Encinal Tower

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Encinal Tower
General information
Status Never built
Type Mixed-use[1]
Location 1938 Broadway
Owner Chengben Wang; Encinal Broadway, LLC[2]
Roof 715 ft (218 m)[1]
Technical details
Floor count 56[1]
Floor area 1,500,000 sq ft (140,000 m2)[1]
Design and construction
Architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill[1]
Developer Chengben (Peter) Wang; Encinal Broadway, LLC[1]

The Encinal Tower was a skyscraper proposed for construction in Downtown Oakland, California. The mixed-use tower was planned to rise 715 feet (218 m) and contain 56 floors for office and residential use.[3] The project design consisted of a glass and X-bracing-covered cylindrical building with one side that resembles a roll of fabric unraveling.[1] If built, the skyscraper would have been the tallest building in Oakland and third-tallest in the Bay Area after 555 California Street[4] and the Transamerica Pyramid, both located in San Francisco.[5] The project had undergone several design and name changes since it was first proposed in 2006. The proposal was withdrawn in 2010, and in 2012 the property sold to a developer who plans a much smaller tower.[6]


The project was located in Downtown Oakland a few blocks away from Lake Merritt and right next to the 19th Street BART station. The site is bounded by Broadway, Franklin, 19th, and 20th streets.[7] Several lowrise buildings and a parking lot currently inhabit the proposed building site.[8] The developers of the project were Chengben (Peter) Wang, and Encinal; the architect is Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.[1]

The proposed building had the shape of an oval cylinder with one side that curves outward and downward. Its exterior skin consisted of glass and X-braces with a horizontal line passing through the center of the X.[3] The large tower was planned to stand 715 ft (218 m) tall with 56 floors and contain 1,500,000 sq ft (140,000 m2) of floor space. The majority (790,000 sq ft (73,000 m2)) of this space would consist of offices, 320,000 sq ft (30,000 m2) would have gone to parking, and 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) for retail space.[1] The top 22 floors of the skyscraper would have housed 220 residential units or ten units per floor.[1][3] There would have been a large, 60 ft (18 m) lobby housing artwork at the base of the building. The building's floorplates will average 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m2) in size.[3] Wang intended to make this building a landmark for the city of Oakland.[1]

At 715 ft (218 m) in height, the proposed skyscraper would have far surpassed the 404 ft (123 m)-tall Ordway Building as the tallest building in Oakland and tallest in the Bay Area outside San Francisco.[1] The building would have come in as the third-tallest in the Bay Area overall, after the 779 ft (237 m)-tall 555 California Street[4] and the 853 ft (260 m)-tall Transamerica Pyramid.[5][A]


The developers, Wang and Encinal, first proposed this project as 1930 Broadway sometime in 2006 as the new headquarters of University of California system.[9] He came up with three different designs for the all-office building, ranging from 44 floors - 603 ft (184 m) to 63 floors - 827 ft (252 m).[9][10] However, the proposal changed into a mixed-use building after the University of California dropped out on the project. The new design consisted of a 827 ft (252 m) (the 63rd-floor was at 782 ft (238 m) above street level) skyscraper containing 1,007 parking spaces in an 11-story garage, 1,090,000 square feet (101,000 m2) of office space on 48 floors, 40,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) of retail / lobby space, a 150-room hotel, and a direct connection the 19th Street BART station.[2] The original project sechedule called for a construction groundbreaking in 2007 and completion of the skyscraper in[dead link]2009.[11]

In mid-2007, the name of the project changed to 1938 Broadway and the building was scaled down to 790 ft (241 m) with 59 floors. The design of the building had 1,700,000 sq ft (200,000 m2) of gross space, with 1,100,000 sq ft (100,000 m2) of office space on 45 floors, a 12 story, 1,019 parking space garage with an area of 346,650 sq ft (32,200 m2), and a 116-room hotel taking up 141,100 sq ft (13,110 m2) of space. The parking garage, hotel, and office levels took up a total of 58 floors; the 59th floor was a mechanical floor at 730 ft (223 m) above street level. The roof (level 60) was at en elevation of 745 ft (227 m) relative to the street. A 45 ft (14 m)-tall roof screen located on level 60 pushed the total building height to 790 ft (241 m). The revision also had two basement levels that connected the building to the 19th Street BART station. Once again, the developer submitted other designs for the project, including a 44- to 45-story office / residential building and one that had offices, residential units, and a hotel.[12]

However, sometime in 2007 or 2008, Wang withdrew the proposal as he wasn't pleased with the various designs of the building. Encinal later came back and submitted another proposal in July 2008. The name of the project also changed; it was referred to as Encinal Tower instead of its address 1938 Broadway.[1] Wang put the property on the market in 2012, asking $5.95 million, and sold to Seth Hamilian, who is planning a building of no more than 28 stories.[6]


A. ^ This assumes that no taller projects in San Francisco are completed before the Encinal Tower. Such examples include the 900 ft (274 m) 181 Fremont Street, and the 1,200 ft (366 m) Transbay Terminal & Tower.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Torres, Blanca (2008-09-05). "Highrise hopes in Oakland". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b "1930 Broadway" (PDF). Oakland City Planning Commission. 2006-05-17. p. 6. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The tallest building in Oakland! No, a new one". A Better Oakland. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-21.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ a b "555 California Street". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  5. ^ a b "Transamerica Pyramid". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  6. ^ a b Blanca Torres (2012-11-02). "Developer plans 28-story tower for Oakland's Uptown". San Francisco Business Times. 
  7. ^ "Google Maps". Google. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  8. ^ "Google Maps". Google. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  9. ^ a b "1930 Broadway". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  10. ^ Tate, Ryan (2007-06-01). "Fight looms over Oakland tower". San Francisco Business Times. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  11. ^ "1930 Broadway". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  12. ^ "1938 Broadway - 59 floors - 790'". SkyscraperPage.com. 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2008-09-21.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]