By Meghan Hall
As the housing market improves and job opportunities in the Bay Area have increased, so has development in downtown Oakland. The East Bay city is in the midst of a construction boom, with numerous large-scale construction projects in the works. Work for the Lennar Multifamily Communities’ 254-unit tower, which will be Oakland’s third tallest building at completion, broke ground in March 2017, while the massive 2 Kaiser Plaza Project is in its preliminary stages of approvals.
The 2044 Franklin Street mixed-use project is another initiative in the works that would add to Oakland’s skyline. The City of Oakland Bureau of Planning posted a new CEQA analysis for public feedback in November 2017, which outlines plans for the new development in the heart of downtown Oakland. The site for the 2044 Franklin Street is located in the Central Business District and is sponsored by Village Glen Oakland 2 LLC, a Bay Area-based entity associated with RAD Urban.
The project will continue the trend of revitalizing the 19-block area known as Oakland’s Central Business District and help to establish downtown Oakland as a high-density urban hub that caters to a wide range of commercial, retail and residential demands.
City documents portray 2044 Franklin Street as a sleek, modularly-designed mixed-use building. The contemporary design would include a metal panel curtain wall and aluminum windows. Modular construction is becoming increasingly popular; portions of the building are constructed off site in controlled facilities. The modules are then put together once they arrive at the building site, which streamlines the overall construction process. When completed, 2044 Franklin Street would have 184 residential units, 5,000 square feet of retail space and 60,000 square feet of Class A office space.
The project site for 2044 Franklin Street is bounded by Webster Street on the east, 21st Street on the north, Franklin Street on the west and Thomas Berkeley Way on the south. The Kaiser Center is just to the east of the property. Pandora is headquartered in the block to the north. The site is also about a block away from the proposed 2 Kaiser Plaza project site, a development for which CIM recently submitted to proposal options, one for as many as 1.1 million square feet. Most nearby properties are newer commercial buildings between 10 and 20 stories high with ground floor retail spaces and restaurants.
2044 Franklin Street is also very close to major transportation routes; I-980 and I-580 are less than a mile away, while the 19th Street-Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Station is a 1/4-mile walk away.
The existing site includes a 2-story, 8,861 square foot brick and masonry building, which is currently occupied by Wells Fargo Bank. The current 0.59-acre site has an area of 25,568 square feet.
The current building and the adjacent parking lot would be demolished and replaced with two buildings. The first building is a 28-floor, 314,687 square foot tower that includes 1,400 square feet of ground floor retail or restaurant space. Floors two through five would include the commercial components of the building, featuring nearly 60,000 square feet of office space. The plans for floor six include roughly 10,000 square feet of amenity space. The remaining floors, levels seven through twenty-eight of the tower, will host 176 dwelling units with 8 units per floor. The building will also include parking for up to 70 bikes for residents.
The second building at 2044 Franklin Street is a much smaller building and will have 15,840 square feet. The low-rise building will include five townhouse units and 3,950 square feet of retail and restaurant space. While Building Two has no parking spaces for residents, Building One will have 86 parking spaces for the occupants of 2044 Franklin Street.
Project construction at 2044 Franklin Street is expected to take around 24 months and is slated to begin in mid-2018. Demolition of the existing buildings and current 24-space parking lot would take 50 work days. The demolition phase would also include removing any underground utilities and existing foundation slabs.
The construction phase would take approximately 280 workdays while site improvements, testing, and the final inspection are expected to take 80 days, according to documents submitted to the city. Occupancy is planned to begin in 2020.
Neither the City of Oakland nor Village Glen 2 LLC returned a request for comment.