Developer clears hurdle on 76-unit apartment complex in Oakland

oWow to build eight-story building in Pill Hill to mimic century-old Sawmill Building next door

oWow Ceo Danny Haber with 3403 Piedmont Ave (oWow, SFyimby, iStock)
oWow Ceo Danny Haber with 3403 Piedmont Ave (oWow, SFyimby, iStock)

A 76-unit apartment complex planned next to the historic Saw Mill Furniture building in Oakland has cleared an environmental review.

Construction of the eight-story complex proposed by Oakland-based developer oWow at 3403 Piedmont Ave. is now expected to start this year and be completed in 2023, SFYimby reported.

The 55,000-square-foot infill high-rise will include 28 studios and 45 two-bedroom apartments, with seven units set aside for low-income tenants.

In addition to 2,040 square feet of open space, parking will be included for 29 cars and 23 bicycles, with a 30-percent parking reduction given for being within a half-mile of public transit.

The Piedmont project–owned, designed and developed by oWow in the shadow of I-580–is in the Pill Hill neighborhood along the retail-rich Broadway thoroughfare. It will replace a low-slung office building and parking lot for the century-old Sawmill Building, facing Broadway.

The Saw Mill, a manufacturer of wooden furniture, was known for commercials featuring owner Marty Sherman atop his horse, George. It went belly up in the early 2000s.

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oWow has designed its beige and brown apartment complex next door to mimic the facade of what had originally been a Lyon Moving & Storage Building, built in 1916. Its textured exterior matches the Sawmill, with dark tones above and below. Its top levels will be set back, complementing the height of the historic building.

To bring down housing costs, the architect and developer uses factory-built, prefabricated components whenever possible, according to its website. It lists the adaptive re-use of the 30,000-square-foot Sawmill Building as among its projects.

CaliChi Design Group, based in Sacramento, will conduct the civil engineering, while Seattle-based DCI Engineers will oversee the structural engineering.

[SFYimby]Dana Bartholomew