BY CAROLINE BIELEN
Oakland Planning and Development Corp. held their monthly Oakland-wide meeting on November 30th through Zoom to discuss two major upcoming construction projects. UPMC presented updated plans for its Presbyterian Bed Tower and Paramount Construction Services made a preliminary proposal to convert an office building in South Oakland into a 20-unit apartment complex.
The proposed hospital facility will be built on the former Children’s Hospital site in front of the UPMC Presbyterian and the main entrance will be on Fifth Avenue and DeSoto Street. UPMC plans to start construction on the facility this summer and the building is expected to open in summer 2026.
The new facility would have 636 beds for intensive care, descent and discharge patients. The building would occupy approximately 900,000 square feet above Fifth Avenue, and it would be 288 feet tall with a maximum of 17 stories. A multi-storey car park would have space for 450 cars.
Members of Trans Associates, HGA Architects and Engineers, and IKM Inc. compromise the project team. At the meeting, UPMC representatives shared their vision in the following categories: project location and context, exterior design and materials, public facilities, landscaping and site accessibility, construction management, sustainability and rainwater management, transportation and parking, and community engagement.
Kyle Weisman, a project manager and vice president of HGA, assured that this project would not increase traffic. “Our project does not increase clinical capacity. We are really only taking the bed capacity and making all double occupancy patient rooms into single occupancy patient rooms, ”he said.
Bryan Cannon, Design Principal at HGA, said the building will include a roof terrace that will serve as a public facility.
“We’re creating what we call a lifestyle village – three floors of accessible programming,” said Cannon. “The idea is that the hospital is not read or experienced as a separate place, but as a building that is strongly connected to the community and accessible.”
UPMC will be present at another Oakland-wide meeting on January 25, 2022 to answer additional questions from local residents and to discuss how the Bed Tower will benefit the community.
Following UPMC’s presentation, Tom Chunchick, Paramount Construction’s Chief Operating Officer, outlined the company’s plan to convert the building at 3339 Ward St. into an apartment complex. He said the project is “extremely preliminary” but they plan to close the property in February. The property is currently in a purchase agreement and the new owner would be RE Development LLC.
Paramount’s blueprint is to add another floor to the building, replenish the attic, and improve the landscaping and exterior. “We’re going to add a few trees and landscaping as much as possible,” said Chunchick.
Addressing a viewer’s concerns about parking, Chunchick said there are parking spaces in the basement that will most likely be for disabled renters. The main car park has approximately 40 spaces for tenants and is located on Juliet Street, which is approximately 160 meters from the building.
Caroline Bielen is a student writer for the University Times.
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