Friday, September 19, 2014

JLDA's Response to High-rises Town Hall Meeting

On September 8th, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney hosted a Town Hall meeting to discuss the proposal to build two high-rises on our waterfront. JLDA learned only an hour before the meeting that our promised 10-minute presentation had been unilaterally taken off the agenda. The developers were still allowed their 15 minutes to show their new, extremely rough drawings of what the building at site D (Broadway and Embarcadero) could look like. They also talked about the impact of development of retail availability, the value of residential density in the Square, and a few other items.

JLDA was not permitted to present its side of the story. It felt to us that the height issue was not really on the table. We were unable to get the floor to say that density (good) does not equal height (not so good). We were also unable to point out that despite the developer's insistence that density would create a demand for retail, they have NO retail in their plan. Their meaningless term, 'activation" only means that they will try to make the place look nice, with window boxes in place of blank walls. A lobby door hardly counts as activation.

While we weren't able to make our presentation, we wanted to give residents of the Jack London District an opportunity to review this slide show and comment on the proposal through this blog. Click here to review our presentation.

For a good history of development in the Square, and Ellis Partners' efforts, read this East Bay Express article from 2007 (Thanks to Linda Forde for bringing this to my attention.)


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

JLDA Letter to the Oakland Planning Commission regarding Jack London Square Development

May 9, 2014

Oakland Planning Commission
City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94610

Re: Jack London Square Development, Amendment to adopted PUD

I am writing as President of the Jack London District Association (JLDA) in regard to the above matter. 

On January 14, 2014, JLDA convened a Town Hall meeting attended by approximately 75 members of the community, including representatives of Councilmembers McElhaney, Kaplan and Kernighan’s offices, Catherine Payne from your office, and BART Director Zakhary Mallet. The developers were represented by five members of their team, and made a detailed presentation to the assembly.

The community expressed great concern that the Embarcadero frontage of Site D be devoted to retail space, which the developer claims is impossible with the high-rise option, and difficult with the mid-rise option, due to the need for parking spaces. The community expressed concern about traffic flow, of both vehicles and pedestrians, at the Broadway and Embarcadero corner, as well as the possibility that a high-rise building would be significantly out of scale with the neighborhood, dwarfing the current buildings and encouraging a wall of high-rise buildings along the Embarcadero. 

This would be contrary to the 1999 Estuary Plan directives, and to the esthetic preferences of a majority of those attending the Town Hall meeting. At the end of the meeting, we conducted an informal votes on several particular aspects of the plans. Here are the results.

  • Should residential space/density in the Jack London District increase? 
    • Overwhelmingly, yes.
  • Is it OK to change the entitlement from office space to residential? 
    • Yes.
  • At Site D (Broadway and Embarcadero) do you favor:
    • The high-rise (193feet, 17 stories): 17% yes
    • Mid-rise (90 feet, 8 stories): 31% yes
    • Low-rise (68 feet, 6 stories): 52% yes
  • • At Site F2 (Embarcadero and Harrison) do you favor:
    • High rise (243 feet, 26 stories): about 10% yes
    • Mid-rise (97 feet, 8 stories): about 75% yes
    • Low-rise (75 feet, 6 stories): about 75% yes
Based on the consensus achieved at this meeting, JLDA recommends
  • The low- or mid-rise plans for Site D and Site F2. 
  • Retail development along the Embarcadero, especially at Site D.
  • That the City to reduce the number of options for the sites from six to no more than four. 
  • That the development time not be extended.
JLDA strongly urges the Planning Commission to hear the voice of the residents and businesses of the Jack London District and restrict this development to a scale and use that will truly add to the allure and livability of this wonderful neighborhood. We hope that transit options other than private cars will be a part of the plan. Smart planning of this site will enhance Oakland’s reputation and make one of the City’s most desirable neighborhoods a continuing draw for residents, businesses and visitors.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Ben Delaney, President
Jack London District Assn.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

JLDA Town Hall Meeting to discuss proposed new buildings in Jack London Square

When:   Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, 7:00pm to 9pm
Where:  ConnexionJLP, 520 Third Street, Suite 109, Oakland, CA 94607
Who:     Sponsored by JLDA, Everyone Welcome!

Jack London Square Ventures LLC (A partnership between Ellis Partners, LLC, and Transbay Holdings) is proposing two new residential high-rise buildings on sites currently entitled for office and retail uses. One would be at the corner of Embarcadero and Broadway, now a surface parking lot, and currently entitled for 120,000 square feet of office and retail space. The other is slated for Embarcadero between Harrison and Alice streets, another parking lot, currently entitled for 135,000 square feet of office. The developers are asking the city for right to build up to a 25 story height (about 275 feet) and up to 665 housing units.
What do you think? Come to this meeting to discuss these plans, and try to arrive at a community consensus. Invited guests include representatives of the Developer, and District 3 City Staff.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Announcing PARK(ing) Day in Jack London District

When:   Friday, September 20th, 2013, 9:00am to 3pm
Where:  Blue Bottle Coffee, 300 Webster St.
Who:     Sponsored by JLDA, Everyone Welcome!

JLDA will host our neighborhood’s first (recorded) “PARK(ing)” space as part of International PARK(ing) Day on September 20th. Jack London District will join park loving communities from Bratislava to Wellington in transforming a single parking space into a temporary public space for all to enjoy.

Photo of Farley’s, on 33 Grand Avenue, from the Urban Reciprocity Blog.
Farley’s, pre-parklet, decided to go casual, but sparked a movement.
We will host ours in front of Blue Bottle Coffee on Webster Street, where visitors can try out the spot we hope will one day be a fully-fledged Parklet. The theme and activities are being developed; we might even try “Bluegrass & Blue Bottle”! We will make sure it is a fun place to hang out for a coffee and relax, so be sure to come by bring a game, friend, or musical instrument. For updates on the PARK(ing) day program, check Walk Oakland Bike Oakland’s webpage at:

“PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.”

This Park(ing) Day will be a vision of what Oakland can be if the City Council adopts a codification of a more permanent parklet application process. Celebrate this day of open-source, pop-up imagination to demonstrate what we desire from public space! 

The Jack London District Association hopes to support turning this location into a "parklet".


Monday, May 27, 2013

Jack London District Association's TRASH BASH XIV

Sunday, June 9, 2013, 9am - 3pm -- Meet at Radiance, 278 4th Street

Announcing Jack London District Association's 2013 Trash Bash Neighborhood Cleanup and Celebration of Oakland Arts  

Neighbors working together

Once again, the Jack London District Association, in conjunction with the Church of Radiance Oak, will be hosting this year's annual Trash Bash Neighborhood Cleanup. 

Please come out and meet some neighbors, pitch in for a couple of hours of easy work to help beautify our district, and then have lunch provided by local businesses, including excellent BBQ from Steve Sacks and the folks at Prime Smoked Meats. 

Free E-waste collection by ReliaTech -- bring anything with a cord or batteries, no large appliances please. ReliaTech is a nonprofit organization, donation receipts provided.

Music and Circus entertainment will be offered after the cleanup, and local art will be presented in the Radiance Gallery.


Post-Cleanup Lunch
9:00 am -- Cleanup begins at 278 4th Street. We will provide tools and equipment, and cute orange vests.
12:00 noon -- Lunch is served for volunteers. We have donations from local vendors including Prime Smoked Meats and Linden Street Brewery. If you can help, please let us know via email.

12:00 to 3:00 pm -- Art Show with locals, featuring works using recycled and  "found object" materials.
12:00 to 3:00 pm -- Information regarding Jack London Improvement District will be available from the JLID Steering Committee members. 

Entertainment by Aerial Girlz and local DJs: music, spin, and aerial performances

Please RSVP
To make sure we have enough food on hand, please RSVP to

All are welcome to attend and there is no charge.

Thank you,

Ben Delaney, President
Jack London District Association

P.S.  Look for an upcoming announcement for a JLDA Wine Mixer at Cerruti Cellars on June 20th, 2013 from 6pm to 8pm. 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Launching the Imagine Jack London fundraising campaign

This summer, the Jack London District Association (JLDA) is launching Imagine Jack London, a fundraising campaign designed to give community stakeholders a strong voice in the creation of a Business Improvement District and to fund the continued community outreach of the association.
IMAGINE if Oakland's Jack London district had a grocery store, clean streets, safe highway underpasses, a vibrant retail community, and more green space.  
IMAGINE if the Jack London district had a strong community of active citizens, contributing to the improvement of their surroundings and actively engaging in its prosperity. 
All of this is possible, but it cannot happen without your help. 
1 Click the Donate button on the right to give $10 minimum, $25, $50, $100 or more towards the goal of improving our district.
2 Leave a comment about how you would like the district improved (i.e. cleaner 1-880 underpasses, attracting a grocery store, creating the Webster Green Park). 
3 Send your friends to using e-mail, facebook, twitter, word-of-mouth, street-theater, or any other way you can think!
Our goal is to raise $11,000 from district residents and businesses by September 30th. To be successful, we need you, your neighbors, and nearby businesses to participate.
Can you be among the first to donate to the Jack London District Association and move us closer to our $11,000 goal?
We are counting on your excitement and support to make this campaign a success. Keep an eye out for invitations to fun events designed to give you an opportunity to share your ideas on how to make our district a better place.
Looking forward to our stronger community.