Developer committed to 100K sf office in Downtown Oakland despite lagging back-to-work trends

Signature Development Group sees diverse commercial landscape as cause for confidence

465 25th Street and 2368 Valley Street in Oakland with Signature Development Group's Michael Ghielmetti (Google Maps, Signature Development Group)
465 25th Street and 2368 Valley Street in Oakland with Signature Development Group's Michael Ghielmetti (Google Maps, Signature Development Group)

Oakland-based Signature Development Group has passed an environmental review and reiterated its plans to move forward with a nearly 100,000-square-foot office building in the city’s Downtown despite lagging numbers on a return to work.

The developer pointed to the varied lineup of the commercial real estate landscape in the city’s center as reason to press on, with a final approval from the Oakland City Council pending.

“Oakland is more diverse downtown, with more residential and retail than San Francisco, which will draw people,” said a representative from Signature Group.

The mix of uses and a location at the center of the Bay Area gives Oakland an edge over other cities in the region,” he said.

Signature Group is maintaining that outlook despite data that offers a different and downbeat perspective.

Oakland, along with the rest of the Bay Area, is “lagging behind” employees returning to the office after working remotely for the past two years, according to a report by NBC Bay Area. The report said that while the national average of workers returning to the office is about 44 percent, the average in the Bay is about 34 percent.

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The Bay Area’s outsized share of high-tech companies were better prepared to accommodate employees working remotely compared with other regions of the state and nation––and those employees have embraced working from home.

The trend has continued to hit Oakland, where “the much-anticipated return to office during the first quarter was sluggish,” according to a Q1 report by Avison Young.

Office vacancy rates in Oakland increased to 18.9 percent from 16.2 percent from last quarter.The report suggested little change is likely as long as remote and hybrid options are available to employees.

Signature Development’s project in the city’s Downtown consists of two sites that combine to cover 444, 450, and 460 24th St. and 465 25th St. The bulk of the project is taken up by 86,000 square feet of office space, 11,980 of retail on the first floor. A pedestrian paseo connecting 24th and 25th Street is proposed, which will provide space for more retail tenants as well as artist workspaces, according to the developer.

Overall, the project would include 98,080 square feet of office and commercial space while providing 132 parking stalls and 23 bike parking stalls, with a proposed height of eight to four stories. Parking for the office and retail uses would be located on the project site in a garage on the first floor.

The second site is located at 2369 Valley Street and also proposes 580 square feet of remodeled shipping containers for artist workspaces.The three existing parking stalls would be relocated offsite on the commercial parking area The existing 0.92 acre site contains four garage structures, a vacant warehouse structure, and surface parking. Oakland-based Signature Development Group is the developer for this project.

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