17-Story Condo Tower at Jack London Square Entrance?

By Ken A. Epstein

The City Council’s Community and Economic Development committee is rushing to send a proposal to build a condominium tower at the entrance to Jack London Square to the council for a decision before members’ August recess.

Ben Delaney

Ben Delaney

The committee is leaving it up to the full council to rule on the request by the developer, Ellis Partners, to build the 17-story, 193-foot condo tower.

The parcel at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero is currently used for surface parking that is across from the former Barnes & Noble bookstore. The site has already been approved for 120,000-square-feet of office and retail space.

In response to councilmember and community concerns about the height of the proposed tower, the developer offered a compromise – to reduce the height to 179 feet, a decrease of 14 feet.

Residents and businesses in the Jack London Square area are not opposed to development in their area, but they are against the high-rise tower, said Ben Delaney, president of the Jack London District Association.

Delaney handed committee members a petition signed by 1,400 people opposed to the tower.

“This is an opportunity to set a precedent for smart development,” to avoid the feeling of a gated community and exclusionary development, he said.

“This development towers over (other) large buildings” in the area, he said, urging the city to limit the building to six or eight stories.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, July 11, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)