By Meghan Hall
Among a flurry of new construction, plans are moving forward for another new mixed-use high-rise tower at 1433 Webster Street in the transit corridor of downtown Oakland. Village 1 LLC, in collaboration with Bay Area-based developer RAD Urban, submitted plans in 2017 to construct a 29 story complex at the corner of 15th and Webster Streets.
“We need to push through every housing project that we can until we re-balance the housing supply and rents and home prices are lowered significantly,” said Jason Laub, the vice president and director of operations for RAD Urban.
The development would bring 179 much needed new apartments to a neighborhood sorely lacking in housing. While there are other residences located nearby above commercial businesses in the area, downtown Oakland remains one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city as job creation continues to outpace new construction. Rising construction costs and a myriad of other factors continue to slow development; another previously approved multi-family residential complex at 1510 Webster Street has been stalled for several months due to construction complications.
Laub lists rising construction costs as one of the main barriers to development. “Construction costs have left many new development projects at a standstill with returns that cannot entice capital partners to play ball,” said Laub.
The site is in one of Oakland’s most popular neighborhoods, and it is less than a mile from interstates I-980, I-880 and I-580, while the 12th Street BART station is just a quarter mile walk away. 16 different Alameda-Contra Costa (AC-Transit) routes are also within walking distance of 1433 Webster Street, making the development easily successful to those outside of the city.
Restaurants such as Halftime Sports Bar, Modern Coffee and Basil Pizzeria are all nearby; the Oakland YWCA, the main post office and Chinatown also add to the allure of building in downtown Oakland.
The 0.41-acre lot consists of three parcels of land that will be combined for the project. There are two, two-story buildings on the lots that are currently designated as commercial office space, although one building is currently vacant.
In addition to residential apartments, the new building would also include 60,000 square feet of conventional office space, 1,300 square feet of retail space and one level of underground parking. Although no tenants have been found for the building yet, Laub says that RAD Urban hopes the spaces and the building’s location will attract local, Oakland-based companies.
“Downtown Oakland is very desirable,” explained Laub. “Art and culture have strong roots and are flourishing, and there are many fantastic restaurants with unique, locally-inspired menus and great nightlife.”
The building would be constructed using RAD Urban’s Block Modular technology. According to the developer’s website, prefabricated modules are used to streamline construction. The modules, which are built off-site, are durable, stackable and more affordable than traditional construction.
“RAD Urban’s Block Modular technology will provide non-combustible, high-quality dwelling units faster and at a lower cost than conventional construction,” explained Laub.
Peterson Vollman, the city planner overseeing the development of the 1433 Webster Street project, confirmed that staff was recommending the project’s approval, while Laub stated that construction is slated to begin in Q3 of 2019. Construction is expected to take roughly 59 weeks, which includes demolition, construction and inspection. Laub and RAD Urban remain hopeful that although the project is in its preliminary phases, the construction process will run smoothly.