The contentious Onni Tower project that would be the East Bay’s tallest high-rise is apparently no more. Planning & Building Director Charlie Bryant made the announcement at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting noting that the project had “fallen out of contract” and the application was “deemed withdrawn.”
“They no longer have the owner‘s permission to develop a project on that site,” Bryant noted during his Director’s report.
The project was introduced at the end of 2018 and touched off a fierce debate within the city. Housing advocates welcomed the addition to our area’s housing stock and the inclusionary affordable housing that would come with it. Neighbors mostly bemoaned the traffic bottleneck of the area, that 54-stories was ‘out of scale’ with the rest of the city and the ongoing construction the project would bring.
Council and city staff have been working diligently to revise Emeryville’s building codes that would enable the project to be built. In the past year-plus, the city has modified the tower separation requirements, put forth considerable effort into bird safe building standards and revisited Emeryville’s family-friendly guidelines to allow exemptions for tower projects.
Councilmember John Bauters was particularly exuberant about the project with YIMBY activists (Yes in my back yard) dubbing the project “Mt. Bauters.”
Wiener Village is being upzoned!
— SF YIMBY (@SFyimby) March 31, 2019
“Their contract with the property owner to purchase the site has expired and has not been renewed,” Bryant noted. On Wednesday, Bryant sent The Onni Group a letter indicating that he had determined that their application is “deemed withdrawn” for this reason. The letter also indicated that Onni was delinquent nearly $56K in planning fees.
“As you have previously been advised, the City had ceased work on your application in any event due to non-payment of costs. Your outstanding invoices for services total $55,670.91,” the letter further states. The entire letter to Onni Development is embedded below.
The E’ville Eye has reached out to representatives of The Onni Group for clarification on if they will appeal this or pursue a new contract with the property owner.
July 27 Update: The contact listed in this letter is no longer employed by The Onni Group and has been removed from the body of this story. “My employment with Onni ended in March,” noted Pitters in an email.