There’s a posh rooftop lounge in the works for the East Bay. Oakland-based developer oWow hopes to channel the energy of some of San Francisco and New York’s trendiest hangouts — think, the rooftop bars at SoMa’s now-closed Virgin Hotel and Public hotel in New York City, and San Francisco’s members-only club the Battery — with their retail-residential project slated for 1510 Webster Street in downtown Oakland. The company filed for initial building permits back in mid-2021 but now shares more details about the vision for the retail square-footage within the mixed-used wooden building, which will be the second tallest wooden building in the country when completed.
CEO and founder of oWow, Danny Haber, says he sees the building as bringing the kind of destination food and drink amenities people usually expect from boutique and high-end hotels into a residential setting. So in addition to the floors of residential units (some of which have been earmarked as affordable housing) the project includes plans for a ground floor restaurant with a flex-space that houses a coffee bar by day and a bar-bar by night. All will be accessible off an open-air courtyard filled with plants and natural light, Haber says. That central space will create room for programming like live bands and DJs. The rooftop lounge will be accessible via a dedicated elevator and will be open to the public. Here, Haber says they’ll build out a destination hangout for the East Bay, where customers can kick back and enjoy a great drink in a gorgeous space — “like your living room,” Haber says. “If your living room was cool and had all these interesting people and interesting things to do.”
Construction on the building should kick off in the next couple of months, with hopes of opening to the public in the next two years. And importantly, oWow doesn’t intend to operate any of the food and beverage outlets themselves and have yet to lock in an operational partner. Haber says in a perfect world he’d love to have one operator take all four outlets — the ground floor restaurant, coffee bar, and bar, plus the roof; interested parties can email him for details. He’s confident the area, which has a 100 walk score, will welcome the project warmly, adding that the rooftop lounge also aims to draw more than just locals. “A concept like this could be a destination that people would come for, not just walk up the block,” he says.