Happy holidays from the City of Oakland’s Economic and Workforce Development Staff! In support of our local businesses, the City is offering free parking every Saturday until New Year’s, including at City lots and garages. Shop Oakland Grown for the holidays!
Co-Working Booms in Oakland, Reinvents
First came Tech Liminal at City Center. Oakstop added artists to the mix in Uptown, and Kitchener Oakland brought commercial kitchen access for food startups. LOL (Liberating Ourselves Locally) Hackerspace brought Maker space to East Oakland. Co-working spaces have continued to expand and evolve throughout Oakland, and the end of 2014 brought several innovative developments. Upper Broadway’s Impact Hub is adding the Youth Hub to connect young innovators with Oakland businesses. The Port Workspaces added to their two Jack London Square locations with new facilities at the Kaiser Center and Pacific Law building, including a second commercial kitchen. In Temescal, Omni Commons provides shared resources to a community of collectives and supports decentralized, open governance. Look for the newest project, an innovative co-living and co-working space that blurs the lines between social and professional communities called the Canopy, to open east of Lake Merritt in February 2015.
City Unleashes $1M in Cultural Arts Grants
The City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program is awarding nearly $1M to dozens of artists, arts organizations and schools in Oakland. According to Program Coordinator Denise Pate-Pearson, “Oakland is one of only two U.S. cities that offers grants to individuals, providing vital seed money for underserved artists.” Recipients for the highly competitive grants include the Community Rejuvenation Project, the Oakland Ballet and Bandaloop, the vertical dance company that performed over Art + Soul attendees this year.
Oakland Adopts Third Specific Plan this Year: Lake Merritt
In November, the City Council adopted the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan to help guide development and investment in the half-mile area around the Lake Merritt BART Station. Similar to the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan and the West Oakland Specific Plan, which were adopted earlier this year, the plan creates a streamlined entitlement process for new development projects. It identifies opportunity sites for new jobs, services and housing, while helping balance the neighborhood’s broad range of uses. The Plan, which encompasses Chinatown, Laney College, the Oakland Museum of California, Alameda County offices and parts of Eastlake, is a long-range vision for the area that allows up to 4,900 new residential units, 4,100 new jobs, 400,000 square feet of additional retail space and 1.2 million square feet of office space, along with improvements to parks, recreation centers and streets over time.
2014's Office Market Ends with Largest Deal: New Investment in 2015
In the largest office market deal of the year, the UC Regents purchased the LEED-Gold Certified office tower at 1111 Broadway, calling it a “core asset” for their investment portfolio. New companies continue to lease office space in Downtown Oakland, including EVB Advertising, which is relocating from SOMA in San Francisco. “The Oakland scene feels energetic and real,” EVB Founder & CEO Daniel Stein stated. “Being part of this incredible movement and momentum will enable EVB to continue to grow into a more dynamic and creative agency.” On December 5, the San Francisco Business Times hosted a sold-out Oakland Structures breakfast, with more than 600 attendees listening to a developer panel that featured Strada Investment Group, Signature Development, City Ventures, Lane Partners and the Renaissance Companies talking about their Oakland investments ahead for the new year.