OPDC outlines construction projects in Oakland in 2023


Zoom screenshot

The Oakland Planning and Development Corporation held a Developmental Activities Meeting Monday night to discuss three proposed projects in Oakland.

By Khushi Rai, Staff Writer

More construction is coming to campus, according to the Oakland Planning and Development Corp., which outlined timelines for projects at the Hillman library, the Victory Heights project as well as Raising Cane’s.

OPDC held a meeting on Monday along with the Oakland Business Improvement District and the Department of City Planning to discuss construction plans beginning in 2023. 

Chuck Alcorn, a planner for the Office of Planning, Design, and Real Estate, said there will be renovations to the ground floor, first floor and second floor in Hillman Library. He said the renovations are expected to begin in January 2023 and finish by April 2024. During the construction, Alcorn said the bus stop located at Forbes and Bigelow Avenues will likely be moved to a location in front of Schenley Plaza. 

“There is a large entry volume that we are planning to build into the corner,” Alcorn said. “There is the elimination of the central staircase going up to the first level terrace that will be the new entranceway into the building for the new entrance volume. The design of it intends to mimic a stacking of books going up to each level of the first, second and third level of the new entry volume. The entrance to the ground floor will be ADA-accessible.”

In addition to the new entryway, renovations to the library include terraces for outdoor seating and other purposes. Alcorn added that the renovations emphasize the use of windows to provide students with better lighting.

“The terraces on the first level provide multiple sitting opportunities and you can see the entry volume in this location in the corner,” Alcorn said. “I also wanted to call out that some of the modifications to the windows provide more natural light into the floors of the Hillman Library.”

Alcorn said Pitt estimates that this latest stage of the Victory Heights project, which includes a new 2,500-seat multi-purpose arena and athletic performance center, among other new buildings, will be 240,483 square feet and will not include additional parking. Alcorn said Pitt is planning to create pedestrian passageways with a pedestrian bridge and ADA-accessible routes and entries. 

“Part of [Pitt’s] institutional master plan is ambitious goals of redoing the hillside for the campus,” Alcorn said. “This shows how we intend to create the green ribbon concepts and provide multiple aspects of pedestrian flow through the hillside and ADA accessible routes. It is an easier system to navigate for those traversing the health side of campus.”

Mark Barnett, the project manager for Facilities Management’ Planning, Design and Construction office, said mass excavation for the project will begin in December 2022.

“In terms of budget, we are still developing that with the construction manager, but we are north of $200 million for this project,” Barnett said.

Ashley Newton, the development coordinator for the OLIO development group, said Raising Canes plans to provide a fun environment for crew and customers. The site for the proposed restaurant is located at 3610 Fifth Avenue, which is currently occupied by Thirsty Scholar.

“The only impact in our scope of work will be the facade treatment,” Newton said. “One thing that we will be adding under the current covered parking area is an elevator to move from the goods storage to the main floor restaurant. We are also offering a compliant number of parking spaces, including an accessible space.”

The previous proposal for Raising Cane’s received feedback to simplify the exterior design to create a more unified look to the adjacent structures, according to Newton.

“For construction schedule, we’re looking at January 2023 to June 2023 with a budget of about $1.5 million,” Newton said. 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Alcorn. He said “The terraces on the first level provide multiple sitting opportunities” not “The terraces on the first level provide multiple city opportunities.” It was also updated to better reflect the stage of the Victory Heights project that Alcorn is referring to. The Pitt News regrets these errors.