So tonight’s Planning Commission meeting (PDF!) will have an EIR scoping session for the Kaiser Center Project, which I could not be more excited about. The Swig Company, from San Francisco, owns the Kaiser Center and wants to demolish the commercial space behind it and replace it with the two tallest buildings in Oakland. Awesome! Bye-bye, Longs. Bye-bye, 24 Hour Fitness. Hello, high rises!
So this would basically be right behind the Kaiser Center (386 feet tall, BTW). Swig owns the Kaiser Center, as well as the adjacent garage and “mall.” If the project gets approved, the mall goes. In its place, we would get two new office towers. One would be 34 stories, or 436 feet. The other would be 42 stories, or 566 feet. I can’t remember ever being so excited about a development. 1.47 million square feet of Class A office space right here in downtown Oakland with Lake views. It gives me goosebumps!
Let’s see, what else is there to say about this? The Kaiser Center garage would be expanded from 1,340 parking spaces to 2,037 spaces. The new buildings would include 22,500 square feet of retail space along Webster and 20th.
And I know what you’re all thinking. What does this mean for V Smoothe’s favorite open space in all of Oakland, the Kaiser garage rooftop garden?
Will they be demolishing this precious open space treasure and replacing it with skyscrapers? You all can breathe easy, because the answer is No! The garden will be reconfigured, but when it’s finished, it’s actually going to be bigger! 4,564 square feet bigger (for a total size of 127,170 sf). And, one assumes, shadier, what with the two new high rises looming over it. They will also be adding an exterior stairway to access the garden from 20th Street.
You can read the staff report for tonight’s scoping session here (PDF!) and the EIR Notice of Preparation here (PDF!). If there’s anything you want them to study in the EIR, you have until Monday (June 23) to submit your comments to the City.