Waterfront hotel planned for Jack London Square

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) is reviewing the latest plans for a waterfront hotel on Oakland's increasingly popular Jack London Square.  

If ever there was a long-term work in progress, it would have to be Jack London Square. Now, one of the crown jewels could soon be be built.

Jack London Square has never realized its considerable potential, even though Mayors Jerry Brown, Jean Quan and Libbie Schaaf have presided over massive housing projects as they continue to fill the area.  

Regular events are increasingly successful as more people come.

One of many new housing projects coming in 2020 is an eight-story complex on the south side of the square within a few minutes walking distance of the Oakland Ferry Terminal serving San Francisco.

The developer, CIM of Southern California, already owns six buildings on the square with plans to build more.

While this big project is important, because because it does add 333 badly-needed apartment dwellings to Jack London Square, it's not a game changer.

What might be a big game changer tough, is adding this new hotel, a marquee hotel along the estuary.

That could change the fortunes of Jack London Square for many years to come.

"When I come to Jack London Square, I see a place that's not completely developed. It's in development, so, something is going to happen here," said regular visitor Julia Gillen.

CIM has now presented the BCDC with a revised plan for a six-story, 155 room, signature hotel on the estuary.  

Ms. Gillen, now of Berkeley and once a journalist for the New York Times, says properly used hotel tax revenue can and should be used to address local housing needs.

"Hotels bring in the largest amount of tax dollars to a city so, they're desirable. I'm not opposed to hotels. Hotels bring in a moving population, you know, a thing that's good and the retail...I think it's good. So, the question is, what does it do to the whole environment here?" said Gillen.

Another regular visitor had this opinion. "Locally, I think, it will improve quality of life for a certain demographic, but not for everyone. And it will attract people from outside I would guess. Yes, that would be an improvement," said Christine Williams.

But, says Ms. Willliams, if all it is is gentrification, that would not be good and says, "So, I have very mixed feelings about it."

The sheer volume of people living here and the growing number of businesses to serve them guarantees good growth. But a long sought after hotel, would complete the development loop.