Oakland Economy Now Vol. 13 Aug/Sept 2015

Masthead Oakland Economy Now Volume 13 August/September

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White House Recognizes Oakland for Inclusive Tech and Entrepreneurship

On August 4, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day and recognized Oakland in three areas. First, Oakland joined 21 other cities and regions as a designated TechHire community, part of a multi-sector initiative to meet the national need for trained tech workers through non-traditional hiring, education models that prepare students quickly and active local leadership to connect people to jobs. The City of Oakland also won the US Small Business Administration’s Start Up in a Day competition with a proposal to create online local permitting for Oakland businesses and entrepreneurs. Finally, the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund honored Oakland’s own Impact Hub for its role in helping the startup community grow and have a sustained economic impact. For more information on startups and tech inclusion in Oakland, contact Economic Development Specialist Marisa Raya.

Tech Grows in Downtown

Oakland design and development firm Monsoon announced in July that it was acquired by Capital One. The product development team will remain in their office next to City Hall--coincidentally, a former bank building--while Monsoon’s design consulting and marketing divisions have spun off as two new local firms: Kunai and Rain Factory. Local Javascript open source startup NPM is also moving from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and expanding into 1919 Harrison. While the vast majority of Oakland’s tech sector is homegrown, new businesses are also finding homes here: Fluid, a web design and software firm focusing on the retail sector, will occupy two full floors at the Latham Square Building, which is now 84% leased as it nears completion of its renovation.

Section header Planning

Downtown Oakland Frank Ogawa Plaza

City Launches Downtown Specific Plan

With its excellent transit service, Downtown Oakland is the cultural, business, government and entertainment hub of the East Bay. More than 40 percent of Oakland jobs are located in and adjacent to Downtown--making this core area vital to the entire city. The City of Oakland has recently launched a Specific Plan process for Downtown and selected Dover Kohl & Partners to lead the effort, along with a team that includes Opticos Design, Strategic Economics, Toole Design Group, Urban Planning Partners and others. Plan Downtown will contain sound policy guidance on Downtown development, linking land use, transportation, economic development, Affordable housing, open space, landscape design, social equity, historic preservation and cultural arts. For details or to sign up for project announcements, visit the project webpage and save the date for the public kick off on Thursday, September 3!

Food and Drink Section

Outdoor Dining in Every Neighborhood

The warm days of summer provide the perfect chance to check out Oakland’s many unique outdoor dining experiences. Mad Oak’s new bi-level patio and rooftop garden in downtown Oakland serves cuisine from a rotating lineup of local food trucks. In Rockridge, TOAST offers top-notch wine and small plates on their outdoor patio along vibrant College Avenue. Tackle your work outdoors at Café Underwood, a North Oakland collaborative workspace with a café menu and umbrella-covered tables. Enjoy wood-fired pizza, Adirondack chairs and patio fire pits at Jack London Square’s Forge. Fruitvale’s Mariscos La Costa offers outdoor seating for its renowned Mexican fare. Brazillian lunch spot Rio California is shaded by palm trees with park views in the backyard of a refurbished downtown Victorian, while Lake Chalet, a lakefront boathouse/seafood restaurant, will seat you for your meal on a Lake Merritt pier.

Lake Chalet Dining


City Enters into Exclusive Negotiating Agreement for Restoration of the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center

Two talented, multi-disciplinary development teams answered the City’s Request for Proposals for the restoration and re-use of the iconic Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, a 215,000-square-foot, Beaux-Arts landmark overlooking Lake Merritt. Last month, the City Council authorized a one-year exclusive negotiating agreement with local historic reuse experts Orton Development. The Orton team has one year to engage community members on the potential future uses of the site and negotiate lease terms that will financially sustain the building while maintaining public access. Also required in the restoration is the reopening of the 1,900 seat Calvin Simmons Theater, which will be available at affordable rates to non-profit performing arts organizations. For more information, contact Special Projects Director Kelley Kahn.

Visit Oakland

Conferences Galore this Fall in Oakland

Back-to-back conferences this fall will offer unique insights into some of the incredible work happening in Oakland, including the CodeforAmerica Summit; National Manufacturing Day; the CA American Planning Association (CA APA)’s annual conference, “Rooted in AuthentiCITY” and NewCo Oakland. New digital public services will launch at the CodeforAmerica Summit, while both National Manufacturing Day and CA APA will feature leaders in their fields and expert tours of local businesses and neighborhoods. During NewCo Oakland, over 60 Oakland businesses driving innovation and positive change will hold open houses at their offices and workplaces across the city. “The increase of conferences is not a surprise to us, as Oakland is becoming known as a hub for technology and innovation,” says Brandi Hardy, Director of Sales & Services at Visit Oakland. “These conferences draw potential investors and businesses. People want to see and learn from Oakland.” For more information on planning an event in Oakland, contact Visit Oakland.

NewCo Oakland Conference Logo October 8


Free Walking Tours through October

Curious about Oakland? Through October, the City of Oakland offers free 90-minute walking tours showcasing the city’s changing skyline, landmarks and cultural history. Tours offered include Oakland Chinatown, Uptown, Old Oakland, Jack London Waterfront, City Center and “New Era/New Politics,” a tour showcasing African American history. For itinerary descriptions and dates, visit www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours or email Tours Coordinator Annalee Allen.

Jack London Square Walking Tour


Opening a Business? Contact us!

New! Quarterly Economic Dashboard

Business Assistance Center

Zoning & Permit Information

KivaZip Oakland

Minimum Wage & Employment Laws 

Foreign Trade Zone

Visit Our Newsletter Archive


Daily Kos
Drake’s Dealership
Overland Country Bar 
Uptown Juice Company


Capital One Acquires Oakland-Based Design And Development Firm Monsoon
July 8, TechCrunch

Facing steep rent increase, S.F. tech tenant moves to Oakland
July 27, SF Business Times

33-story tower in Oakland's Uptown nears final vote
July 29, SF Business Times

Oakland's Jack London Square Experiencing Renaissance
July 31, NBCBayArea.com

Menlo Park development firm Lane Partners dives into Oakland
July 31, SF Business Times

Oakland’s Art & Soul Festival draws Thousands
Aug 4, SFGate.com

A Tale of Two Uptowns: Chicago and Oakland
Aug 8, redeyechicago.com


Jack's Night Market
Aug 21 @ Jack London Square

Oakland Chinatown Streetfest 
Aug 22 & 23 @ Chinatown

Oakland Triathlon
Aug 29 @Jack London Square

Black Restaurant Day
Aug 30 @ Multiple Locations

Oaklanders Talk Tech: Economic Development Forum
Sept 11 @ Oakland Metropolitan Chamber

Successful Business Plans
Sept 17 @ City Hall HR 1

Maximize Your Website Effectiveness
Sept 23 @ City Hall HR 2

Business Law for Entrepreneurs
Sept 24 @ City Hall HR 3

Eat Real Festival
Sept 28-30 @ Jack London Square

Introduction to Coding
Wednesdays @ TechLiminal

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