Tidewater clears path for 40-story apartment tower in Oakland

Geoffrey Pete, owner of an African-American cultural center next door, drops appeal

Tidewater Clears Path for Apartment Tower in Oakland
Tidewater Capital's Craig Young; rendering of 1431 Franklin Street (Getty, LARGE architecture, Tidewater Capital)

Tidewater Capital has skirted an appeal trying to block a 40-story apartment tower in Downtown Oakland.

The San Francisco developer will move ahead with plans to build a 380-unit apartment building at 1431 Franklin Street, the San Francisco Business Times reported. It would replace a parking lot.

Last year, Tidewater won approval to build either the apartment highrise or a 27-story office tower on half an acre in Downtown.

Then Geoffrey Pete, owner of an African-American cultural center next door, appealed the project on grounds it was out of compliance with city design standards and state environmental law. He said either project would disrupt his Geoffrey’s Inner Circle restaurant and jazz club, and remove parking for his patrons.

Last week, Pete dropped his appeal of the apartment project at an Oakland City Council meeting.

A spokesperson for Tidewater said the developer will pursue the residential option.

“We are pleased to have the final approval of the residential project which enables us to move forward on the development,” the unidentified spokesperson for Tidewater Capital told the 

Business Times in an email. “We will now begin with next steps and look forward to future announcements, including start date.”

The City Council was slated to make a final decision on both appeals on Dec. 19. But the vote was evenly split, leaving the tie-breaker decision to Mayor Sheng Thao at the following meeting on Jan. 16.

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Pete, however, withdrew his appeal at the meeting after reaching an agreement with the council to strengthen the Black Arts Movement and Business District, which was formed in 2016 and includes Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

It appears that Pete also withdrew the appeal for the office project. In his appeals to both projects, he said the city had “consistently ignored” the district and the impact the project would have on it. 

The agreement includes consideration of several initiatives, such as improving the streetscape along 14th Street, funding art installations and helping tenants in the district pay for facade improvements. A committee hearing on it is slated for Feb. 27.

Tidewater plans to build 380 apartments, including 38 affordable units for very-low-income households. It would include a five-level parking garage. The project has received a conditional use permits and gone through design review.

Oakland’s number of apartments has grown over the past seven years, with more than 15 new buildings springing up across Uptown and Downtown, according to the Business Times.

Another three projects are expected to finish construction this year, adding 1,000 new homes. Among those projects is a 39-story, 452-unit tower at 1900 Broadway from San Ramon-based Behring. 

In October, Tidewater announced it secured more than $200 million in equity commitments for its latest fund, which it said would open the door to more investment in Bay Area projects.

— Dana Bartholomew

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From left: Geoffrey’s Inner Circle's Geoffrey Pete and Tidewater Capital's Craig Young with 1431 Franklin Street (Getty, Geoffrey's Inner Circle, Tidewater Capital, LARGE)
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Tidewater's Craig Young with 1431 Franklin Street
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Rendering of 1431 Franklin Street Office (left) and Residential (right), with Tidewater managing principal Craig Young (Tidewater Capital, Large Architecture)
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