A vacant 1-acre surface parking lot bounded by 21st, Webster, 22nd streets and Kaiser Plaza in downtown Oakland is the site of a proposed new high-rise office building. Uncertain of the depth of market demand for class A office space, the project sponsor proposed two alternative schemes that differed primarily in scale and height. Scheme A would be 23 stories (318 feet) with 457,100 total sq. ft. of office space, 11,280 sq. ft. of ground floor retail space and 280 parking spaces. Scheme B would have 35 stories (487 feet), offering 850,055 sq. ft. of office space, 8,700 sq. ft. of ground floor retail space and 352 parking spaces.
With a site this close to Lake Merritt, and downwind from other tall buildings in Oakland’s downtown area, the most challenging aspect of the project was to fine-tune the design following iterative wind tunnel testing to arrive at design schemes that avoid unacceptable wind impacts.
The environmental document provided substantial evidence demonstrating compliance with several sections of the CEQA Guidelines including a Categorical Exemption as an Infill Development (§15332), an EIR Addendum to the previously certified EIR for the Central District Urban Redevelopment Plan (§15164), a Community Plan Exemption (§15183) and a project consistent with a Redevelopment Plan (§15168 and 15180).
The environmental document was adopted and the project was approved by the Oakland Planning Commission in early 2018. No appeals or legal challenges were filed. As of the date of this writing it is not yet known whether the project sponsor will build Scheme A or Scheme B.