Press Release

Intercontinental and Ellis Partners Break Ground on “The Key at 12th”

key at 12th
Construction to begin on long vacant site at 1100 Broadway in Oakland

Oakland, CA – Today Ellis Partners, in a joint venture with Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation (“Intercontinental”), formally broke ground on “The Key at 12th,” a new state of the art Class A office tower, adjacent to BART and across from the City Center development. With hard hats and shovels in hand, Oakland’s Mayor and City officials joined in the celebration. A complete project overview can be seen here. Ellis and Intercontinental expect completion and occupancy in late 2019.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to transform this long-vacant block into Oakland’s premiere office building” said James Ellis, Managing Principal of Ellis Partners. “The Key at 12th will integrate a state-of-the-art tower with the historic Key System Building to create a unique and modern workplace with the nexus of the entire BART system right outside our front door,” he added.

In order to bring the highest level of architecture to this project that interprets Oakland’s past and future, ownership brought in the renowned, world-class architecture firm Gensler that is locally-headquartered. The project totals 334,000 square feet with spacious ceilings, expansive windows, two roof decks and prominent pedestrian interaction at the street level for retail and dining. While the project includes a 145-parking space garage, a critical feature is its location immediately adjacent to Oakland’s 12th Street BART station, giving all tenants instant access to the entire transit network of the Bay Area.

Peter Palandjian, Intercontinental’s Chairman and CEO commented, “Intercontinental is excited to break into the Oakland, California market with this development opportunity, which when constructed and stabilized will make for a terric trophy office building for our U.S. REIF portfolio. By venturing on this project with Ellis Partners, an experienced best-of-class developer, we will create hundreds of union construction jobs in Oakaldn and believe this project will generate excellent returns for our investors.”

Melinda Ellis Evers, Managing Principal at Ellis Partners added, “As Ellis Partners kicks off its 25th anniversary, it is very gratifying for our entire team to add The Key at 12th to our long history in Oakland. We are particularly pleased to team up with a respected and successful partner like Intercontinental to restore a beautiful piece of Oakland’s history and bring life to this critical site in the heart of downtown.”

The uniqueness of the project sits in its creative combination between Oakland’s historic Key System Building and a gleaming new 18-story tower. The Key System Building, built in 1911 and shuttered after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, was the headquarters of the Key System Railway which transported East Bay residents locally and across the lower deck of the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

“Oakland is a city that seamlessly blends tradition and innovation,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “The addition of the new structure at 1100 Broadway and the renovation of the Key System Building, in the heart of our downtown will add to the energy and vitality of the city in a way that respects Oakland’s history. People want to come to work every day in unique settings that are accessible via transit…and Oakland is the best place to find them,” she added.

165,000 square feet in the building’s lower floors has been pre-committed for lease. What remains available for lease is 154,000 square feet on the highest eight floors which feature extraordinary views. The Gensler design provides for floor to ceiling windows and clear heights that will work well with open or dropped ceilings and provide tenants access to many green and tech-related features that help employers recruit employees.

The Key at 12th’s structural innovations include a side core layout with minimal interior columns which maximizes floor space, and a creative, open-plan design favored by the majority of today’s tenants. The project also offers two rooftop sky decks, nearly 11,000 square feet of ground floor space for retail and restaurants and abundant amenities including: a dedicated bike parking entry lobby with ample ground floor racking, a private locker room and showers for building tenants and a dedicated elevator bank serving only the remaining available vacancy on the upper eight floors. Ellis has hired Chris Roeder, Sam Swan and Jon Elder of JLL to lead the leasing efforts for this iconic building.

Since its acquisition of the site in the spring of 2017, the Ellis/Intercontinental venture sought to activate the location in creative ways. In partnership with the City of Oakland and the Downtown Improvement District, the vacant lot portion of the site was upgraded to include music events, food trucks, and other creative uses on an interim basis. The partnership with Oakland City Councilmember Abel Guillen was critical to making this a reality.