have to resolve. These include more clarity for the entrance of the building, ground floor treatment that needs to comply with the City’s design guidance to consider visual interest, and parking and loading location.
Even with the approvals in hand, the developer will likely consider at that time whether the project will be started as a speculative development or if it needs some amount of pre-leasing before it would begin construction. This will be driven by market trends, most likely, and a decision on this will be announced at at a later time.