Crews have finished the concrete foundation pour at 1510 Webster Street in Downtown Oakland for the future 19-story mass timber tower. The project has been designed and developed by Oakland-based oWOW and will eventually become the tallest mass timber building on the West Coast and the second tallest in the country. Once complete, the development will create 222 new homes above commercial and retail space.
1510 Webster Street is just the second mass-timber project from the Oakland firm, and it is significantly taller than their five-story addition at 316 12th Street. Now that the foundation is complete, oWOW President Andy Ball says, “the fun begins… “I’m very excited about this, and I love what we’re doing here with this product, which is really the most sustainable building product in the world.”
During the project’s groundbreaking ceremony, Ball explained to YIMBY how their construction process would look different from the typical rising tower for pedestrians. The building won’t be wrapped with scaffolding, and the facade installation will happen quickly to protect the ply panels, at most five floors below the top levels.
Ball must not be kidding about their admiration for the product. oWOW has already submitted plans for a second mass-timber proposal at 1523 Harrison Street to rise 20 floors on the same block at 1510 Webster. The firm has submitted plans for a nine-story mass-timber addition to a three-story office project at 960 Howard Street in San Francisco.
The 187-foot tall structure will yield 175,750 square feet with 150,200 square feet for housing, 2,930 square feet for retail, and 2,590 square feet for residential amenities split between the ground level and the rooftop. The structure will also include shared open spaces on the 7th and 17th floors.
The project will create 222 rental units, of which 35 are designated as affordable for households earning around 80% of the Area Median Income. There will be 53 one-bedrooms and 169 two-bedrooms. Parking will be included for 76 bicycles in a roughly 400-square-foot room in the basement, easily accessible through a staircase in the main lobby.
DCI will be the structural engineer. The firm has also been involved with One De Haro, the first Cross Laminated Timber office development to finish in California. Calichi Design Group is the civil engineer.
The 0.32-acre property is located at the corner of 15th and Webster Street, close to AC Transit, BART, and Lake Merritt. The architectural style for 1510 Webster was made to respect the adjacent YWCA Building designed by the famous early 20th-Century architect Julia Morgan. Earth-tone terracotta or precast material will complement the historic structure, with the six-story podium datum responding to the neighbor’s height. A public passage will cut through the ground level, bringing pedestrians to a cloistered plaza by retail.
During the groundbreaking last year, Ball shared that the building is expected to open fully by early 2024. Before that, the team hopes to acquire a Temporary Occupancy Certification (TOC) for the lower seven floors, allowing the first move-ins by October of this year. With excavation and foundation work done, their timeline is ambitious but certainly possible.