1945 Broadway, Oakland

Without naming names, two “large technology companies” are reportedly in discussions to lease the entire Sears Building in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood which the department store vacated in September.

The 400,000-square-foot building, which was built for the H. C. Capwell Company in 1929 and fronts Broadway, Telegraph Avenue and 20th Street, was acquired by Lane Partners for $25 million earlier this year and is about to undergo a $40 million renovation and re-branding as “Uptown Station.”

The renovation plan for the building, which includes a market hall for restaurants, ground floor space for retailers, and an underground parking garage, is slated to be finished in early 2017.  Sears had occupied the building since 1996.

78 thoughts on “Two Large Tech Companies Circling Oakland’s Sears Building”
  1. Tech belongs in Oakland and not SF. Hopefully this is the start of Oakland becoming the north Bay tech hub along with San Jose/Santa Clara being the south Bay hub.

    Exciting to see Oakland boom especially as the rents go through the roof in SF and prop M restriction basically end office growth in SF. Relatively speaking.

  2. Aren’t there multiple millions of sq ft of office space already in the pipeline in SF? That doesn’t sound like the end of growth. I agree that tech belongs in the East Bay. You can only hire so many single, 25-year-old white people from the Mission before you have to put some adults on the staff, and many of those people are busy raising their families somewhere in the East Bay.

    1. Reality does not align with your expectation. East Bay have relatively small tech presence compares to SF and South Bay. I don’t see much momentum in East Bay. The bigger issue is actually East Bay tech companies are looking to move to SF as they grow.

      I worked in a tech company in SF. There are plenty of family people. Some are reside in SF. But there are also a good number of them commuting from East Bay or South Bay. It works out alright.

  3. The East Bay and Oakland is the natural hub of the Bay Area. 20 years from now Oakland will probably exceed SF in jobs and approach it in population. Its growth potential is huge and there are few restrictions. 80 story building I can live with in Oakland but not SF. High-rises have/are destroying SF.

    1. Other than the politics, economics, geography, and history of San Francisco, you are right, Oakland is definitely going to replace SF!! /s

        1. The Bay Area has more transit systems than just BART. SF is the root (more BART stops in SF than any other city) of not only BART, but MUNI, CalTrain, (maybe) high speed rail, and SFO, one of the busiest and connected international airports in the country and world.

          1. Was counting SFO as an SF BART station. Your speechlessness on the other points I raised speaks more than enough.

          2. whiner you might want to take a breath? SFO is in San Mateo County, and it’s not even in the top 20 busiest airports in the world. You do know that all BART lines operate through Oakland and their HQ is here, too? How about that ACTransit focuses most of its routes through Downtown Oakland including a few transbay ones? Oakland is also served by Capitol Corridor/Amtrak… the train that will take you to Levi Stadium faster than any system over on the peninsula. While we don’t have high speed rail (what a mess) we very easily could be added to system with an SJ to Oakland to Sacramento leg.

    2. Dave, so the homelessness, blight, and rioting common in SF these days you can live with? It’s a high rise that is ruining your quality of life? LOL, no wonder you people can never be taken seriously and are laughed out of town.

      1. “Rioting common in SF these days.” Really? Do you mean the riot when the Giants won? If so, I wouldn’t call that “common.” Do you mean the protests about the Google buses? If so, I wouldn’t call that a “riot.” But I will concede the comment about homelessness.

    3. CIties die by not growing. Weird that you think skyscrapers have destroyed SF. Sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder. If Oakland does not its murder and crime rates under control, you will not see great growth. Helps to have a strong Mayor also, which Oakland is lacking.

  4. A few hundred thousand people traverse Oakland commuting to SF everyday… why not get off a couple stops or exits earlier and enjoy great weather, food, entertainment, and scenery? A Bay Area with three great cities sounds like a good idea to me.

      1. San Jose (?). Also, what is the point of the comments deriding our neighbors? Stronger, thriving cities all across the Bay Area sounds good to me too, especially if we can improve the affordability and transportation options connecting them. Let’s think together as a region– enough already with the us vs. them.

        1. San Jose and Detroit are the only two large cities in the US with lower daytime populations than residents

          Case closed on greatness

    1. Yeah, geographically diversifying urban cores will be a positive change. There’s no reason that a metro the size of the Bay Area should have just one urban core. SJ and Oakland are the most likely suspects for picking up the urban slack. Then there should be a second tier of urban cores around BART and Caltrain nodes. It is already happening in some burbs.

      This has worked pretty well for LA. There’s several nodes of highrises. It is still an auto-centric place though that is changing too.

          1. almost everyone i know who lives here thinks SF has great weather. I lived in LA for a year and hated the weather. The people in know who have moved to orinda or further east also tell me how much they miss the SF weather.

          2. I happen to disagree, crazy how that works. Also, Oakland has the most moderate climate in the Bay Area, by research, not opinion. While Oakland and Orinda share a border they do not share the same climate at all.

          3. What are you classifying as “moderate”? SF certainly has a smaller swing between average low and average high, what I would consider moderation.

            I agree with Futurist and spencer for once, SF has by far the best weather in the US for what I’m looking for. The only place close is Seattle, and it’s bit wet for my taste more of the year. Temperature swings are about right though. Oakland’s too hot and too cold for me.

      1. I just moved to San Mateo. I forgot how it feels to wear shorts. SF weather is pretty crappy man in like 3/4 of the city

  5. “Circling”

    Such drama! Psst SFBT It’s newsworthy (sometimes) when a lease is inked not when someone made a call. Regardless, Oakland is poised for very big things. Watch what happens.

  6. I’m all for Oakland making a resurgence. Been wondering why more businesses don’t locate there, but the homicide stats don’t show a much of a multi-year trend. Last year the 92 homicides were within one std dev of the average of the past 20 years and this year is right on track to also be within one std dev of the 20 year average.
    FWIW, Oakland’s homicide rate is 3-4 times SF, and 4-5 times SJ.
    Here are the OPD homicide numbers:
    2014: 68 (through end of October)
    2013: 92
    2012: 135
    2011: 110
    2010: 95
    2009: 110
    2008: 125
    2007: 127
    2006: 148
    2005: 94
    2004: 83
    2003: 109
    2002: 108
    2001: 84
    2000: 80
    1999: 68
    1998: 81
    1997: 110
    1996: 102
    1995: 153
    1994: 151
    1993: 167
    1992: 175 Oakland’s homicide record

    1. If we’re on track for about 80 murders this year, then that’s at the low end of the 20 year history presented above. It could conceivably come in at the LOWEST for this whole stretch. That’s still too much, but it certainly something to be happy about. It would be the third year of a trend down, and that’s enough for me….now just keep the trend going… As others have pointed out, murder is by no means the only crime, but it is perhaps the most important marker for how “safe” a city is. And as others have pointed out, downtown is miles away from where most of the crime is happening, anyway. Things are definitely looking up.

  7. Here are the FBI annual violent crime rate stats (violent crimes/100,000 residents) for Oakland and San Francisco (2012 is the most recent they have online):
    Year Oakland San Francisco
    2002 1367 752
    2003 1379 742
    2004 1277 757
    2005 1421 799
    2006 1905 876
    2007 1918 874
    2008 1968 845
    2009 1679 736
    2010 1604 714
    2011 1683 660
    2012 1993 704

        1. we’re talking about city’s, not specific areas. i doubt many of us would consider mid-market for a home either.

          1. Why would cities be relevant, as opposed to specific areas? This post is about a specific property at a specific location. (And I’m fairly certain the mid-Market reference was with respect to comparative tech company locations, not places for “homes”; since, again, this post is about tech companies interested in a specific Oakland location — not residential housing in East Oakland gangland, mid-Market, or anywhere else.)

            The comments on this one have gone way off the rails. . . .

  8. It will be extremely beneficial to Oakland if the Uptown neighborhood can be redeveloped, starting with the old Sears store. Even though I choose to live in San Francisco, I offer best wishes to Oakland for their success!

    As other prior posters have written, Oakland has many problems to overcome. Hopefully, this proposed gentrification project will be a great start.

    The discussion thread of San Francisco versus Oakland is quite juvenile and provincial. Oakland’s success will be great for the Bay area economy.

  9. In the first half of 2013 Oakland achieved the distinction of being the most violent city in the USA, according to the FBI, followed by Flint, Detroit, Memphis and St. Louis. This was largely due to increase in the robbery rate, which had roughly doubled in over the previous 10 years. OPD’s 2013 year end crime report (one page pdf at namelink) breaks down the numbers.

    1. So punish us all because we have really bad crime in some areas? Uptown/Downtown/JLS Waterfront are light years away in levels of crime from 90th Ave and International Blvd. Why do people keep harping crime stats when progress happens? Like because we have crime we can’t experience progress? What is your point?

      1. “punish” ? Nobody is punishing anything or anyone. And if you were to subtract HP, Bayview, TL, etc from SF, like you want to do from Oakland it wouldn’t even be close in terms of crime. The fact of the matter is Oakland has a crime problem that SF doesnt

        1. Yes you are, you’re harping on Oakland’s overall crime stats when crime is area specific and Downtown/Uptown does not have a note worthy higher crime rate than similar neighborhoods in SF. Oh, and SF has a crime problem -you’re just not aware of it.

          1. I am aware of SF’s crime rate. “problem” would be your word. Why you think you can cherrypick neighborhoods in Oakland, but not SF, is pretty much nakedly hypocritical.

          2. You went from being macro about Oakland crime to cherry picking crime stats to say crime is up when keeping with your macro view crime is clearly down. It is not cherry picking to be clear about crime as it pertains to this property, to this neighborhood -it’s called being relevant.

  10. Anon…you are such a troll. Robbery, Burglary, and Murder all down substantially year to year in the info you attached, in fact almost EVERYTHING is down, but instead you cherry pick subcatergories. Assault is up 1%, based on a skyrocketing rate of “elder abuse” which is probably based on reporting. Similarly Rape is up, which is another crime that depends on whether folks report it or not. That’s why people use the murder rate as a proxy for the overall crime system, because that is one crime that ALWAYS gets reported and doesn’t produce anomalies in the statistics.

    But I wish we would get away from this overwhelming focus on crime…this is reading like the comments section of the Chronicle. The truth is this project is a huge game changer for the City of Oakland and a vote of confidence in what’s been happening in Uptown over the past several years. It’s happening, people.

  11. Right. Home invasion robbery is cherry picking .. On a real estate blog. There are many categories where crime is up, 2014 over 2013. I listed three that most people associate with quality of life. get real for five seconds.

  12. My money is on Oakland someday being the actual terminus of High Speed Rail because of existing historic rail right of ways, and continued Peninsula opposition. I also feel some East Bay neighborhoods have a far more comprehensive collection of significant historic architecture than most San Franciscans are willing to admit, especially parts of Claremont, Piedmont, Rockridge and the Berkeley hills. Younger money is buying in the East Bay and the new restaurants over there reflect the type of change for the better taking place.

  13. most people i know who live in SF love the weather here. The weather is one of the key reasons that people come and one of the key reasons that people stay.

    1. Anyone within 30 miles of the coast, all the way Cabo enjoys a great climate. The weather extremes can be annoying but just a little. Last summer I headed through a bone chilling 52 degree drizzle to the Daly City Bart and emerged an hour later into a muggy, airless, cat flattening 95 degree afternoon in Concord. Complain if you want but both locations have a better climate than 90% of the country.

  14. Oakland, second most dangerous city in USA:

    “> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,977
    > Population: 403,887
    > 2013 murders: 90 (20th highest)
    > Poverty rate: 19.5% (135th highest)
    > Pct. of adults with high school degree: 80.9% (62nd lowest)

    Oakland has historically suffered from high crime and last year was no exception. Oakland reported nearly 2,000 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2013. Moreover, the city reported 1,219 robberies per 100,000 residents, the most of any large American city. In addition to violent crime, property crime was also quite high in the city, at over 6,200 such incidents per 100,000 residents last year. By comparison, the national rate was 2,731 per 100,000 residents. However, despite its high levels of crime, Oakland is rapidly gentrifying. Gentrification may contribute to lower violent crime rates in the long run, according to the Urban Institute’s John Roman.”

    1. Anon, when was the last time you made a list of Oakland’s positive attributes? Cut and pasted a positive synopsis of Oakland?

      1. City-wide statistics remain just as irrelevant to a story about one specific location as they were when anon posted them last time. Same logic: “California has a higher murder rate than Iowa, so everyone should prefer Ames to Beverly Hills.”

        1. not really. you are not paying attention if you don’ realize that Uptown, while fun, happening, and vibrant, is also the area where the greyhound station is, and wasn’t too inviting just a short while ago. change has happened very rapidly. do not be so naïve as to think that things won’t shift the other direction. and don’t be so silly as to lie on here that street crime, particularly cell phone jacking, doesn’t happen around there all the time. I have friends who live in the Uptwon building. It’s a fact of life. Nice area, vibrant, fun, lots going on, but don’t be oblivious, either

          1. Recognize that your new post does not in any way rely on or support your previous, repeated use of city-wide statistics, which is what I was criticizing. But I’d be interested to see Uptown-specific statistics, which may well support your new point, and would actually be relevant to the story about this building.

          2. I’m not seeing them. I’m seeing only (a) city-wide statistics and (b) vague anecdotes about this specific area. (a) is irrelevant and not “applicable to the area”; (b) is not a “statistic” or particularly useful.

          3. feel free to look at a crime map. anyway, this, “California has a higher murder rate than Iowa, so everyone should prefer Ames to Beverly Hills” was stupid.

            Who said anything about “prefer” ? You inserted that. Paraphrase like a grownup, or don’t talk to me. OK?

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