OAKLAND, CA-The city’s planning commission has approved the final design for a 23-story, 500,000-sf LEED-certified office and retail project called 601 City Center that a joint venture of San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties LLC and MetLife Real Estate Investments is developing at Oakland City Center. The planning commission voted 6-0 to approve the project, which will be developed on a site of more than 1.4 acres comprising an entire block bounded by 11th Street, 12th Street, Jefferson Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. in Downtown Oakland.

In addition to its office and retail space, the building will include a two-level, 200-stall underground parking garage. The developers expect to break ground on 601 City Center in the spring and to complete construction in the spring of 2010.

According to John Dolby, vice president of leasing for Shorenstein Properties andOakland City Center, the 601 City Center project will be one of the largest, if not the largest, LEED-certified building in the East Bay. It will support transit in Oakland with itsproximity to BART and greater bicycle accommodations, Dolby notes.

One of the primary factors driving the development of the new project is the success of neighboring 555 City Center, according to Dolby, who says that the 555 project “clearly illustrates the demand for well-located and high quality class A office space in DowntownOakland.”

The 601 City Center building will be designed by Ted Korth of the architectural firm ofKorth Sunseri Hagey. Korth also designed two other prominent Shorenstein-owned buildings in Oakland City Center, most recently the neighboring 21-story 555 City Center, which was completed in 2002.

Besides its status as a premier LEED project, the 601 Center will be the first building to pay contributions (approximately $2 million) to the City of Oakland’s new affordable housing fund, will provide bicycle lockers and storage in compliance with the city’s notyet adopted bicycle ordinance, will provide showers for tenants and will feature publicly viewable art installations.

The new building will replace a full-block parking lot at City Center, which is a 3.5-million-sf mixed-use development located directly above the 12th Street BART station. City Center includes office space, 18 eateries, a dozen retail shops and services, an athletic club and parking for 2,840 vehicles.

The estimated cost of construction was not provided by the parties involved. Local sources tell GlobeSt.com that it likely will be in excess of $200 million or $400 per sf.

Shorenstein has been actively planning to develop the site for the site for the past three years. The company originally planned to build office space, switched to condos and now is back on the office track.

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