OAKLAND — A big hotel project in downtown Oakland hotel that’s being led by real estate veteran Lew Wolff will feature two Marriott brands in a single hotel and capitalize on an opportunity zone program designed to spur economic development.
“Oakland has always been in the path of growth, Oakland has always been a terrific place,” Wolff said in an interview on Wednesday, when asked about the hotel project.
The economic cycle appears to be different — and far more promising — for Oakland this time around, in Wolff’s view.
“For the first time in my long history, the path of growth is really happening in Oakland,” Wolff said. “That has been proven by a lot of development announcements and real projects.”
The high-rise hotel would contain a Marriott Residence Inn and an AC Hotel, which both are Marriott brands, and would be 18 stories high and contain up to 286 hotel rooms, according to Wolff.
The principal developer of the hotel is Beverly Hills-based Hawkins Way Capital, a real estate firm led by managing partners Ross Walker and Karan Suri and by advising partner Wolff.
The proposed hotel, located at 1431 Jefferson St., has received all necessary Oakland city planning approvals, and was designed by San Francisco-based Stanton Architecture, according to Wolff.
“The hotel would consist of ground floor lobbies and two types of hotel guest rooms on the floors above,” according to a city planning report regarding the project.
The lower levels would be in the Residence Inn style, geared towards longer stays, with a mix of studios and one-bedroom apartments. The upper floors would be in the AC Hotels style, aimed at millennial customers and shorter stays and with a “higher level of finishes and amenities,” the city planners stated.
The project, Wolff said, is located in an opportunity zone, one of numerous areas around the country where certain investments can occur with tax advantages, including deferral, or even elimination, of capital gains taxes, a benefit enabled by President Donald Trump’s tax cut program of 2017. Downtown San Jose is another major area that’s home to an opportunity zone.
“It was a very pleasant surprise to find out that the project is in an opportunity zone,” Wolff said. “This could be one of the first major projects to be constructed in an opportunity zone.”
Wolff estimated that construction, which is being handled by the Pleasanton office of general contractor Millie and Severson, could begin within 60 days. The first endeavor would be demolition of the existing site, currently occupied by a one-story retail building and a surface parking lot.
Located in downtown Oakland’s Uptown District, a bustling nightlife, restaurant, arts and entertainment district, the hotel would front on Jefferson, 14th and 15th streets.
A major hurdle for the project was cleared on March 25, when an affiliate of Hawkins Way Capital paid $30 million to gain complete ownership of the 0.4 acres of land on which the hotel would rise.
“Oakland is certainly going to be one of the exciting areas to develop,” Wolff said.