KTGY Architecture + Planning and the San Francisco Bay Area office of Trammell Crow Residential (TCR) recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $135-million redevelopment of an Oakland parking lot into a mixed-use destination with luxury apartment homes, retail, parking and art.

The Alexan Webster enjoys a central location with a close proximity to Lake Merritt and the thriving Uptown Oakland, which is near restaurants and shops, the Cathedral of Oakland, employers and the 19th BART station.

The project was designed by KTGY and is being built by Suffolk Construction, who are currently demolishing the existing parking lot and preparing the site. The project is slated for completion  in summer 2019. 

The 1.42-acre redevelopment represents a public-private-partnership (P3) between the city and TCR, and is a culmination of more than four years of planning.

"The project is on the site of a city-owned public surface parking lot and the public/private partnership was the best way to provide the city with parking, plus help meet the demand for more housing," says Bruce Dorfman, Trammell Crow Residential’s senior managing director of Northern California. "Trammell Crow made a deal with the city to build the public parking in exchange for the land."

Dorfman says with demand for housing "at an all-time high and a shortage of buildable land, there is a unique opportunity to densify these areas and transform them into a live-work-play destination."

 The new sustainable development located at 2330 Webster Street will feature a 234-unit mixed-use luxury apartment community with 15,000 sq-ft of neighborhood-serving street-front retail. The design also includes a parking garage with 242 public city stalls as well as unbundled parking for the Alexan Webster residents. 

“This development takes an under-used piece of property and creatively redevelops it providing essential housing, retail and art elements that benefit Oakland without displacing anyone living or working in the area,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf in a news release.

“The Alexan fills a void in the city's urban fabric by creating an active project frontage on both Valdez Street and Webster Street. The project wraps around an existing auto body shop and the former Hawker Fare restaurant at the corner of 23rd and Webster,” said Jessica Musick, associate principal in KTGY’s Oakland office in a news release. “The existing structures create an opportunity for unique architectural language along each street frontage."  

Musick told me the podium structure will consist of three levels of Type I construction, one subterranean garage level and two levels above grade, on top of which will lay five levels of Type III residential apartments. "The Alexan Webster will display a rich material palette that includes brick, metal panels, cementitious panels, and plaster as well as generous glazing," she says.

 The design includes approximately 5,000 sq-ft of indoor amenity and leasing space, as well as a lap pool, which is  unique for an apartment community, and a rooftop deck that capitalizes on dramatic views of Lake Merritt, the Oakland hills and downtown Oakland. Additionally, the Alexan Webster will feature an art installation on the rooftop deck adjacent to the amenity area. 

For a touch of art the project team commissioned artist Tom Fruin to create an iconic outdoor “water tower” sculpture overlooking the rooftop lounge. The sculpture can be illuminated at night and seen from the ground as well as throughout the neighborhood.

Dorfman told me the project faced an interesting challenge in that the Alexan Webster involves building a luxury apartment community over a public parking structure which also has an exclusive residential parking area “nested” in the structure. "The integration of the public and private elements of this building were very complex and had to be thoughtfully designed to enhance access, functionality, security, and convenience of the users," he says.  

The new apartment community will feature a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes ranging in size from 610 sq-ft to 1,160 sq-ft. The energy-efficient apartment homes will come with a full-size washer and dryer, gourmet-style kitchen with a waterfall countertop and gas range, plus large picture windows and high-end designer fixtures and finishes.

In addition to the lap pool, the community amenities will also include a community center, concierge, rooftop lounge, business center, 24-hour fitness center, outdoor kitchen, bicycle repair center and storage, and a pet spa.