Oakland Economy Now - News from the City of Oakland May 2017

Oakland Economy NOw Masthead May 2017 Volume 30

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30th issue special

To celebrate our 30th issue of Oakland Economy Now, we’ve collected the most popular articles from the last three years - and added a 2017 update to let you know the latest since the original article appeared. Launched in 2014, our newsletter now reaches over 6,100 subscribers. Thanks for reading! 


Companies that moved from SF Graphic includes Uber Core Logic Sierra Club Brown Toland Fluid

Downtown's Office Market Fills Up – November 2015

2015 has been a game changing year for Oakland’s downtown office market, as local expansions combined with new businesses to drive Oakland to some of the lowest downtown vacancy rates in the in the US. The San Francisco Business Times summarized the recent moves of 15 San Francisco companies to Oakland in the infographic above. While the biggest news may be tech company Uber’s decision to purchase the former Sears building in downtown, the last few months have seen a broad and diverse range of businesses moving to Oakland. Global food trade company Otis McAllister took 16,380 square feet in 300 Frank Ogawa Plaza. Real estate research firm CoreLogic signed a 24,000 square foot lease on 13th Street. After 124 years in San Francisco, the Sierra Club recently signed a lease for nearly 39,000 square feet of space on Webster Street.

2017 Update: While Uber decided to shrink their Oakland footprint, other businesses continued to make the move to Oakland. One of those, BlueCross Blue Shield, will be an anchor tenant for Shorenstein’s new high-rise office building at 601 City Center. The University of California Office of the President will anchor another new office tower at 1100 Broadway by Ellis Partners. Once they break ground, these two projects will represent the first large-scale new office construction in Oakland since 2008. 

New Housing Is On the Way – June 2016

Construction in Oakland is picking up speed. There are currently 1,900 residential units under construction and approximately 10,000 additional units approved. This approval pipeline includes two residential towers that have recently pulled building permits: a 206-unit building at 1700 Webster Street by Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen and a 240-unit tower by Lennar at 1640 Broadway. See a slideshow of Oakland’s proposed highrises and for more economic indicators, check out our Quarterly Economic Dashboard

2017 Update: Almost one year later, the City now has 2,255 under construction and over 15,500 approved. Both 1700 Webster and 1640 Broadway buildings are under construction.

Planning Milestone

Downtown Oakland

City Launches Downtown Specific Plan – Aug/Sept 2015

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 DesignStrategic EconomicsToole 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.

2017 Update: After public feedback and the release Draft Plan Alternatives, the City decided to add a Social Equity Strategy to the plan, engaging a team including local firms I-SEEED and PolicyLink. Look for public workshops this Spring and Summer!

Marshawn Lynch at the BeastMode Oakland Store

Beast Mode in Old Oakland - April 2016

Oakland native and NFL star Marshawn Lynch opened his inaugural Beast Mode store in Old Oakland. The former Superbowl winner and Oakland booster presided on opening day as 900 fans waited in line to purchase Beast Mode gear, celebrating the toughness and persistence that characterizes his career. Like other local retailers, Beast Mode began as an online operation using the Shopify e-commerce platform and built on this success to open the first brick and mortar store. For more information on retail in Oakland, contact Keira Williams.

2107 Update: Marshawn Lynch signed a two year agreement to play for the Raiders. Beast Mode continues to innovate, now using a digital retail platform by local startup Hingeto

Sunset Magazine

Sunset Magazine’s Oaktown Lowdown – April 2016

Sunset Magazine celebrated its relocation to the Jack London neighborhood with a 10-page Oakland spread in the April issue. Featured businesses include restaurants Miss Ollie’sHomesteadShanghai RestaurantTamarindo Antojeria Mexicana and Juhu Beach Club, meal-delivery startup The Town Kitchen, and shops Suru, Urban Stich Boutique (pictured below)Show & Tell and Atomic Garden. Pick up the April issue at Oakland newsstands De Lauer’sFarley’s or Issues and check out Sunset’s Weekend in Oakland guide here. 

2017 Update: Sunset has gone on to profile a number of other Oakland businesses, including Hopscotch, Duende, California Canoe & Kayak, and profiles on Downtown and North Oakland

Speak Up on Oakland’s Economic Development Strategy – March 2015

 The City of Oakland is creating an Economic Development Strategy to set the city’s economic vision for the next five years. We invite you to contribute your ideas on our new online public engagement platform, Speak Up Oakland! Oakland residents and businesses can post, comment and debate ideas online with city staff and each other. What should Oakland’s economic priorities be? For more information, contact Economic Development Strategy Manager Marisa Raya and check out SpeakUpOakland.org.

2017 Update: The Community & Economic Development Committee of the Oakland City Council held a public discussion about the Draft Economic Development Strategy earlier this month. Watch and read it here and send comments directly to mraya@oaklandnet.com


Free Classes & Workshops - Small Business Week May 1-6 

Opening a Business? Contact us!

Business Assistance Center

Zoning & Permits

Quarterly Economic Dashboard

Minimum Wage & Employment Laws 

KivaZip Oakland

Foreign Trade Zone


Arthur Mac's Tap & Snack
Dolma’s Deli
The Healing Place Apothecary
The Hood Incubator
Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden
La Palma
LocoL Bakery
Royal Kitchen Indian


Small Business Week
May 1-6 @ Multiple Locations

Better Ventures PreSeed: Founders Roundtable
May 4 @ Impact Hub Oakland

CAST’s Real Estate Training for Arts Orgs
May 5 @ East Bay Community Foundation 

You Too Can StartUp!
May 5 @ Kapor Center

Oakland Fiesta Sin Fronteras
May 5 & 6 @ Pandora

Sparkx Summit
May 5 & 6 @ Impact Hub Oakland

DIY Bookkeeping for Small Business
May 10 @ Impact Hub Oakland

Cultural Arts Grant Applications Due
May 15 @ Oakland City Hall

Oakland Indie Awards
May 18 @ Oakland Museum

Malcolm X Jazz Festival
May 20 @ San Antonio Park


Oracle signs lease, fueling downtown Oakland expansion
April 24, East Bay Times

Oakland approves 634-unit tower, city's largest residential building ever
April 20, San Francisco Business Times

Oakland housing boom fuels auto row migration toward Coliseum
April 20, San Francisco Business Times 

Port of Oakland exec says shipping line changes a good thing
April 19, Container News

With Sudden Fame, Grammy Win, 'Oakland Keeps Me Sane,' Says Fantastic Negrito
April 18, Hoodline

Take a peek at the Oakland Zoo's $13M restaurant, reachable only by gondola
April 18, San Francisco Business Times

AAA Launching Car-Sharing Service in Oakland and Berkeley
April 17, KPIX

Zach Wasserman explains the keys to Oakland development
April 13, San Francisco Business Times

Hundreds of New Jobs Coming to Port of Oakland
April 16, Construction Equipment Guide

Careers Expo offers options to Oakland youth
April 14, SFGate Blogs

A group of savvy entrepreneurs have started companies based on upcycling food byproducts
April 13, San Francisco Business Times

2 East Bay companies redefine urban farming
April 11, Before It's News

Oakland Grassroots Groups Unite to Purchase 23rd Avenue Building
April 6, KQED

Oakland's Webster Street Undergoing Massive Transformation
March 29, BisNow

Kapor Center Helps Launch Startup Network
February 17, Black Enterprise

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