Shop Local for the Holidays
Oakland is known for its creative local retail and commitment to independent businesses. On November 28th, the city celebrates Plaid Friday, an Oakland-born event that is catching on in cities across the country. Plaid Friday turns traditional Black Friday on its head by encouraging customers to skip the malls and do their holiday shopping in Oakland at local retailers. Coordinated by Oakland Grown, East Bay Express and the City of Oakland, the indie shopping campaign expands to two full days this year. The City of Oakland provides free parking at meters and City-owned garages starting on Plaid Friday and continuing Saturdays through the end of the calendar year. A portal to locally-owned and independent businesses, Oakland Grown will also launch an Oakland Gift Guide on Pinterest on November 1st. Local merchants and shoppers can get the scoop on Plaid Friday at www.oaklandgrown.org.
City Issues RFP for Sale of Key Parcel in the Thriving Uptown District
The City has issued a Request for Proposals seeking a developer for 1911 Telegraph Avenue, otherwise known as Parcel 4, next to the historic Fox Theater in the Uptown District. The City is seeking proposals for a mixed-use project including housing, retail and ideally, a boutique hotel. You can view the RFP here. Proposals are due Monday, December 1. For more information, contact Jens Hillmer.
MacArthur BART Transit Oriented Development (TOD) on its Way!
A major investment is being made at Oakland’s MacArthur BART Station. Bridge Housing, in collaboration with BART and the City, is working on a multi-phased, mixed-use development that will bring 624 new housing units adjoining the BART station. The project also includes 42,500 square feet of local commercial and retail uses and 5,000 square feet of community space. A new parking garage has already been completed and the first housing will be completed in 2015. The project was recently named an exemplary TOD project for the LEED-Neighborhood Development Pilot Program by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED-ND recognizes projects that successfully protect and enhance the overall health, natural environment and quality of life in our communities. For more information, please contact Planner Catherine Payne.
Oakland Companies Rack up Awards
Seven Oakland companies were named to the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) Top 100 list, with four more receiving honorable mentions. Founded by Michael Porter of Harvard’s Business School, the ICIC awards recognize the fastest growing urban companies in America. Oakland’s 2014 Inner City 100 Winners include Fathom, Revolution Foods, Oaklandish, ArcSine Architecture, Premier Organics, Blaisdell's Business Products and Veronica Foods Company. The 2014 Honorable Mention recipients include Alpi International, Lowney Architects, Babette and Xantrion. Oakland company Back to the Roots also ranked #373 on Inc. Magazine's list of 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies. The City of Oakland was recognized as the 2014 ICIC Nominating Partner of the Year. Get to know more Oakland companies at the ICA Live Showcase on November 13th.
Local Company Goldiblox in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade; Tech Training Opportunities for Girls
Award-winning (and Oprah-endorsed) Oakland company GoldiBlox, a toy company on a mission to inspire more female engineers, will have its own float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a kid-powered engineering marvel featuring Goldie and her friends. As quoted to Live @ 5 News, “Our dream at GoldieBlox is to inspire every girl to reach her full potential, and we definitely like to dream big," says Debbie Sterling, Founder & CEO of the company. The company also recently launched a new app and online playground. Oakland is also home to Techbridge, a non-profit committed to inspiring girls in underserved communities to discover a passion for science, technology and engineering. Techbridge offers a range of after-school and summer classes.
West Oakland Job Resource Center Welcomes New Director
The West Oakland Job Resource Center (WOJRC) is excited to announce the hire of longtime workforce development professional, Julina Bonilla, as the new Program Director. A unique partnership between the City of Oakland, contractors, building trade unions and community-based organizations, the WOJRC assists local residents in accessing careers in the construction trades. Created to support the redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base, the WOJRC has expanded to work with a variety of public and private partners, including the Port of Oakland and Val’s Security Services. Since March 2013, the WOJRC has assisted more than 20 local employers and placed more than 100 participants in employment. Ms. Bonilla, a former Oakland Public School Teacher, was most recently the Job Corps Project Director, providing career technical education programs for young adults in low-income communities. Learn more about the Center at its Open House on Thursday, November 20, 1pm-3pm, at 1801 Adeline Street, or contact Workforce Development specialist Elinor Buchen.
New Public Art installation in West Oakland
A painted tile mural on the exterior of the new West Oakland Youth Center brightens the block with color while celebrating the community. This hyper-local community project included neighborhood youth in concept development and painting, and depicts many actual neighborhood residents. It was conceived and led by mural collective Trust Your Struggle, which is based in Oakland, Emeryville, and New York City. The artwork was commissioned by the City of Oakland Public Art Program and funded by 1.5% for Public Art funds from State Prop. 84. For more information, contact Cultural Arts Manager Steven Huss.