By Meghan Hall
A new office project could be coming to Oakland in the coming years and make a significant impact on the city’s Broadway Corridor. Known in City documents as “2424 Webster,” the project has been pitched by Signature Development Group and could bring a 12-story office tower in the coming years. The project is nearing the end of the entitlements process, with Oakland City Staff recommending project approval in the coming months.
The current project site includes 0.56 acres spread across three parcels. Plans indicate that Signature Development is seeking to build a 12-story structure with 161,000 square feet of office space above around 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Subterranean parking will be provided and include 169 parking spaces. A non-residential penthouse on the top floor, as well as a 6,400 square foot roof deck are also planned. The roof deck will act as a green roof and will include a shared amenity terrace and conference room. The deck will also accommodate outdoor event space.
The project’s design will include two separate building masses composed of a 12-story tower and a lower, five-story element that will establish the base of the building. The tower’s lower levels will express a style reminiscent of Broadway’s Auto Row showrooms, complete with a masonry façade and storefront windows which present a consistent rhythm. The lower levels will also be clad in cement fiber paneling, while the higher levels of the building will have glass window walls that step in and out by floor. The window walls will produce visual interest. The two massing components will be brought together by carving out visible floor plate lines from the tower into the five-story massing component.
In a January 20, 2021 Staff Report, staff recommended approval to the Oakland Planning Commission.
“Staff believes that the proposed project is well designed and helps to implement the vision of the BVDSP by providing large retail tenant spaces that will enhance the area as a destination for shopping as well as dining and entertainment uses,” states the report. “The proposed office uses within close proximity to local and regional transit will help to make the area a 24/7 neighborhood.”
The staff directed the Planning Commission to affirm the project’s environmental documentation and adopt CEQA findings, and approve the Design Review for the project. Timing for formal approval is unclear, but could be in the coming months. Project documents indicate that Signature Development plans to begin construction in the third quarter of 2021. Build-out will take about 22 months, with delivery taking place by early 2024.
Immediately north of the project site is MUA Oakland Bar and Restaurant, while to the South is a Hertz Car Rental. Some multifamily and single-family residential uses are located to the east, and several commercial properties are located along 24th street. A number of businesses, including Firebrand Artisan Breads, Oakland YMCA, Modern Times Beer and The New Parkway Theater are within walking distance.
The Broadway Corridor constitutes a 95.5-acre area between Grand Avenue and Interstate 580. The Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan (BVDSP)—of which the project is apart—allots for about 3.7 million square feet of total development over the next 25 years. Included in that allocation is 695,000 square feet of office space, 1.114 million square feet of restaurants and retail, a new 180-key hotel and 6,500 parking spaces.
Despite a slower 2020, commercial real estate activity is still taking place in and around downtown Oakland. 543,664 square feet of office deliveries took place in 2020, including 1100 Broadway. The 335,000 square foot building is 100 percent leased. Additionally, 300 Lakeside Drive was sold by Swig Partners and Rockpoint to TMG for $450 million. PG&E will consolidate their headquarters there in the future and marks one of the largest transactions in East Bay history.
According to data released by Cushman & Wakefield, such transactions have helped to buoy the market, even though vacancy in Oakland’s downtown reached 25.4 percent by the end of the fourth quarter and occupancy losses erased nearly three years of growth. Recovery for the markets will be gradual, coinciding with widespread vaccination efforts and gradual employment gains in the coming months or years.
As of this writing, Signature Development Group had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.