Shrunken Development Newly Rendered and RationalizedDecember 13, 2016
Plans for a pair of residential towers to rise up to 27 stories in height at 325 Seventh Street, on an S-shaped site extending from the corner of 7th and Harrison to 6th Street on the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown, were approved by the city five years ago.
But as we first reported last month, the development team has changed course and is now pursing plans for a six-story building to rise across the site.
While the revised plans still include over 9,000 square feet of commercial/retail space across the ground floor of the development, along with a garage for 166 cars, the number of condos on the floors above has been slashed from 380 to 160.
And as such, the building will be able to be constructed primarily out of wood, which is significantly cheaper than the concrete or steel framing required for a high-rise, the economics of which are difficult to pencil in the current environment despite the recent run-up in Oakland rents and property values.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
More like a quarter of the original proposal, but it’s still an apples-to-apples comparison in ugliness.
With all of these 5 and 6 story residential buildings being under construction all over downtown, Chinatown, uptown and Temescal, Oakland will soon look like Paris. Let the sun shine and let’s create walkable, livable, transportation friendly communities with plenty of public plazas and street level retail.
Yep, Paris really is very close to Oakland’s monumental architecture, with fabulous huge parks scattered throughout the city and woven into residential neighborhoods. Very, very close. Museums, too. Cafes everywhere, just like Oakland. Oh yeah, Paris’ awesome extensive rail network is just like Oakland’s, too.
I really hate comparing Bay Area cities to Paris. They are nothing alike. Short buildings do not make you European, not to mention this isn’t Europe. Paris is the densest city in the world (minus Kolkatta and Chennai in India). Paris has narrow windy streets packed with 6+ story buildings. 8-10 stories aren’t uncommon either. To fight densification where we can add it in American cities is foolish. Oakland isn’t going to give up cars and grow a world class metro overnight. We need towers. This fairytale of making SF & Oakland “European” is noble, but not applicable. Dense walkable cities are achievable here, but through different means.
I too really like the 4 lane one-way roads in Paris.
I once fell asleep on the Paris metro and got off at one of the northern banlieues. I have to say, it did kind of remind me of Oakland.
Which Oakland neighborhoods did it remind you of? Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue, Adams Point, Cleveland Heights, Crocker Highlands, Temescal, Montclair, Ridgemont, Redwood Heights, Uptown?
They are all the same, of course. He saw dark skinned people and immediately thought “Oakland”. (/sarc)
Ugh, I guess don’t challenge the idea that Oakland isn’t all like 65th and Foothill? Anyway, I like Oakland and Paris for very different reasons. You’re right on, many low-rise cities are quite awesome! The new plan is fine with me. Of course I can’t wait until high rise construction is feasible here again.
I think highrise construction in Oakland is very feasible in the mid Broadway spine from Grand Avenue to 12th Street. The rents for newer construction around Broadway/Grand are through the roof. This “not pencilling out” has much more to do with what happens in San Francisco rather than those properties on Broadway next to BART stations being able to garner enough rent to make the project viable. This is just another growth cycle where development in Oakland is stunted by its relation to San Francisco.
Yeah. Just like Paris.
Dude, just stop. Seriously.
I kind of doubt Oakland will be mistaken for Paris anytime soon…
Seriously. I love Oakland, it’s my home, but this kind of hyperbole is ridiculous. Let’s keep Oakland Oakland, while improving walkability, public transportation and density. Trying to recreate or reinvent the city as something it’s not and was never designed for is a recipe for disaster.
I kind of doubt [enter name of US city here] will be mistaken for Paris anytime soon…
What’s being proposed is definitely an improvement. That said, it is surrounded by transit and services. It is also adjacent to continuous outflow of the Alameda tunnel and elevated hwy 880. Great location for a street side cafe (sarcasm). If I were to consider living there I would definitely want to be higher than the 6th floor. The shadow argument reminds me of the reaction of many surrounding residents of the proposed 18-20 story residential tower at MacArthur Transit village. It’s located adjacent to 5-10 story Hwy 24 and it’s overpasses, 6 story parking garage, and a block west of Telegraph. Again I would want to be on a floor higher than 6. Let’s protect freeways and parking structures from shadows at all cost!
That proposed high rise next to the MacArthur BART station is much taller than anything in that neighborhood. The building is also bulky and rather ugly from the looks of the current renderings. If it was something elegant perhaps the height wouldn’t be such an issue.
E.G., “the neighborhood”? Really? There is no neighborhood on the block of the proposed high rise, 90% of it was demolished in the 1960’s. The handful of buildings that pre-date BART are either dilapidated, multi-story and/or multi-unit. Every low density structure built on the block post BART has or will be replaced by large, multi-story apartment buildings. The context of the “neighborhood”: high density, multi-story adjacent to comprehensive mass transit. Sound like exactly where a high rise should be?
Matt, that’s true to an extent. I don’t mind the density as long as it’s “elegant density” as Mayor Brown so eloquently put it when we had the 10k plan. I want t see development of all kinds in Oakland. I just think that a tower that tall would look out of place in that part of Oakland. The tower would be seen from Temescal, Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue and even DTO. I would love to see that kind of density and height fit in with the area. I’m just not convinced that it would look good.
Low bar, but a better design. Sad to see it go from 27 to 6, what a waste of land. Why build 6 when the site is permitted up to 27?
That area is away from public transportation and right next to a freeway. Not conducive to high rise construction. It’s no great loss to go low in that area.
Being next to a freeway isn’t conducive to high rise construction? Since when? It’s a criminal waste of land.
I couldn’t agree more. What a waste of a great location. This is a transit-rich location. A short building here is truly a shame.
A short walk to 2 BART Stations and many AC Transit lines…
Lake Merritt Bart on Oak Street? That’s true, but that area doesn’t garner the much higher Uptown rents.
This is EXACTLY where high rise super dense development should occur in the Bay Area. A few blocks walk to Lake Merritt Bart, downtown office buildings, even Amtrak. Already a dense mixed use area with plenty of stores and restaurants and even recreation nearby. A veritable Transit Village! Contrast this with the quieter low density residential neighborhoods that the housing nuts are constantly trying to ruin with giant new condo buildings.
Agreed. This is a great place for dense development.
Fantasies of these entitled high-rises in Oakland all being financially feasible are just that…fantasies. Build what the market supports – isn’t that what all you free marketeers want?
That said, when does Jean Quan’s unemployed offspring start their shakedown on the project?
Love how anyone who disagrees with you is a “free marketeer,” with all that implies. I guess I’m Trump/Bush/Cheney because I think your comments are generally ridiculous. And for the record, I am a left of center US Democrat, a believer in a strong regulatory state and safety net that yes, rests on the foundation of a fair, refereed free market. Not any less realistic than something you would propose.
I was referring to the complaints about this project somehow being a waste of space because it wasn’t a luxury high-rise, as opposed to filling an actual market need in Oakland. Oakland doesn’t really need luxury high-rises. What it needs are comparatively cheaper to build wood-framed 6 story rental projects and the comparatively lower rents they typically charge. And apparently the market agrees.
Oakland needs housing for every income level.
Is it luxury just because it is new?
I think Oakland can learn a whole lot from Paris and other walkable European cities. The idea in the Valdez/Auto Row plan is to emulate walkable, European cities with plazas, cafe’s, along with access to Oakland’s three downtown BART stations.
Market conditions many times have unintended consequences . The fact that high rise construction doesn’t currently “pencil out” may save Oakland from the shadows, wind tunnels, and inactive pedestrian spaces. For decades Oakland was passed over by developers and banks due to redlining, prejudices and racism. Oakland was blessed by the shortsightedness and prejudices of the investment class. Thanks to the ingrained anti-Oakland biasis, Oakland now boasts incredible historic architecture which has been restored instead of bulldozed.
The Fox Theater was save and restored in Oakland while an even bigger Fox Theater was demolished in S.F. The Rotunda Building, the Cathedral Building, Latham Building, Lemington Building, the Flat Iron Building at 14th & Broadway, the Tribune Building, the Emporium Capwell Building, and I could go on and on, have all been preserved instead of bulldozed and have added to Oakland’s charm as a historic city.
Oakland has great bones, great transportation, amazing climate, walkable neighborhoods. Everything is in place to make Oakland a lot more similar to Paris than to San Francisco.
Actually, the 2 blocks north of the UC campus in Berkeley has the most amazing climate in the area rivaling even Paris. Good grief.
“Inactive pedestrian spaces…” Walk down Broadway after 5pm on weekdays or on the weekend if you want to see an inactive pedestrian space.
“Access to Oakland’s three downtown BART stations…” Wow, 3 stations. If Oakland wanted to emulate the great European cities, like you suggest, it would have a huge transit infrastructure in place, whisking people to and from their homes, quaint boutiques and sidewalk cafes 24/7.
I’m not comparing present day Oakland to Paris. However Oakland does have the possibilities to become similar to many European cities. Oakland already has beautiful Lake Merritt in the middle of town. We have gondolas on the Lake. Oakland was once know as “The Athens of the West.” Oakland, has the opportunity to join Boston and NYC as the most European like cities in the United States.
Damn right! San Francisco has *4* stations!
Oakland has 8 BART stations throughout the entire city. That’s more stations than any other city in the Bay Area.
and those (4) downtown, and outlying stations need significant capacity and design rebranding to allow for more density and development above the stations, and improved linkages to local transit systems.
see also Daly City, Glen Park, Balboa Park and Mission Stations…
Downtown S.F. near the 4 BART stations is fully developed. Time to develope in Oakland on the Broadway spine.
What an ugly building. Yuck!
Looks like Paris California is about to bribe the Raiders with hundreds of millions of dollars. Priorities.
The S.F. media is misrepresenting the public subsidy. The city is investing 200 million in infrastructure improvements for the entire mixed use project. The acreage at the Coliseum would also be lease or sold to the developer. The SF media is trying to put a negative spin on the deal since Oakland may retain its NFL team while SF lost its team to Santa Clara.
Per ESPN: “If the Oakland City Council approves as well, the city and county can start negotiating a formal agreement with private investors for a stadium project that includes $350 million in public money by way of land and future revenue….The city of Oakland would contribute $200 million for infrastructure such as storm drains and roadway parking. The money would be generated from bonds paid back from revenue created from the stadium and its surrounding commercial development. The city and county would also contribute at least 100 acres of land, valued at $150 million.”
Good thing land is so cheap in Oakland that almost no one wants to build there. $350 million appears to be the current bid, might need to boost it if the NFL owners approve the move to Vegas, which is The Las Vegas of the World.
From ESPN, a noted San Francisco based media outlet!
Where do they get their facts and narrative? The deal involved 200 million in infrastructure for the entire project which is more than just a stadium. The land will be leased to the developer. The land is supposedly worth 150 mill. The developer will be responsible for any cost over runs or if revenue falls short.
No one wants to build in Oakland? Really? There are currently 2,000 units of housing under construction with another 16,000 in the pipeline. I don’t think land in Oakland is cheap at all. Don’t be jealous that Oakland might have found a responsible way to keep its NFL franchise while also redeveloping the Coliseum area.
Yeah, SF’s overflow spills into Oakland in jobs, housing, office space, prestige, fame,… SF has ~64,000 housing units in the pipeline and is smaller in area, which mean SF has about 5 times the density in pipeline. I know many people that want to live in SF but were priced out and settle on Oakland or other east bay destinations near BART so they could get to The City where they want to be though they reside in the suburbs where they can afford.
The Raiders wanted to move to the LA area and were quite open about it. In this case, if (a very big if) the Raiders stay in Oakland, then that will be LA’s overflow. And the Athletics have wanted to move to San Jose environs, but were blocked by MLB’s SF-SJ territoriality. So even the Athletics are just overflow from more prosperous cities in the Bay Area, where far more people want to build and live and work. Oakland is just like Paris, except it gets the second pressing at best, kinda the grappa of the bay area.
Yes, Oakland is so undeserving and just “overflow” from everywhere else. Keep believing that. It just shows that you know nothing about Oakland. Everyone wants to be in Oakland, that’s the reason why rents are growing faster in Oakland than anywhere else in the Bay Area. Rents are going down in S.F. while still rising Oakland. I like the way Oakland is growing. I like the plans for low to mid rise housing in Temescal, Auto Row/Valdez, along with proposed high rises along the Broadway spine and near BART stations. Falsely denigrating Oakland is wrong and does nothing to help our region.
Ah, surely Oakland is deserving of the truth, which is just as surely that not “everyone wants to be in Oakland”. Glad you like Oakland and how it is growing. May your happiness exceed your honesty. May your care for “our region” exceed your often “falsely denigrating” San Francisco. And what will you say when another suburb of San Francisco claims the ultimate prestige of having rents that grow faster than “anywhere else in the Bay Area”? Will you then claim that “everyone wants to be” there instead of Oakland, including you?
You are just upset because I say flattering things about Oakland and even bring up Paris. That offends you because only S.F. can be gushed over in your world view. Also, Oakland is not a “suburb.” Suburbs don’t have better theaters, (Paramount, Fox, Grand Lake) than “The City.” Suburbs don’t have superior rejigious architecture such as Mormon Temple, Cathedral of Christ the Light, and Greek Orthodox Church. Suburbs don’t have a better municipal zoo like Oakland has over S.F.. Suburbs don’t have a better dinning scene the way that Oakland has over S.F.. Suburbs don’t have airports within their city limits while “The City” had an airport in a completely different city. Suburbs don’t have three pro sports franchises within city limits while the big city has only one. Suburbs aren’t bigger geographically than “The City.” A suburb doesn’t have more metro stations than the city as Oakland has over S.F. with BART. Suburbs don’t have a better cultural and artistic scene as Oakland has over S.F. Suburbs do sometimes have more parkland than the big city as Oakland has over S.F.
I find your comments wrt Oakland/Paris/SF funny and clownish not offensive or upsetting. The desperation with which you cling to your Big City Bright Lights of Oaklove, the rather odd little facts you try to use to deny the obvious and the official US gov’t designation of Oakland as a suburb of SF is, well, clownish and funny, not personally offensive, though your comments do often offend the truth. No need to bother to reply to all of them. Maybe if you sent a note to the US Census they would adjust the SF MSA to center it on downclown Oakland.
BTW, Berkeley has better theaters than Oakland, much better. But then it also has a major university. If your standards for art, music, architecture, airports, dinning, theater, churches, etc are satisfied by Oakland, well then, you truly are a suburbanite. The devil’s advocate in me does wonder on your behalf: how could Oakland be a suburb of SF when it has a much higher violent crime rate than SF? Perhaps the better weather.
Jake, despite your repeated insistence that you’re only using the federal / census definition of “suburb,” you know that there’s no such thing, right? There’s nothing in the census or census definitions that supports your use of the word “suburb.” There’s nothing in the federal Metropolitan Statistical Area definition or designations that defines or uses the word “suburb.” The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward MSA does not have a designated center, and it does not have designated suburbs.
Virtually nobody in common parlance would call Oakland a suburb of San Francisco, even though nobody would deny SF is the better known and more economically significant city. Those are different things. Had you been correct about the census / MSA point, it would have been pedantic, but in fact it’s worse: it’s a failed attempt at pedantry.
The developments you mentioned ARE good for Oakland. Oakland IS improving. But you damage your credibility when you compare Oakland with Paris. You sound unhinged.
Oakland has been an overflow housing market for San Francisco for the last 120 years. That’s not denigrating Oakland, it’s observable fact. Alameda has played the same role along with, more recently, Daly City and San Bruno. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just the way it is. We can recognize this truth while also hoping Oakland continues to improve.
(And no, “everyone” does not want to live in Oakland. Some people do, and good for them. But when it comes to real estate, we can consult prices. The market measures value by price. The huge gap is closing, but it still exists. That’s because most people would prefer to live in San Francisco.)
I never compared present day Oakland to Paris. I wrote that I liked the way Oakland is building mid rise residential housing with plazas and access to public transportation as seen in Paris and other European cities. The “Paris” thing seems to offend San Franciscans. Heck, say anything nice about Oakland seems to offend San Franciscans. Oakland has always to be S.F. “Suburb” or “Newark” or “New Jersey” or somewhere people “settle for” if they can’t live in S.F.. Do you all know how disrespectful and condescending your attitudes about Oakland really are? Why is it so offensive to you that I compare Oakland’s possible future residential growth pattern to Paris or any other European cities?
“Oakland will soon look like Paris”; who wrote that above?
There is nothing wrong with being a suburb. It just means that there is a significant net flow of commuters for work into a nearby jurisdiction. Not unusual for a city to have excellent or preferable suburbs. Cleveland and DC come to mind, and checkout Alpine New Jersey for a so so suburb of NYC. Also plenty of suburbs are large enough to have their own downtown or business district, but they are much smaller than the CBD of the nearby city of which they are a suburb, just like the little town that could where you live. And some have major sports stadiums, such as Arlington TX, which is where both the Cowboys and Rangers play. And they both play in modern facilities, unlike any of the teardowns in use in Oakland.
I am not in any way “offended” that you compared Oakland with Paris. I’m not in any way offended by your advocacy for Oakland. You’re trying to create an enemy that doesn’t exist. San Francisco and Oakland are not enemies. They’re not rivals. They’re two cities that happen to be next to each other. As I said, I hope Oakland continues to improve.
This is a site about real estate and its valuation. I hope you’re not offended by an observation that real estate prices in San Francisco are higher than in Oakland. Oakland has its own industries, but generally speaking it has been a bedroom community for San Francisco, where SF workers can afford a larger house. There’s no shame in that. It doesn’t mean that Oakland can’t improve itself and be the best city it can be.
Berkeley has better theaters than the Fox and Paramount in Oakland? Which ones?
Berkeley has better live theater than Oakland. The performers are more important than the building, which I would think any fan of Oakland sports would readily acknowledge.
Berkeley is a suburb of Oakland. U.C. Berkeley started in Oakland, has its headquarters in Oakland and part of its property is actually within Oakland city limits. Berkeley borders Oakland and is 1/4 the size of Oakland. Berkeley has nothing like Oracle Arena, Fox Theater or Paramount Theater for live performances of concerts, Oakland Symphony, Oakland Ballet, etc.
Nope. Berkeley is a suburb of San Francisco; as is San Leandro, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Alameda, Albany, Concord, Lafayette, Richmond, Hercules, Walnut Creek, Oakland,….. These are facts and true regardless of whatever you claim or wish. That your short list of cultural strengths of Oakland in part includes second rate performers and third rate facilities merely illuminates how few and dim are the kultural highlights of the Paris of the Jersey side of the Bay.
Too bad Oakland’s mayor doesn’t spend some of the hundreds of millions earmarked for the LA/LV Raiders to improve public administration. Maybe start by integrating and auditing the databases of buildings across the Fire, Police, Planning and Building, etc Depts. Priorities.
BTW, the most immediate competitor to Oakland is the Hayward-Fremont area. That’s where the PDR has been shifting for decades, and it has much better (sub-urban) access to the largest job center in the Bay Area: Silicon Valley.
Much of the U.C. Berkeley faculty have a short commute from Oakland neighborhoods such as Rockridge and Claremont. Some U.C. students also live in Oakland and frequent Rockridge and Temescal neighborhoods. Berkeley and Oakland are intertwined and have nothing to do with being a “suburb of San Francisco.” Last point regarding the “Oakland is a suburb of S.F.” nonsense. In Arlington Texas they have the “Dallas Cowboys” not the Arlington Cowboys.
Here in the Bay Area we have three separate big cities with their own sports teams and institutions. We have the Oakland Raiders & S.F. Forty Niners, Oakland Athletics & S.F. Giants, Oakland Symphony & S.F. Symphony, Oakland Ballet & S.F. Ballet, Oakland Zoo & S.F. Zoo, Oakland International Airport & S.F. international Airport. Also the Metro Area is classified as the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area. No Oakland is its own city with its own 84,000 worker downtown (compared to the 39,000 in downtown San Jose) its own sports teams, cultural institutions, and world class U.C. Berkeley which was created in Oakland and has its headquarters at 11th & Franklin in DTO.
I know you want to subjugate Oakland & Berkeley in order to enhance San Francisco’s status, but you are very wrong in your assessment. Oakland is a separate and independent city from San Francisco with only 30% of home buyers coming from San Francisco.
Of course “Oakland is a separate and independent city from San Francisco.” If it were a part of SF it would be better administered. FTR, Daly City and San Bruno are also “separate and independent” cities, and they and Oakland are all suburbs of San Francisco. Hoboken and Jersey City are even in a different state than NYC, but they are suburbs of NYC.
You write like you don’t know that a “city” can be a suburb of another city or that there are municipalities incorporated as “cities” that are suburbs, aka suburban cities. USA has hundreds or maybe thousands of ’em. San Jose being the largest in the Bay Area.
The SF MSA (San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area) is defined as the county that forms the economic center and the surrounding counties that net flow workers into the economic center. Despite the longish full title it includes 5 counties: San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, and San Mateo County. The San Francisco central business district is the urban core and the rest are the suburbs. Really quite a simple concept.
Oakland is no more a “big” city than is Fresno. It might do you some good to get out of that smallish poorly run suburban city of yours and see some big cities.
I think Long Beach would be a better comparison for Oakland than Fresno or Paris.
I don’t want to live in San Francisco.
No one will make you.
Real estate valuations don’t depend on what you or I think. They’re determined by the aggregated preferences of everyone
Not really “preference” but number of jobs along with access in and out of the area. San Francisco has iconic landmarks, magnificent views, and great access to a beautiful coast line. S.F. also has many urban problems to deal with. Some people want to live in San Francisco while other feel that they have no choice to live in San Francisco because the access in and out of SF is just too difficult.
Yes, it is a preference of many, just as large financial institutions, Law firms etc. prefer to locate in high rent SF instead of other urban areas in Northern California that have equally good amenities and lower rents.
I have a beautiful home with a yard, walking distance to BART. Hard to give that up to live in 1/4th the space & blanketed in cold fog.
And no one will make you. But on aggregate, SF is the preferred location over Oakland and has been for 170 years
Agee Woolie, except I would have to settle for 1/8 the space. But I would trade July and August in the Central Valley for SF fog 🙂
It must really, really bother SFRealist that 90% of the people in the Bay Area don’t want to live in Blessed San Francisco.
I don’t think it bothers anybody in SF that some people don’t want to live there – rents are astronomical, and if there was less demand, rents would subside to levels more in line with the rest of the bay area… which is still a lot higher than Sacramento or other cities in the Central Valley.
Why would it bother me?
I’m just observing the fact that people have preferred San Francisco over Oakland for 170 years, based on the difference in housing prices. Other cities (Palo Alto, Los Gatos) have higher real estate prices than SF, showing that on aggregate people prefer to live there. It has nothing to do with my personal feelings.
Excellent building. Oakland needs more mid rises and don’t forget Community Solar! Oakland does get more sun than San Francisco. Also bring in the dancing coalition of dancing grannies and aunties. As long as Oakland gets the density of random European cities. Evenly the dancing grannies and aunties from around gets to praise their ever lasting expansion. As long as Oakland gets improved, Oakland will have great dancing open space that will be overflowing with active spaces.
Hmmm….let’s see if the trinity from the Oakland airport direct international flights:Norway, Spain, and Denmark developers has the money to take the San Francisco ended extensions on some of the lots in Oakland.
Long Beach is comparable to Oakland in population goegrapghic size and it’s also a port city. However Oakland is more of a major league city with three pro sports franchises, a better restaurant and arts scene and a bigger and more populated downtown. Long Beach is also 25 miles south of L.A. The city of L.A. has about 10x the population of Long Beach. Despite being so much smaller than LA no one in LA is arrogant enough to consider Long Beach a suburb. S.F. has a very inflated since of self in attempting to subjugate the urban, vibrant city of Oakland.
Long Beach is similar to Oakland in size and while it is know as a city locally and even regionally, on a national and international scale it is just seen as one of many cities surrounding a larger international destination city.
That doesn’t make it a bad place to live or do business!
Gonsalves, no one is a bigger Oakland booster than I am — but you’re taking it a bit too far.
And Jake, MSAs are based on commuting patterns but it’s a regional interconnected whole. There is commuting within the East Bay, and even from SF into other counties. SF CBD is the largest job center, but it’s not independent. And these days, quite a lot of San Francisco is a bedroom community for the Valley.
I think the SV CBD is bigger than the SF CBD measured in jobs, though it is less well-defined geographically. Certainly Santa Clara County has more jobs than SF and has since the 1980s. The net commuter flow between SF and the “valley” of SM and SC counties is towards SF, as it has always been.
And of course there is commuting in all directions, though most jobs in most bay area counties are done by residents of the same county. SF has the biggest percentage of jobs done by folks that commute in from other counties, ~45%, and it has been around that percentage for decades. The millions of sq ft of new office space that has been created in the current boom in the SF CBD generate/require thousands of households in the SF suburbs to fill ’em up, and most of those new households in the SF suburbs with jobs in SF are in the east bay. There’s just not enough new housing built in SF+SM+Marin. I think more people commute to SF from Sonoma County for work than commute from SF to Oakland. Very asymmetric. I am sure that more people commute through Oakland (in one side to out the other) than commute to Oakland. Far more, day after day.
I’m not sure what you mean by “interconnected whole”. The MSA is just a coarse way to group counties for economic analysis and comparison. If you really want to understand the regional interconnectedness you should look at the CSA, or….the world is an “interconnected whole”, so what? Tell it to EG, who seems to pretend that Oakland is some naturally walled garden of paradise being subjugated and denied it’s greater glory by conspiracies of SFers in business and media and blog comment posters. Yeah, we all get together at Blue Bottle to discuss the next Oaklessening.
There are 220,000 jobs in Oakland city wide. Despite your dismissive and arrogant attitude many people do commute to Oakland, they don’t just “drive through Oakland” to get to that garden of eden in the West Bay. The truth is that S.F. is an artificial business center for the Bay Area relying on residents from the 2.6 million strong Oakland metro area to prop up its economy. In San Diego no one drives over the Coronado Bridge to get to an office building. S.F. is a great location for the tourism industry but really has no business as a business center for the Bay Area do to its small land mass, small population, and inaccessibility via congested bridges.
Are you saying that SF is not a business center? That may be your opinion, but not the opinion of the banks, companies, law firms, etc. that choose to locate their offices in SF.
More hyperbole… who is arrogant??
My point is that your “city/suburb” binary is a pointless reduction. Anyone can look at the LODES data and see that people commute in directions all over the Bay Area. SF CBD is a large jobs center but it is not as totally dominant as you suggest. This region has had multiple centers since the very beginning. Less than 10% of the regional population is “blessed” enough to live in San Francisco.
The continuing of blindly building huge office buildings in S.F. and forcing East Bay residents to S.F. simply due to “prestige” is a huge arrogant mistake by developers and by their banks. The overbuilding in the inaccessible S.F. financial center will needlessly contribute to longer commutes and further gridlock in the Bay Area region. New office towers should be going up in accessible Oakland on the side of the Bay where the population actually resides.
It’s a rational decision by banks and developers who stand to make the most money.
It’s a failure of Bay Area and California government planning.
woolie, people don’t commute in all directions equally. The nature and reasons for the disequilibria are key points in this discussion. As I have mentioned before on SS (and to some of the same folks in this thread), there are very good and well-documented economic reasons why knowledge workers concentrate as they do in the two CBDs of the Bay area: SF’s and in the SV. They are more productive on average when concentrated, which makes for more wealth which leads to more concentration and higher RE prices. This has all been studied and explained by others, ya don’t have to believe me, you can look it up yourself.
That’s also why Oakland doesn’t , shouldn’t (not a planning problem), and almost certainly will never have a CBD as large as SF, but it does grow larger whenever the SF CBD goes through a boom, fills up enough for RE and labor price increases high enough to accept the lower productivity (on average) of being in downtown Oakland. Overflow economics.
I’m also familiar with the population history of the Bay Area and you are very wrong about it having “multiple centers since the very beginning”. From the gold rush to the 1906 earthquake more than half the population of the Bay Area lived in SF and SF was among the 10 most populous US cities from 1870 until the quake.
EG, sure “many people commute to Oakland”, so what? About as many people commute from Oakland to work elsewhere as commute to Oakland to work there, very unlike SF. More people commute to work in SF from neighboring counties than there are jobs in Oakland or employed residents of Oakland. Not even close. SF net imports labor from every county in the Bay Area, while Oakland net exports labor to SF, SM, and SC counties because that is where the productivity is higher.
Jake, you’re pretending I said that “all directions equally.” I didn’t. You also don’t need to mansplain agglomeration, because if you consider it for even a moment, the conclusion is that San Francisco’s current office boom is nothing but “spillover” from Santa Clara County. You’ll also need to consider that Alameda and Contra Costa Counties have a population of over 2.6m, and the commute through a strained bottleneck (prone to weekly meltdowns) has many people asking exactly how much productivity is lost to reach the SF CBD Holy Land.
No woolie, wasn’t pretending you said anything, merely pointed out what you didn’t mention was more important than what you did. And no there is no evidence that SF’s current boom is spillover from another county. SF and SC and SM counties have moved up and down pretty much in timesynch, while the nascent Oakland office boomlet trails by years. Once again you fail to comprehend flow dynamics, timing, significance.
Historical, SV’s and the south bay’s growth as a manufacturing and business center was clearly spillover from SF and the north bay. Post WWII the farmland was much cheaper to convert on the scale needed than to displace folks in builtup areas like SF and Oakland; and the automobile made it relatively easy/cheap. FWIW, something similar has been happening more recently with the yuge warehouse construction in the Central Valley as the inner bay area filled up and became more expensive. How much productivity is lost in trucking freight that is landed at the port of Oakland to an Amazon warehouse in Patterson off I5 to then be delivered to me in SF or the amazing residents of Paris, Jerseyside?
FYI, there are official calculations of how much time is lost in the commute congestion. Measured in billions of oodles and published for major choke points like the Bay Bridge. Those costs affect tipping points of individuals and businesses on where to locate and how much they are willing to pay for proximity.
I’m pretty sure that Stanford Research Park isn’t in San Francisco, but what do I know. Today’s prices in San Francisco, and the office boom that makes you so proud, are entirely a consequence of events that started decades ago in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. While this was happening down south, San Francisco was still hemorrhaging population. And I can see why – I definitely wouldn’t live inside San Francisco. I’ve seen it close enough already.
About 60 years ago, Arthur Rock convinced a group of bright semiconductor engineers to form what became Fairchild Semiconductor in a meeting at the Clift Hotel in SF. Rock moved to SF to form his VC firm. The story of the Silicon Valley has always involved a collaboration between the talents of SF (mostly business, finance, marketing, and Oakland putdowns) and the talents of the valley (mostly technical). And both have shamelessly/ruthlessly imported whatever talent and money they needed to fuel the beast and offspring (Fairchildren) they birthed that day in the Redwood Room (story by SF biased press at namelink)
And I am not proud of SF’s office boom. It is a royal pain in the traffic mess. I’d much rather the Tar Flats and Mission Bay have been made parkland with water slides, but I got outvetoed. I do try to understand/explain why da boom erupts in SF and SM and SC counties and then overflows Oakward, which it has repeatedly. Besides, I am much too frugal in my purchase of dispensations to waste them on as useless a sin as the sin of pride of place.
Left out of this Disney version is that the Eight actually decided first, and flew East – ya know over BOTH the Jersey’s – to where the real money was. So perhaps the inspirational story here is how SF has benefitted from NYC’s “overflow” (I believe that’s your default term for movement from one city to another, regardless of actual reasoning)
Yup, Rock moved from NYC to SF. SF has an amazing ability to attract talent from around the world. Been doin it since 1849. The “overflow” that built SF into one of the largest cities in the USA was the tons of precious metal that overflowed from the sierras. That was more an act of God to inflict so much mammon on so few, and a recurring treat of SF life.
And no, your belief about my terminology is incorrect. A notuncommon occurrence, in our brief acquaintance. Simple movement between places of people and/or culture is more of a diffusion. Overflow is different, as I have explained above. As a wise one might have said: ‘diffusion happens in directions all over’.
Now, if you would like to trace the flows and overflows all the way back to Olduvai Gorge, I suppose we could, but if you want to explain why Oakland office construction has a distinct and recurring pattern of lagging behind and following the lead of SF and SV, well then I think Occam’s razerzone will take you towards my thesis. Feel free to offer an alternative. So far in this thread we also have considered the thesis that but only for the false/bad press Oakland would soon be the Paris of the Jersey side of the Bay. So the bar is already beneath silly for thesisorizing.
Nope no desire to offer one, since this is (supposed to be) a thread about whether/not Jersey West’s biggest suburb is better off w/ a short ugly building than a slightly taller ugly one. Do you have any thoughts on that ??
Oakland is better off with almost any new building, tall, short, ugly or world classy. Not surprising the developer might favor less building to make more sure profit. Hopefully, they build it and then rollover the profits into another nearby. So much potential unfulfilled thereabouts. Saw that in my hood which was kinda dumpy 25 years ago and now almost every parcel has been redeveloped, and many not to my liking but better than folks living in uninspected warehouses. Priorities. Besides, Paris wasn’t built in a single millennium.
Perhaps they can put a mansard on it and satisfy everyone…well, almost everyone.
@Jake: Paris had to go thru a lot of suffering in its couple of millennia (plague, wars, revolutions) so Oakland is probably on the right track.
The proposed building is not spectacular but I suppose it will serve a purpose.
Editor, please help prune these threads. People making pretty fantastical claims on both sides results in a lot of angry text, and makes me want to avoid comments entirely.
How am I taking it too far? The discussion was about how high rise construction wasn’t penciling out in that area of Oakland. Everything I suggested about Oakland’s growth pattern and ambitions to make itself into more of a walking urban city with cafes and plazas is written in Oakland’s own plans for downtown. Paris has even been brought up as a point of reference in these studies and reports.
Paris was an imperial capital for hundreds of years. Paris is at least 4x the density of even Blessed San Francisco. Paris has more than a dozen subway, commuter, and high speed train routes running under the city streets. San Francisco is not going to be Paris in my lifetime or yours, and Oakland is still playing catchup with Oakland.
Well I’m going to jump in with my .02. As much as I love Oakland, comparing it or any city in the U.S. of A. to Paris is just silly hyperbole. I wish people would stop it cuz it makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about. That said, as much as I adore SF, these comparisons between Oak and SF always seem to compare the best if SF with the meh of Oakland. Sure, I’d love to live on Telegraph Hill or Russian Hill, but most San Franciscans don’t. Lots of people live out in the grey, windy and rather boring avenues. Compare average Oakkand with average SF and the choice is much, much closer. Just depends on what an individual person values.
If I had the choice of spending the 1.2 million dollar median price for an S.F. home, in Oakland or in S.F., I would spend that money in Oakland in a heartbeat. For that price you could live in beautiful Oakland neighborhoods such as Montclair, lower Rockridge, Trestle Glen, Oakmore, Glenview, Temescal, Piedmont Avenue, Redwood Heights, etc. For 2 million you coul get Crocker Highlands, Upper Rockridge, Skyline, & Claremont Hills. Much better value and quality of life in Oakland for the money you would spend on a million dollar shack in San Francisco. It’s all about fake images about what S.F. and Oakland are supposed to be. Images which have been carefully crafted for decades but in reality should be turned on their heads.
You are right that people choose where to live based on images, and Oakland still have an image of high murder rates and of generally being a dangerous city to live in. Many people would rather live in other communities in the east bay. You keep comparing to SF, but should rather compare to Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Livermore etc. Why should somebody choose Oakland over other east bay cities??
Oakland is a much more interesting city with a better climate, views, great residential architecture, walkable neighborhoods, interesting shopping areas, a historic downtown, two waterfronts, great restaurants, great theaters, awesome hicking and many neighborhoods with very little if any violent crime. There is very little violent crime above highway 580, above Highway 13, around Highway 24, neighborhoods around Grand Avenue and upper Lakeshore around Lake Merritt or near the waterfront at Jack London Square.
“I would spend that money in Oakland in a heartbeat” – that’s your choice. Many people choose differently.
“Much better value and quality of life in Oakland” – that’s your opinion. Many people think differently.
When you start claiming that people’s decision on where to live is based on “fake images” you really discredit yourself. Look, we get it – you like and prefer Oakland. That’s great. But that chip on your shoulder that forces you to constantly trumpet Oakland must be a bear to support.
Oaklanders are used to defending their city from false narratives. Nothin new. It’s been going on in the Bay Area for decades.
From Herb Caenn making fun of Oakland at every opportunity, to SF radio host Ron Owen in 1989 claiming that the World Series between San Francisco and Oakland was “cracked crab vs crack.” To using the “no there, there ” comment by Gertrude Stein referring to her home no long being there after being demolished on her return trip from France, and then taking it out of context as way to disparage Oakland as a city. To the selective S.F. media down playing and under reporting S.F. violent crime while exploiting violent crime in Oakland for ratings at the same time as they constantly promote S.F. events.
Did anyone know that in the first two weeks of October San Francisco experienced 12 homicides in 14 days? Of course not, because during that time the S.F. media was too busy promoting Fleet Week, Hardly Strictly Blue Grass, Dreamforce Convention etc. Anyone who thinks that Oakland gets its negative image by accident, while S.F. is portrayed as some sort of bohemian paradise with only folky homeless issues and some “property crime,” hasn’t been paying attention. So yes, Oaklanders have a every right to “have a chip on their shoulder” concerning the relationship with San Francisco.
You think that you can promote Oakland by tainting the image of SF – it makes you look desperate and makes us think that Oakland is really bad if you have to go to such lows.
Well that’s fine, but real estate prices have nothing to do with one person’s individual preferences.
Real Estate prices have a lot to do with image. The S.F. corporate media does a great job marketing San Francisco with their dishonest and selective coverage. S.F. is elevated to Pacific Heights or the Marina while Oakland is reduced to the most crime plagued areas of East Oakland. That’s been the narrative for decades and it does influence over all median prices in both cities.
Well, EG, the imagineering you’ve presented confirms it would be more fun to hangout a while longer with my co-conspirator-narrators of the Oakplague sagas, than it would be to rebrand the Paris of the Jersey side of the Bay. To quote a former chronicler:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
You should call Oakland the Jersey side of the bay a few more times. I don’t think people heard you the first time.
“And then I said, ‘The JERSEY side of the bay!”
“…the Jersey side, ladies and gentleman…”
“Is this thing on?”
Oakland isn’t the Jersey side of the Bay. Nope, it is on or in the Jersey side of the Bay, but it takes a whole side of the Bay to make a side of the Bay, n’est pas? Hope this helps the geographically challenge among us.
Oakland’s problems are not caused by SF ‘corporate media,’ there is no such thing as SF corporate media
The Paris thing seems to really bother you. It was a tongue in cheek comment that you took to heart. I sense some S.F. insecurity.
It’s a laughable comparison, you don’t have to be from SF to see that.
Anon123, how am I “tainting S.F.?” What “lows” am I going to? It’s the truth. Anyone who has lived in the Bay Area for decades will tell you that Oakland has received horrible and very unfair coverage from the S.F. corporate media for a very long time. All that affects image, perceptions, and in the end, real estate values. With the advent of social media the truth has been finally getting out about Oakland and the SF generated bad rap has slowly been waining. Oakland is now seen in many circles as the cooler alternative to corporate San Francisco.
If Oakland is cooler, why your endless rants about how horrible SF is? If Oakland was cool, you wouldn’t have to worry about how SF is.
I’ve said nice things about S.F. I’ve written about the iconic images, the beautiful views, the fantastic coastline, etc. The thing is that Oaklanders now much more about San Francisco than San Franciscans now about Oakland. For example most San Franciscans have no idea where neighborhoods like Ridgemont, Oakmore, Chabot Park Estates, Maxwell Park, in Oakland are located. Most S.F. residents don’t know where Joaquin MIller Park, Redwood Park, or Chabot Space & Science Center are located.
I live in the San Joaquin Valley, and I have no idea either. I am sure that there are nice areas in Oakland as well as areas that need improvement – same goes for my city. You can promote your city without tainting other cities.
UPDATE: Oakland Tower Project Redesigned, Fourth Extension Requested
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