Ellis Partners and Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation submitted early-stage plans for a 520,000-square-foot office tower in downtown Oakland, aiming to replace a vacant building and parking lot formerly owned by Pacific Gas and Electric.
The 24-story project at 1919 Webster St. is about two blocks west of Lake Merritt and has a pair of BART stations within about a mile of it. Ellis and Intercontinental acquired the site from PG&E in April for $23.5 million and said at the time that they planned to redevelop it into a modern office high-rise.
The development, the maximum size allowed on the site, would replace a parking lot and a 1950s-era office building that’s been vacant for several years. It’s the second venture in downtown Oakland between the two, following The Key at 12th, a renovation of the historic Key System Building, and construction of an adjoining, 18-story office building.
The venture aims to have its Webster Street project approved in the second quarter of next year and to start construction in the fourth quarter, said Matt Weber, vice president of development at Ellis. While the developers would prefer to pre-lease a portion of the project before building it, as they did for The Key at 12th, they’re comfortable breaking ground without a signed pre-lease if markets are “compelling,” Weber said. He declined to disclose a construction cost estimate.
SF YIMBY earlier reported details of the duo’s pre-application, which it filed with the city of Oakland on Nov. 16.
The office market in Oakland’s central business district hasn’t had an auspicious 2021. Absorption was negative 300,000 square feet at the end of the last quarter, according to CBRE.
Still, asking rents in Oakland’s overall office market rose about 5 percent year-over-year in the last quarter at $4.49 a square foot, including expenses, according to CBRE data. Almost 100 different companies were looking for almost two million square feet in the East Bay city at the end of the third quarter, an increase of more than 100 percent since June 2020, according to CBRE.
[SF YIMBY] — Matthew Niksa