Oakland a Leader in the Maker Movement
From Rolls Royce to independent industrial artists, Oakland’s makers are revitalizing the City’s manufacturing sector and have burst onto the national stage. Oakland was one of the first twelve cities to sign on to the National Mayor’s Maker Challenge and Major Jean Quan was invited to the White House to showcase the accomplishments of the Oakland Makers. Blue Sprout, a new industrial manufacturing co-working space offering mentorship, facilities and access to capital, recently opened in Oakland and planning for this Fall’s East Bay Mini Makers Faire is underway. The City is part of a consortium of East Bay community colleges and workforce boards that received a $15 Million Design It Build It Ship It grant to support job training programs for manufacturing workers. For more information, please contact Economic Development Specialist and maker liaison Margot Prado.
Sungevity Expands, SfunCube Incubator Leaves Nest
SfunCube (“Solar for universal need”), a solar incubator dedicated to the rapid development and delivery of solar energy, has moved into a new location in the LEED-certified Wakefield Building at 17th and Broadway in Uptown Oakland. Sfuncube was formerly co-housed in Jack London Square with Oakland solar stalwart, Sungevity. The SfunCube move makes room for Sungevity’s expansion to more than 400 employees. Sungevity was recently recognized by B Corp as one of the “Best for the World” companies for using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. For more information, contact Green Business Specialist Steve Lautze.
Lane Partners Buys Historic Sears Building
Lane Partners, a real estate investment firm based in Menlo Park, recently purchased the iconic Sears building at 1945 Broadway in the Uptown District. Lane Partners intends to historically rehabilitate the building, restoring the facade to its original elegance and opening up an existing BART station entrance directly into the building. Plans call for high quality new retailers on the ground floor, with the upper office floors tenanted with innovative high-tech and design companies who have a keen interest in finding creative space in Oakland.
AC Transit Investing in BRT Corridor, Businesses
AC Transit is investing $178 million to build a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system connecting Downtown Oakland to San Leandro. This significant public transit upgrade will also bring new lighting, art, parking, and pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to the entire length of International Boulevard. In addition, Oakland and AC Transit are also providing $2 million in business development support to help local businesses prepare for and thrive in a new economic environment when the BRT is complete.
Broadway Valdez and West Oakland Specific Plans Adopted
By the end of the year, Oakland’s Planning Department will have completed an unprecedented four specific plans to help guide development and investment in Oakland neighborhoods. The specific plans create a streamlined entitlement process for new development projects that are consistent with the plans. In June, the City Council adopted the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan, which prioritizes retail and mixed-use development along Broadway between Grand Avenue and Interstate 580. In July, the Council adopted the West Oakland Specific Plan, identifying opportunity sites for new jobs, services and housing, while helping balance the neighborhood’s broad range of uses. The Lake Merritt Station Area plan and the Coliseum Area Specific Plan will move forward for adoption in the fall and winter.