The Oakland Planning Commission gave the go-ahead for developer CIM Group to build two new residential towers in Jack London Square; the decision came at the same meeting (April 19) the OPC also approved Oakland’s largest residential tower project, 1314 Franklin Street.
The first tower approved is an eight story, 135 dwelling-unit building with 2470 square feet of retail space, and 36 on-site parking spaces, will be built on what the city government calls “Site D” of Jack London Square, which is on the west side of Broadway, south of the Union Pacific right-of-way on Embarcadero.
(Site D Once Completed. Photos Courtesy of the Oakland Planning Commission and CIM Group)
The city’s general plan for Site D designates the land for “Retail, Dining, Entertainment Phase 2.” Site D is meant to “enhance and intensify Lower Broadway as an active pedestrian-oriented entertainment district that can help to create stronger activity and pedestrian linkages with downtown Oakland, Old Oakland, and Chinatown,” according to an April 19 Oakland Planning & Building Department report.
The other tower is also eight stories and will be built on “Site F2” of Jack London, which is south of Embarcadero between Harrison and Alice streets. This second tower is larger than its sibling, with 338 dwelling units, 2562 square feet of ground floor retail and 86 on-site parking spaces.
(Site F2 once completed. Photos Courtesy of the Oakland Planning Commission and CIM Group)
Site F2 was designated by the city government as a “Mixed Use District,” meaning Site F2 is expected to help “encourage the development of nontraditional higher density housing (work/live, lofts, artists’ studios) within a context of commercial and light industrial/manufacturing uses,” according to the April 19 report.
In giving its approval for the towers, the Oakland Planning Commission directed CIM Group to continue to work with city staff on exterior treatments for the buildings. The Commission would like the buildings’ uses of stucco to be minimized, and for the builder to utilize more high-quality exterior materials, particularly at Site D. Site D could use a “signature exterior color palette” that reflects its prominence next to an “internationally significant” waterfront and port; while Site F2’s parking garage’s appearance could be reduced and its ground floor pedestrian experience enhanced “with lighting, landscaping and visually interesting experiences that could include storefront display windows, murals or other forms of public art,” as the April 19 report stated.
Despite their call for improving the exterior treatments, commissioners were quite supportive of the projects, with Planning Commissioner Adhi Nagraj even calling the F2 site one of the best design schemes he had reviewed during his time on the commission.