The proposed 415 20th Street Skyscraper (the first Oakland develoment for Houston-based Hines, which built Salesforce Tower) is planned for a location just a short walk from 19th Street BART, and two blocks from Lake Merritt is one that the The Oakland Planning Commission says will have no impact on its neighborhood. Yep, it wrote that. (And today, the building is on the 3 PM Agenda for the Oakland PC). Here’s the Oakland Planning Commission’s basic description of the building:
New construction of an office tower with 862,048 gross square feet of office, 38 floors and a height of 622 feet. The project includes 262 parking stalls in a 4 level above-ground parking garage. and a ½-acre landscaped amenity space atop the vehicular parking podium and a landscaped observation deck on the topmost floor.
So, according to standard multipliers used to forecast employment expected to occur due to the opening of an office building, or 250 square feet per person, the “862,048 gross square feet of office” translates to 3,448 employees. That’s more workers than originally projected for the Square Headquarters just a block away and across Broadway. In total, that’s just about 6,000 new employees, and for all practical purposes, new Oakland residents, that will be dumped onto Oakland’s Adams Point. In other words, the pressures of gentrification without a redevelopment agency to fuel the construction of more affordable housing will remain in place, during the Pandemic.
Here’s the full, public, Oakland Planning Commission listing for Kevin Chow’s 415 20th Street (which, I have to add, even though the name is the street address, “415” is a signal that San Francisco-level development pressures are hitting Oakland. Yep. After decades of begging for this, we have arrived – but not smartly):
Location: 415 20thSt. PLN 20092
Proposal:New construction of an office tower with 862,048 gross square feet of office, 38 floors and a height of 622 feet. The project includes 262 parking stalls in a 4 level above-ground parking garage. and a ½-acre landscaped amenity space atop the vehicular parking podium and a landscaped observation deck on the topmost floor.
Applicant:415 20thStreet, LLC
Case File Number:PLN20092
Planning Permits Required:Regular Design Review for construction of a non-residential building.Conditional Use Permit for a project exceeding 200,000 sf. and 250 feet of height, Minor Variances to the maximum 5’ setback to allow 1) setbacks of 33’ on 20th St and 13’ on Franklin St. and 2) setback of 33′ within the first 35 feet of vertical building height on 20thSt.
With all of that, The Oakland Planning Commission Staff Report on 415 20th Street design impact wrote that:
The project would result in construction of the tallest building in Oakland (approximately 200 feet taller than the Ordway Building, located at 2 Kaiser Plaza, which is 404 feet tall). The site is designated Central Business District (CBD) Land Use Designation. The intent of the CBD designation is to “encourage, support, and enhance the downtown area as a high-density, mixed-use urban center of regional importance and a primary hub for business, communications, office, government, high technology, retail, entertainment, and transportation in Northern California.”
And because Oakland has no real economic and social impact analysis requirement beyond the California Environmental Quality Act, the report is full of glowing words about the behemoth 415 20th Street, and ends with this conclusion:
Staff believes that the proposed project is well designed and helps to implement the land use vision for the Downtown. The project will add to the City skyline and continue to add to the emerging compact urban center in the downtown. The proposed conditional use permit is supportable because, given the amount of employment opportunity it provides, the traffic generation will have relatively little impact on traffic patterns in the downtown due to the high percentage on non-automobile trips anticipated. The location of the project facilitates a transit-oriented development that encourages workers to use alternative modes of transporatation. In addition, the effects on surrounding buildings and properties from shadow and wind impacts will not be significant despite the height of the building. Other potential spillover effects from the large development can be managed with best management practices administered through the Standard Conditions of Approval.
Where The Hell Is Carroll Fife On This? She Rails Against Howard Terminal Ballpark, But Silent Here
This is in Oakland City Council District Three – that’s the place, my area of living where my home is, and where Moms 4 Housing organizer Carroll Fife won election as City Councilmember last year. Given its obvious gentrification pressures, one would think Ms. Fife would be all over this project. But no. No a peep. And, yet, she has no problem railing against the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal Ballpark Project, saying on Twitter she has no time for anything that does not have to do with resolving the homeless problem. LOL. Forget that the Howard Terminal Ballpark Tax Increment Financing District would generate enough bondable money to put a serious dent in the Oakland homeless problem, but details. Here, in 415 20th Street, we have a structure that will put pressure on for more market rate housing – and Fife says nothing. So far.
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