Encinal Tower scoping session tonight

Remember the tallest building in Oakland? Well, it’s moving through the CEQA process right now, and will have its EIR scoping session at tonight’s Planning Commission meeting (PDF). This is where you go and tell them what issues you want studied in the Environmental Impact Report. If you can’t make it to the meeting, you have until November 17 to submit comments in writing.

In case you missed it the first time around, here’s a brief project description from the staff report (PDF):

The project proposes the demolition of the Encinal Broadway building, the colonnade and the surface parking lot and construction of a 56-story high-rise building (715′). The Tapscott Building would be rehabilitated as part of the proposed project. The high-rise tower combined with the refurbished Tapscott Building would have approximately 1.57 million gross sq. ft. (gsf) of space including 829,500 gsf of office space, 384 spaces, 220 residential units on the upper floors covering approximately 350,600 gsf, and about 85,200 gsf of retail space.

The high-rise tower would have an overall contemporary appearance and resemble a helical stair case stepping back from a broad base up to the slim residential tower above the 33rd floor. The building would have a dual structural system consisting of an interior core combined with an exterior painted or stainless steel frame. This structual design would make the building particularly resistant to earthquake loads. The building would be sheathed primarily in glass separated by metal spandrel panels. These panels may also be covered with photovoltaic cells to help provide electric power for the building.

The ground floor level of the high-rise tower would include an atrium, the office lobby, an auditorium, approximately 2,600 gsf of retail space, the residential lobby, management office, kitchen support, and additional MEP space. The ground floor plan also shows an escalator from the building’s proposed BART station entrance and a through passage allowing pedestrian traffic between Broadway and Franklin Street.

The existing Tapscott Building would be renovated for retail purposes (approximately 14,400 gsf) that would be accessed from Broadway and 19th Street. Levels 2 through 5 of the tower would contain 206 parking spaces and MEP spaces. The 6th level of the building above grade would contain a health club type facility or a conference center for the building tenants. Levels 7 through 31 would comprise the office portion of the tower. An amenity space would be provided at the 32nd level which would include a lap pool, community room, an exercise room, and access to additional outdoor space for the residents. Residential units would be located above the ofice levels from the 34th to the 55th level of the tower, with 10 units per level, each with its own outdoor terrace. The 56th floor would contain mechanical systems.

Renderings and site plans here (PDF).

So there you go. Personally, I’m very concerned about the dental services provider in the existing building that will be torn down for this project, and would like to see the EIR investigate the impact the losing of Gold Teeth Master on community health. Between that and Mr. Bling closing shop last year, where are DTO residents expected to go for grill care?

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13 thoughts on “Encinal Tower scoping session tonight

  1. Max Allstadt

    I’m concerned about the devastating environmental impact of distracting every NIMBY in town with a single massive project. Who will be left to complain about smaller stuff? This kind of monopoly on indignation would have wide reaching consequences for years to come.

  2. Navigator

    I would love to see the thugs who deface downtown Oakland with graffiti and litter displaced. That area of Broadway between 19th and 15th, looks so shabby.

    Also, can’t the city hire someone to keep the area around the bus stops between 14th & Broadway & 12th & Broadway free of litter. This is suppose to be the heart of downtown Oakland and it looks awful. Can you imagine a first time visitor to Oakland driving down Broadway and looking at that mess? It’s downright embarrassing .

    Also, why are some of the Neanderthals who take the bus too lazy to walk three freaking feet and throw their litter in the trash can? Downtown Oakland will never realize its full potential as long as these bus stops are allowed to be clustered in prominent downtown intersections. The bust stop blight evident at 14th & Broadway, has now been exported to Berkley Way next to Sears. What was recently a brand new transit center with new bus shelters, freshly painted utility boxes and benches at Broadway & Berkeley Way, is now a litter strewn street with etched graffiti on the bus shelters and on the traffic modulation boxes. The wall of the Sears store is now marred with graffiti from one end to the other. Typical Oakland, no one cares. Sears doesn’t care to clean the graffiti from the side of its store, and the City of Oakland doesn’t care to make sure the street remains free of litter. Who was the genius who decided to bring a huge bus stop to that area? On one hand, Oakland tries to revitalize Uptown with new housing, restaurants, and a renovated Fox Theater. On the other hand, they bring in a transit center, with all of it’s associated blight to hamper businesses like Sears and Cafe Madrid.

    Anyway, bring in Encinal Tower and knock down as many of the establishments which bring in lowlife thugs, vandals, litter bugs, scofflaws, etc. which then brings the quality of life in downtown Oakland down to their miserable level.

  3. das88

    @Navigator “knock down as many of the establishments which bring in lowlife thugs, vandals, litter bugs, scofflaws, etc.”

    I don’t really think it is the businesses as much as the schools in downtown. Certainly outside the Burger King are your DTO zombies, but for the most part they are too zoned out to graffiti and don’t have the means to litter.

    Many of the students take the bus, and I am afraid they act like kids. They wait for the busses and their attention wanders.

    I saw a girl of about 12 or 13 walk out of the drugstore at 14th & Broadway. While half way out the door she spit out a wad of gum into the vestibule while simultaneously popping a plastic top off a can of Pringles onto the sidewalk.

    I hope some enterprising NPO gets some of that new OO money and uses to get some of these kids to clean up their messes.

  4. Ralph

    is this true? No more Grillz – what is a young under employed ne’er do well suppose to do for the latest in mouth jewelry. I sure hope they find a suitable place for relocation like BFE.

  5. San Antonio Wanderer

    It’s not just downtown, since moving here 2 years ago I’m amazed at how some kids just don’t care about their neighborhoods. I once saw someone throw a soda cup out the window of a ACT bus.

    I’m not surprised that Uptown Transit Center is showing some wear. Instead of clear panels in the shelters they should have used panels with sandblasted artwork or design. Area history or some such.

    DTO needs litter patrols and that green machine sweeper used on sidewalks in SF.

  6. Navigator

    I just drove through Berkeley Way today and the litter which was there on Wednesday is still there today with more added on. The side of the Sears building is still marred by graffiti from one end to the other. Not far from the Transit Center, the Pediatric Dentistry Building at 2100 Broadway has a large amount of graffiti on its side wall as a great welcome to downtown Oakland for people heading south towards City Hall and Jack London Square. This building had ‘KAMOS” on its side for the longest time. As usual, the City of Oakland and the property owner ignored this lone tag. Now, the wall is covered with many more tags. This is typical of the attitude of neglect which festers in every facet of civic life in Oakland.

    As das 88 noted, it may well be the work of “students” attending schools downtown. Why aren’t these kids thought respect for their city in these schools? This is not inevitable. This is not “just what kids do.” My kids attend school in Pleasant Hill, and I can tell you that you would be hard pressed to find a candy wrapper anywhere near the streets the kids take to, and from, school. The bus stops are also clean and free of graffiti. The students at my kid’s school respect their neighborhoods along with public and private property.

    Why are these little punks allowed to trash everything in site with impunity? Who runs the show in Oakland? The delinquents seem to have the upper hand. It’s time these young people learn a little respect for others. Most people don’t want to see their path of destruction defacing a city they love and have high hopes for. Teach them right from wrong at school. It’s obvious many don’t get the basics at home. If that doesn’t work then it’s time our highly paid and very ineffective police department begin enforcing the “quality of life” crimes laws which John Russo has championed. Unfortunately, it all seems like all talk and no action. Downtown Oakland is proof that the vandals are winning and that the City of Oakland once again has no answers.

  7. Navigator

    Also, how to these vandals have the time to deface entire windows with elaborate graffiti without the fear of getting caught in prominent areas of downtown Oakland, like 19 Grand Ave, and in the front of the former Broadway Ford dealership at 27th & Broadway? I mean, we are talking about Grand Avenue and Broadway, right in the open, and these guys are like Picasso working on their master pieces without a care in the world. The building at Grand & Broadway, where Bake Sale Betty is going to open, was recently freshly painted, but now the windows have “masterpieces” on them. These vandals have plenty of time to sit in front of businesses in prominent locations in downtown Oakland and just paint a portrait like you would do at Lake Merritt on an easel. They know that OPD takes the weekends off and couldn’t be bother to patrol the city’s downtown. It’s a free for all in Oakland for all of the “artists.”

  8. das88

    I think in order to enforce graffiti, litter, and other quality of life issues we need more cops on the ground. These types of issues cannot be enforced from a patrol car. I hardly ever see an officer on foot (except walking from the police station to get coffee) or on bike. The Oakland flatlands combined with the great weather seem really suited to bike patrols.

  9. Navigator

    When the Oakland Police Department becomes about the quality of life in Oakland, rather then the quality of life of the mercenary officers from Pleasanton, Dublin, Castro Valley, Alameda, etc., then, and only then, will Oakland improve.

  10. Max Allstadt


    One of the storefronts on Grand near Broadway was tagged from the inside, with full consent. I hope you’re not confusing that for vandalism. As a matter of fact, because it’s tagged from the inside, that particular storefront hasn’t got much in the way of unconsented graffiti.

    There are some other vacant storefronts on Grand that have real graffiti. Perhaps if we had some decent retail attraction initiatives, we’d have less graffiti. Even in large cities with appropriately sized police forces, it’s difficult at best to keep graffiti off of empty properties or poorly travelled pieces of infrastructure like rail bridges and the like.

    In the eyes of a tagger, billboards that convey messages like “lose more money at Cache Creek, sucker” or “eat more McShitburgers” are much more harmful. Good luck convincing them otherwise. They kind of have a point.

  11. Chris Kidd

    Putting cops on the street is imporant, but it’s only one part (and an over-rated one, at that) of solving quality of life issues like grafitti, trash, etc. Education and community building need to be given equal prominence in solving those problems. Just as important as making kids feel unwelcome if they’re engaging in anti-social behavior is making them feel welcome when they aren’t. Making it “us vs. them” encourages more deviant behavior, not less.

    Putting more feet on the street at all hours of the day is another way to curb those problems. Having enough cops to “not give them the time” to deface property is way less cost effective than building an all-hours community downtown where the pressence of regular people would not only discourage that kind of activity, but also such a community would presumably have enough pride in their neighborhood to either call the cops on the spot or confront the vandals themselves. Having a single-purpose commuter downtown brings that kind of activity upon itself because it’s essentially empty when it’s not fulfilling its single purpose.

  12. Navigator

    Max, thanks for the clarification on the Grand Ave. building. I didn’t realize that the “art” was done with consent. To me, it looks like blight. However, we all have different interpretations of what is art and of what is pleasing to the eye.

    Chris, I agree with you that downtown Oakland needs a 24 hour vibrancy. Or, at the very least, an 18 hour a day vibrancy. I think we are making gains in that regard with the new housing at Uptown, Old Oakland, Chinatown, Lake Merritt, and Jack London Square. The restoration of the Fox Theater, along with a better utilization of the Paramount Theater, can go a long way to attaining those goals.

    However, the lack of attention to detail as far as the appearance of DTO by the City of Oakland and private business owners, makes that progress that much harder. Keeping downtown Oakland looking its best isn’t rocket science. It just takes a little consistent and coordinated effort between the city and private businesses. Unfortunately, the lack of having enough foresight to hire someone to make sure that the areas around prominent bus stop intersections like 14th & Broadway, 12th & Broadway, and the new Uptown Transit Center, stay litter and graffiti free, costs the city much more in the form of a negative image of the area for potential new residents and businesses. The city could hire someone for minimum wage, or perhaps civic minded senior citizen volunteers, to keep these areas looking good. The Gap recently closed in what should be a prominent location at 14th & Broadway. The space is still vacant. What business person is going to go to 14th & Broadway, look at all the litter on the ground next to the bus stops, and come away with a great impression of that location for retail?

    Why isn’t something like hiring someone just to maintain the very heart of downtown Oakland implemented, along with educating the people creating this blight in the first place, about civic pride and civic responsibility? Walking three feet to the trash can next to the bus stop should be a simple instinctive reaction. Not defacing property and blighting your city should be taken for granted.

    We never hear Mayor Dellums, Nancy Nadel or any prominent business leaders addressing these issues. Sure, we get feel good press releases about “quality of life” issues, but nothing ever gets done on a consistent basis. I’d like to hear what influential citizens like Rebecca Kaplan, and Phil Tagami, have to say about these issues. I have a lot of respect for these individuals, and I know they care about the quality of life in Oakland. Phil Tagami for example, has done so much for downtown Oakland. The restoration of the Rotunda Building is amazing. The ongoing restoration of the FOX Theater is obviously a labor of love. People like Phil Tagami put so much time, money, and effort in reclaiming these magnificent historic architectural gems for the benefit of the City and all of its residents, only to have the City of Oakland not be able to keep up their end of the bargain by providing the basics of a well maintained downtown. Something needs to be done!