By CAROLINE BIELEN
The Oakland Planning and Development Corp. hosted their monthly Oakland-wide meeting Nov. 30 over Zoom to discuss two major upcoming construction projects. UPMC presented updated plans for its Presbyterian Bed Tower, and Paramount Construction Services presented a preliminary proposal to turn an office building in South Oakland into a 20-unit apartment complex.
The proposed hospital facility will be constructed on the former site of Children’s Hospital in front of UPMC Presbyterian, and its main entry will be on Fifth Avenue and DeSoto Street. UPMC plans to start construction on the facility this summer, and the building will likely open in summer 2026.
The new facility would have 636 beds for intensive care, stepdown and discharge patients. The building would occupy about 900,000 square feet above Fifth Avenue, and it would stand at 288 feet tall with a maximum of 17 stories. A parking garage would include room for 450 cars.
Members from Trans Associates, HGA architects and engineers and IKM Inc. compromise the project team. At the meeting, representatives from UPMC shared their vision in the following categories: project location and site context, exterior design and materials, public amenities, landscape design and site accessibility, construction management, sustainability and stormwater management, transportation and parking and community engagement.
Kyle Weisman, a project manager and associate vice president for HGA, assured that this project would not increase traffic. “Our project is not increasing clinical capacity. We’re really just taking bed capacity and making all the dual occupancy patient rooms into single occupancy patient rooms,” he said.
Bryan Cannon, design principal at HGA, said the building would include a roof terrace that will serve as a public amenity.
“We are creating what we call a lifestyle village — three floors of accessible programming,” Cannon said. “The idea is that the hospital will not be read or experienced as a separate place but as a building that’s strongly connected to and accessible to the community.”
UPMC will present at another Oakland-wide meeting on Jan. 25, 2022, to answer more questions from residents and discuss how the Bed Tower will benefit the community.
After UPMC’s presentation, chief operating officer of Paramount Construction, Tom Chunchick, presented 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 are looking to close on the property in February. The property is presently under agreement to purchase, and the new owner would be R.E. Development LLC.
Paramount’s construction plan is to add another floor to the building, fill in the attic space and improve the landscaping and exterior. “We will be adding some trees and landscaping as much as we can,” Chunchick said.
Addressing a viewer’s concern about parking, Chunchick said there is parking available at the basement level that will most likely be for tenants who need accessible parking. The main parking lot has about 40 spaces for tenants and is on Juliet Street, which is about 550 feet away from the building.
Caroline Bielen is a student writer for the University Times.
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