Entertainment Complex Poised for Jack London Square

Condo tower proposed for entrance to square

 By Ken A. Epstein

Construction is already underway to build a dining and entertainment complex at the Pavilion Building that formerly housed a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Jack London Square.

Artist's rendering of a new entertainment complex at Jack London Square, scheduled to open by the fall. Rendring courtesy of  Ellis Partners.

Artist’s rendering of a new entertainment complex at Jack London Square, scheduled to open by the fall. Rendering courtesy of Ellis Partners.

In addition, a developer has submitted a proposal to the City of Oakland to build two residential towers – which could be as tall as 25 or 26 stories – in the square by the waterfront.

One of the towers, which is already raising local concerns, would be built on the site of the parking lot at the entrance to the square, across the street from the old bookstore.

A detailed description of the entertainment project will be introduced later this summer, and the site will open to the public this fall.

The entertainment complex will offer casual dining featuring “gastro pub” and coastal California cuisine, luxury bowling lanes, up-to-date and vintage interactive games and a large outdoor beer garden with a long bar and bocce courts.

In addition, the entertainment venue will offer live music and entertainment on weekends as well as an area that can be separated for corporate events and private parties.

Located at 98 Broadway, the city block-sized site includes a 34,000-square-foot building and a 15,000-square-foot outdoor plaza. The development is a project of Jack London Square Ventures, a joint venture between Ellis Partners LLC and DivcoWest, which is working with Trifecta Management Group.

Besides the entertainment complex, Ellis Partners has revamped previously approved Jack London Square plans, now proposing to build two apartment or condominium towers with 665 housing units.

The new proposal is to place buildings of over 20 stories on sites currently slated for office and retail development.

One of the sites is a parcel at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero, currently used for surface parking that is across from the former Barnes & Noble bookstore. It was previously approved for 120,000-square-feet of office and retail space.

A second tower is proposed for Embarcadero between Harrison and Alice streets, already approved for135,000-square-feet of offices. The site is next to the Jack London Market building, which has housing and retail space, and the site of a proposed, 248-room hotel.

Oakland’s planning director Rachel Flynn is supportive of allowing the developer to building housing instead of commercial space as long as it activates the area and can become a landmark for the neighborhood, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

“If they’re not going to have retail, then we want the buildings to be open and have lighting,” she said.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, May 9, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)