Brentwood’s downtown skyline may grow higher next year after the planning commission approved the design review and master sign portion of a three-story project aiming to host restaurants, retail and offices, across the street from City Hall.
Oakwood Investments LLC, led by partners Mario Mapoy and Patricia Li, won the commission’s endorsement Tuesday night, June 4, with a 5-0 vote to approve their designs for a building to be built on a quarter-acre lot at 200 Oak St., formerly the site of a gas station. The design review application and master sign program aims for the development of a new, three-story, 29,126-square-foot, commercial infill building within the city’s Downtown Specific Plan district.
Planning manager Erik Nolthenius said the project “holds a lot of promise” for the city’s downtown economy.
“We hope to bring an exciting addition to the community,” Mapoy said in a recent interview. His firm is developing similar projects in Fairfield and Benicia. Mapoy, a resident of Danville, has offices in San Lorenzo.
Mapoy said he did not yet have a construction cost estimate for the building. Local architect Lance Crannell of SDG Architects made a presentation of the project’s design for the commission at Tuesday’s meeting. Crannell noted his firm’s past involvement in the city’s Downtown Improvement Project, and said he was happy to bring a new project that has the potential to be a downtown icon and landmark for the city of Brentwood.
Commissioner Emily Cross praised the overall design of the project and said she was particularly impressed with the design of a “living wall” along the building’s west side. Other panel members raised questions about the height of utility structures along the building’s roof line, and other design issues. A staff report noted that the project was not subject to parking requirements due to the close proximity of a nearby city parking lot and parking garage.
Commissioner John Fink said he thought the project would be a great, new entryway into the downtown area. Other commissioners praised the inclusion of outdoor decks on the building’s front, overlooking City Park across the street.
During the public comments section of the meeting, Terry Warn, manager of Cap’s Oak Street Bar and Grill, raised her concerns about parking and traffic impacts of the project, but also praised the potential increase in pedestrian traffic it could bring downtown.
Although no tenants have signed onto the project, Mapoy is hoping to bring another quality restaurant downtown.
“Perhaps a Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee,” he said.
Crannell said the current designs include built-in accommodations for restaurant use, along with other street-level retail space.
“We hope to work with the community to bring a quality project that everyone in the city will be proud of,” Mapoy said. “We’re going to be open to whatever the community wants.”