Oakland tower Rendering: Oliver McMillan

Downtown Oakland is about to drastically change, and not just because of Uber’s impending move-in. Last week Oakland City Council tentatively approved a 27-story mixed-use project for 1911 Telegraph Avenue, which is across the street from the Fox Theatre’s box office, as well as across from the Uber headquarters that will be completed in 2017.

During last week’s meeting, Oakland City Council revisited their wishes for the lot, which included “a combination of ground floor retail, high density housing, an optional hotel component, high-quality architecture and urban design. A project that delivers the maximum fiscal and economic benefits to the city and we wanted the developer to provide community benefits, such as affordable housing, local business and employment participation, labor peace agreements to the extent feasible.”

Oliver McMillan, a San Diego based developer, pursued the project while in partnership with Oakland’s Strategic Urban Development Alliance. Their proposal outlines 168 hotel rooms, 330 residential units, over 4,000 square feet for an art gallery, and over 56,000 square feet for retail space.

The proposed retail space was key in beating out the other developers vying for the city-owned property.

“We’re bullish on this market. We’re bullish on downtown Oakland. Retail is integral to this thing,” said Oliver. “It’s hard for retailers to come into a city without a critical mass. There’s potential on Telegraph Avenue for that.”

The residential portion will be 15 percent affordable housing. “And we don’t bring people in through the back doors, ever,” Oliver added. “Those residents will come in right next door to those paying millions of dollars for a unit.”

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