Developer withdraws plans for 27- or 43-story tower in Oakland

A developer with two sets of plans to build a tall apartment building in Downtown Oakland has withdrawn the project to ponder whether to include biotech labs, offices or a theater.

T21 M1, based in Berkeley, had filed preliminary plans to build either a 27-story residential highrise with labs or a 43-story residential tower with offices and a theater at 2040 Telegraph Avenue, SFYimby reported.

But the developer withdrew its zoning worksheet application until it figures out a feasible use for the building, according to David Gill of David Gill Architect, the designer who filed the plans. The owner of T21 M1 couldn’t be identified through state business records.

“The owner would prefer to withdraw,” David Gill, based in Oakland, wrote the city. “We’ll start a new application when we’ve resolved the changes they want to make. Thanks for understanding.”

The 2.5-acre site includes a vacant, 3,400-square-foot commercial building that was once home to the Lost and Found beer garden, which closed in 2020. It would be razed to make way for the tower.

T21 M1 bought the property in 2019 for $8 million.

It then filed preliminary plans for two types of towers. The first was for a 27-story tower with an undisclosed number of apartments, plus biotech laboratories, which require tall ceilings.

The second was for a 43-story tower with an unspecified number of homes and offices, and a prospective theater.

The proposed tower will be next door to Forma, a 24-story apartment tower developed by Holland Partner Group. For transit, the 19th Street BART Station is one block away. 

The project is on the same block as the city-owned Paramount Theater, a 3,040-seat Art Deco concert hall and local landmark.

Greater Downtown Oakland has struggled since the dawn of the pandemic in 2020.

In July, office vacancy in the core business district of Downtown Oakland, Uptown and Lake Merritt hit 35.7 percent, while office landlords have lowered rents. Meanwhile, crime rose, foot traffic fell and storefronts closed.

A year ago, a chamber representing more than 1,000 local businesses demanded that the city enact measures to revive Downtown.

In August, locally based R2 Building scrapped plans to build a 39-story apartment building at 2044 Franklin Street, after a year-long search for investors fell through.

— Dana Bartholomew

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