Modern Mixed-Use Tower Proposed for Oakland’s Uptown Neighborhood

Oakland Segula Investments Associated Investment Company Studio KDA Uptown Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan CEQA BART Lake Merritt Uber
Photo Courtesy of Robert Becker with Digital Frontier

By Jacob Bourne

A small 0.3-acre site at 2305 Webster Street in Oakland, owned by Associated Investment Company, has a development proposal that’s currently under review by City departments. Project sponsor, Avi Nevo of Segula Investments has proposed plans for a 24-story mixed-use residential project with 130 units and 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail to replace the existing surface parking lot. Studio KDA is the architectural firm working on the project.

“This is a private development initiative that’s located in the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan area,” said Pete Vollmann, planning project manager. “It’s under planning review and it’s out for a 17-day public notice period now. If there are no appeals filed, a decision will be made when the public review period ends. It meets all code requirements and CEQA provisions.”

The project site is on the northwest corner of Webster and 23rd Streets across from the Downtown Oakland YMCA. It’s also a few blocks west of Lake Merritt and would be well served by the two nearby BART stations. The area is considered transit-oriented with strong access to Interstates, 580, 980 and 880 as well as the Alameda-Contra Costa County Transit system. The site carriers a zoning of Retail-Commercial within the Broadway Valdez District and is categorized as Central Business District under Oakland’s General Plan. Uber’s future corporate office just south at 1955 Broadway is anticipated to open next year. More immediate uses surrounding the site include mixed-use non-residential, services, churches and high-density residential.

According to the Studio KDA design team, “The design of 2305 Webster Street, a 24-story mixed use tower, characterizes an approach to urbanism that embraces density and variety as a means to bring new life to its Uptown Oakland neighborhood. The project provides 130 units of apartments over street-level retail, creating an interactive environment for residents and the public. Amenities for the residents include a gym, community meeting room, lounge and outdoor terrace.”

The tower’s 24 stories reach a maximum height of 240 feet and contain a total of 239,000 square feet. Eighteen residential floors include two penthouse levels above a transitional level equipped with amenities, storage and technical spaces. About 84 parkings spots will be provided within five levels of above-grade parking that rest upon the ground floor retail and lobby.

The project stands out in its high proportion of two-bedroom dwelling units; 81-percent of the residences will be two-bedrooms in addition to one and three-bedrooms. A total of 10,664 square feet of “open space” will be available throughout the project made up of an outdoor courtyard, gym, lounge, and private balconies.

One of the community benefits proposed are streetscape improvements consistent with the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan Public Realm Design Guidelines for Streetscape Design. This could include new street trees along Webster and 23rd Streets, public furniture and bike racks for retail patrons.

The building will be a striking addition to the Uptown neighborhood with an exterior marked by stark white cement plaster and powder coated aluminum highlighted by a backlit acrylic light-box on the transitional floor. The ground floor entrance will be mostly glass meeting a largely rectangular-shaped tower above.

As part of the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan area, the project qualified for an infill exemption under the CEQA process. The project awaits a decision by the Planning Director following the public review period. If approved, a single-phase, 24-month construction period would begin in February 2018 involving demolition of the existing surface parking lot. Completion is estimated for January 2020.

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