Located at the southwest corner of 15th and Webster Streets in downtown Oakland, the project site consists of two adjacent parcels that total approximately 15,500 square feet. Each is improved with a 2-story commercial building, one that dates to 1918 and the other to 1935 but neither qualifies as an historic resource. The Project includes demolition of the two buildings, merging the two lots and constructing a 29-story building that includes approximately 1,130 square feet of ground floor retail space, 60,000 square feet of conventional office space, 179 residential apartments and parking for 86 vehicles. A 20% “density bonus” was granted in return for a commitment to restrict the pricing on nine dwelling units to be affordable to very low income households. The developer’s proprietary modular construction technologies will be used to save construction time and costs.
Lamphier-Gregory’s environmental document provided substantial evidence to support the use of a Categorical Exemption pursuant to Section 15332 of the CEQA Guidelines (Infill Development) and for the use of CEQA “streamlining” pursuant to Guidelines Sections 15183 and 15183.3. Technical analyses were undertaken to assess impacts in the areas of air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, historic resources, noise, shadows, traffic and wind. All impacts were found to be less than significant or reduced to that level through the mandatory application of the City’s Standard Conditions of Approval. As part of the review it was determined that although the building would block views of Oakland’s City Hall when viewed from the other side of Lake Merritt, the City had not adopted policies or other measures to legally protect downtown urban ‘view corridors’ and consequently this aspect of the Project was not a factor in the City’s approval process.
At a hearing in February 2018 the project received strong endorsement from members of the public, including several labor unions, and won the unanimous appoval from the Oakland Planning Commission. No appeals or legal challenges were filed.