Appeal Withdrawn for 40-Story Tower in Downtown Oakland

1431 Franklin Street residential aerial view, rendering by LARGE Architecture1431 Franklin Street residential aerial view, rendering by LARGE Architecture

Plans for a 40-story residential tower in Downtown Oakland are moving forward now that a neighboring business owner has dropped an appeal following an agreement with the city. The proposal would bring 381 units to what is currently a surface parking lot at 1431 Franklin Street in the heart of the urban core. Tidewater Capital is the project developer.

Geoffrey Pete, the owner of the neighboring community and event space, Geoffry’s Inner Circle, first submitted an appeal for the residential tower in February last year. The appeal noted that “although it was not acknowledged…during this process, the proposed building if approved, would be built directly next door to a registered National Resource, 410 14th Street.” The appeal highlighted how the review process for the tower reflected “mismanagement of the protections provided by the designation of the cultural district cited as the Black Arts Movement and Business District by the City of Oakland.”

1431 Franklin Street residential streetscape, rendering by LARGE Architecture

1431 Franklin Street residential streetscape, rendering by LARGE Architecture

1431 Franklin Street residential view from above, rendering by LARGE Architecture

1431 Franklin Street residential view from above, rendering by LARGE Architecture

Eli Wolfe of Oaklandside was the first to report on the withdrawn appeal. Wolfe reported that an agreement was reached concerning “stricter conditions that councilmembers imposed on Tidewater’s residential project, including noise mitigation measures and a requirement that the developer hold a community meeting on its draft construction management plan.”

If built, the residential tower would stand 413 feet tall, with 381 apartments, 8,100 square feet of public open space, and on-site residential parking. Large Architecture is responsible for the design. The plans have gone through several design revisions. The latest renderings show a stepped tripartite tower with a uniform gridded facade. The firm shared that their inspiration came from the spired towers across Downtown Oakland and the bold verticality of the Cathedral Building.

1431 Franklin Street residential lobby, rendering by LARGE Architecture

1431 Franklin Street residential lobby, rendering by LARGE Architecture

1431 Franklin Street residential scenario facade massing inspiration, document page by Large Architecture

1431 Franklin Street residential scenario facade massing inspiration, document page by Large Architecture

1431 Franklin Street, image via Google Satellite

1431 Franklin Street, image via Google Satellite

The estimated timeline for construction has yet to be established. Reached for comment, the Construction Direction at Tidewater, Kyle Winkler, told YIMBY, “We have reached this significant milestone through thoughtful collaboration with all stakeholders associated with the project. We look forward to continued engagement as we shepherd this project forward.” Tidewater did not response to questions about the future of their alternative office proposal filed for the same lot.

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23 Comments on "Appeal Withdrawn for 40-Story Tower in Downtown Oakland"

  1. Great news. The future Downtown needs a lot more housing to support foot traffic our local businesses. These underdeveloped parking lots aren’t providing much benefit for the area.

  2. Lots of great features. It references the area around it (setbacks look great), hides the parking podium, and the color scheme isn’t blue and grey with some dumb ‘pop of color.’ Glad it survived one of the most ridiculous appeals ever made. Geoffrey Pete is one well-connected merchant… I’ve never seen the city be that responsive to anyone, let alone a business owner in Downtown Oakland.

  3. Love this proposal. Downtown Oakland has so much development potential, both fully new construction and high-rises with preserved low-rise historical facades.

  4. Excellent! It always bugged me that Downtown Oakland was just slightly below critical mass, and this will correct that. 30 years later than ideal, but better late than never.

    The same goes for Downtown San Jose. The inconvenient location of the airport does not preclude highrises being built to the east of present downtown.

    • Downtown Oakland is at least 50 years away. There are way too many parking lots, single story commercial buildings and underused lots. Downtown Oakland needs at least three more big cycles.

  5. Ignorance about the goals and objectives of the Black Arts Movement and Business District (BAMBD) leads to uninformed comments about this being a “ridiculous appeal”. Developers all but abandoned downtown until recently while small, Black-owned businesses helped keep the district afloat. The BAMBD, the city’s FIRST cultural district, was created to prevent new development from harming existing local businesses. The planning department and the Planning Commission executed a grave disservice by approving the office and residential applications and dismissing the significance of the BAMBD. Kudos to the City Council for partially righting a severe wrong. The office proposal is dead as a result.

    • Did you read Pete’s appeal? I read it, and it was ridiculous.

      For what it’s worth, many businesses in the BAMBD support this development, along with the African American Museum and Library.

  6. Gentrification may be culturally incorrect, but I’m a little tired of returning to my car to find the rear window shattered….not to mention the lawless sideshows, etc.

  7. Hi JohnReading. I emplore you to cite any facts to back up anything in your post. GP is a basic NIMBY that singlehandely drove up the cost of housing for everyone [slow clap].

  8. Implying a connection between the BAMBD and lawlessness is irresponsible and illogical. One has nothing to do with the other unless you believe some “cultures” are predisposed to lawlessness. The cultural district goals are to preserve, protect and enhance black-owned businesses. New development applications are to be encouraged by city staff to abide by these principles, not ignore or dismiss them.

  9. Hi John Damario,
    An online post is not conducive to enlightening uneducated persons about the history of systemic racism and its effects in Oakland and the US. I implore you to educate yourself. Also read the ordinance creating the BAMBD and the current Downtown Oakland Specific Plan on the city’s website.

  10. This is a fantastic looking building. Hope it gets built.

  11. Great but financing. Let’s see if it happens.

  12. SiliconValleyRiseUp | January 29, 2024 at 12:51 pm | Reply

    Imagine being a local business owner and opposing a housing project lol. That’s like being handed less expensive business costs and more foot traffic and sales on a silver platter and saying “No, I don’t want it”

  13. SiliconValleyRiseUp | January 29, 2024 at 12:54 pm | Reply

    Also Oakland has been building a lot of housing very fast recently. Love to see it, and hopefully the rest of the Bay Area can follow suit. Especially San Francisco with all its skyscraper proposals

  14. Imagine being a local business owner and realizing that the construction of your next door neighbor’s housing project would cover the building you’ve owned for years in permanent shadows. Or imagine owning a local business dependent on providing parking for customers and becoming aware that your next door neighbor’s project would eliminate that parking. By the time the next door neighbor’s project brought all those charming little tenants to the neighborhood the business owner would be out of business. But it seems that’s how many of you think life should work.

    • It’s a parking lot now. There shouldn’t be a surface parking lot anywhere in downtown Oakland period full stop. I hope I live long enough to see the remainder built upon. Permanent shadows! It’s not a living creature and I’m sure the vast majority of events at the venue ARE AT NIGHT ANYWAYS.

      • It doesn’t matter when this venue is used. It’s not yours and you don’t get to decide what negatively affects this well established location. More importantly, the Planning Commission should not be in the business of putting one successful business out of business at the expense of another. Both are able to easily exist if adjustments are made and one isn’t given priority. If there’s a problem with parking lots, creating alternative parking locations should have been a required part of the 1431 Franklin proposal. That’s how grownup cities solve these kinds of issues.

    • He doesn’t own the adjacent lots. Is every business entitled to indefinitely preserve adjacent parking lots, whether they own them or not? Is the owner of the parking lot not entitled to sell or develop their land?

  15. SiliconValleyRiseUp, Stretch your thinking – its not hard to imagine a cultural center and live music venue owner having concerns that new residents in gilded bunkers will inevitably object to pre-existing conditions like amplified music, lack of on-street parking, late-night revelry and the like. You oversimplify the context; new housing does not automatically equate to improve conditions for all businesse.

    • Late night revelry! I love that. Gilded bunkers is almost as good. I needed the laugh. Anyhow it’s currently a parking lot. If you think a parking lot is now and forever a higher use that’s pretty much the NIMBY argument in a nutshell. There’s such a thing as riding the bus downtown or getting a rideshare or walking, riding a bike or BART. That what cities are all about. Of course not all businesses succeed, it’s the nature of existence. I’m just glad the teapot tempest was resolved and this project can move forward because high rise residential is the only thing that’s going to save downtown.

  16. The fact that economic progress and preserving black culture and arts can’t coexist is the problem. Neither one should destroy the other. Increased rents = increased tax revenues. Increased foot traffic = increased transactions for a local business owner. Increased transaction = the ability for local businesses to scale and support more employees. No one business should stay so stale that they can’t accommodate multiple ppl & a diverse customer base, at the same time, new builds should invest in existing businesses by helping at the very least uplevel decor and public spaces & sidewalks, removal of blight, et

  17. Paul- the objective is that new development respect the protections afforded existing businesses in the BAMBD. If you followed this application process you would know that the city (staff and Planning Commission) ignored and dismissed the BAMBD. I think we should all agree that development is better than a parking lot – if that development adheres to the BAMBD guidelines.

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