Downtown Oakland garage makes way for city’s largest residential tower

Merchants Parking Garage in Oakland will soon be demolished to make room for a new residential tower. This tower will be the largest residential tower in Oakland. “Real estate developer Carmel Partners is replacing the garage at 1314 Franklin St. with a 40-story building atop a seven-floor podium that will include 634 residential units and about 17,000 square-feet of retail space, according to city records. There will be 600 off-street parking spaces.”

The tower will include 634 residences, 27 to 54 of these units will be reserved as “permanently affordable” units. “The affordability calculations are based on 540 units. The plans call for either 5 percent of the units to be priced for households earning 50 percent of the area median income or 10 percent made available to households that are at 80 percent of the area median income.” There is no information available how the other units will be priced. In addition to 634 residences, there will be 2,400 square feet reserved for retail space. This retail space will be reduced below market rate to be “community-serving business compatible with residences in the neighborhood.”

The project was approved in April and was met with some opposition from community groups seeking more community benefits. “As part of the agreement, the development will include a 20 percent local-hire goal for construction, working with local job centers.  The development agreement also calls for conducting a study to determine feasibility of a shuttle bus service along the 14th Street corridor.”

“The two-story parking garage, which has been there for decades, was once the site of Contra Costa Academy, founded by Henry Durant, the 16th mayor of Oakland. The academy later became the College of California before it was relocated to Berkeley and became the University of California. A historic marker at the garage will be relocated to the new building when it is completed.”

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