In an effort to bring you the latest Economic Development news quickly and efficiently, we have adapted a new e-mail format.
Please take a moment to read about the exciting developments happening in Oakland and learn how your business can thrive in our world class city.
|A Wonderful City Brewing...|
Because CEDA is an umbrella agency responsible for most of the city departments that relate to growth and economic development, we sometimes feel we hold the keys to Oakland's future. It's a huge responsibility, and we take it very seriously.
Just how do we prioritize this enormous job? First, we're taking a strategic look at the big picture. We're soliciting input from all the stakeholders and asking: What do we want the character of Oakland to be? What kinds of business and development projects do we want, and where? As our strategy becomes clearer, we also see which processes we need to retool and streamline to help bring that strategy to life.
In the meantime, our other priorities include plans to: 1) Use our clout in city government to fuel investment in East and West Oakland, traditionally underserved areas where we need to set the tone and vision and then lead by example to make sure Oakland works for all its residents; 2) Collaborate with the Port of Oakland to develop a single vision for the continued development of international trade, maritime and logistics of the former Army base; 3) Leverage the success of our nationally respected health care providers at Summit, Kaiser Permanente, Alameda County Medical Center and Children's Hospital; 4) Identify land and build the infrastructure to attract larger scale green tech and life sciences facilities; and 5) Build a more positive relationship with our sports teams. They bring people, dollars and excitement into our city, and we're proud of them.
We have a number of challenges ahead, but despite the economic downturn we've maintained our strong forward momentum - and it shows in the increasing investment and new business ventures throughout the city. Have you looked around Oakland lately? I have - and I see a wonderful city brewing. Walter Cohen
Director, Community and Economic Development Agency
City of Oakland
|New Toyota Dealership Hosts Job Fair, Expects to Hire 100 Workers|
One Toyota of Oakland is hiring. The new dealership which is set to open in February in the 200,000-square-foot vacant building at 8181 Oakport Drive, hosted a Job Fair on December 12 and 13. More than 650 applicants braved the inclement weather to attend the Job Fair. An additional 1,100 indviduals applied online by visiting One Toyota's website at www.onetoyota.com
. The 100 positions being filled immediately range from Sales Associates to Lot Attendants and Parts Manager to Payroll. The dealership anticipates hiring more workers throughout the year bringing a total of 200 jobs to Oakland. Click here
to read an article published in the Oakland Tribune
. Click here
to read a story in the San Francisco Business Times
|ONE WORKPLACE: The Model for Oakland's New Business and Sales Tax Incentive Program|
Oakland has far fewer businesses with 20 or more employees than other U.S. cities of comparable size. This includes a diversity of cities such as Boston, Portland, Sacramento and Baltimore. Small businesses are credited with creating more jobs than larger businesses through sheer number, dexterity and adaptability. However, jobs created by larger businesses typically are more sustainable over the long term - offering increased wages, superior benefits, greater worker security and more reliable revenues for the City.
So when Dave Ferrari, CEO of One Workplace
, a large B2B retailer of office and medical furniture systems, approached Economic Development staff in September 2008 to gauge interest in developing an incentive agreement, staff immediately was interested. One Work Place had decided to relocate its Alameda sales office and had identified Oakland as a very attractive option because of its central location, a strong workforce base and proximity to warehouse space. The company had several options outside of Oakland, however, and was carefully considering its bottom line.
In order to meet the Company's financial objectives and close the deal, the City was able to provide One Work Place with a variety of financial incentives, including participation in the City's acclaimed Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Program and a Business Incentive Agreement approved by the City Council in June 2009. In exchange, One Work Place has committed to remain in Oakland for a minimum of 5 years, and to hire Oakland residents as jobs become available. The business office and its 30 employees are now pleased to be located at 7220 Edgewater Dr. in the Airport Business Park, with easy access to its many customers throughout the Bay Area. One Work Place's customers include Oakland's Kaiser Permanente and Clorox, and other companies including U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University, Google, eBay, Oracle, Sun MicroSystems, and many others.
This Agreement is projected to result in $1.4 million of new business tax revenues for Oakland over the next five years. On the heels of this successful business attraction effort, the City Council subsequently decided to adopt a Business and Sales Tax Incentive Program in October 2009. The Program is focused on attracting businesses with 20 or more employees and businesses in targeted high-growth industries, including retail, green tech, bioscience/medical, digital arts and media, international trade and logistics and food manufacturing.
Stay tuned - in February 2009, the City Council will consider the adoption of new programs to facilitate and incentivize existing businesses to stay and grow in Oakland.
to read an article on One Workplace from the San Francisco Business Times
. To read an October 19 article from the San Francisco Business Times
on the Incentive Program, click here
. Click here
to read an article from the November 27 Oakland Structures publication that appeared in the San Francisco Business Times
|Oakland Captures National Media Attention|
|Oakland Launches Buy Local Campaign with an Independent Twist|
New Website Promotes Plethora of Locally-Owned, Indie Shops, Restaurants, Attractions
On December 2, the Cultural Arts & Marketing Division, in association with the Oakland Merchants Leadership Forum and the Office of City Council President Jane Brunner, launched www.OaklandGrown.org, a new buy local campaign and website celebrating businesses and artists unique to Oakland. A central online springboard to locally-owned, independent restaurants, shops and cultural amenities, www.OaklandGrown.org makes it easier than ever for residents and visitors to find great places to eat, shop and explore in Oakland.
The website's EAT Oakland Grown section helps locals keep up with the scores of new restaurants opening up in Oakland's hot dining scene by providing a portal to local media and blogs offering restaurant listings and reviews. The SHOP Oakland Grown section offers quick tips on how to avoid the malls and find great Oakland Grown gifts this holiday season, including listings of events in Oakland's business districts, information on local shopping fairs, and links to shop Oakland directly online. The DO Oakland Grown section highlights events, arts, culture, entertainment and recreation activities during the holidays and year-round.
Oakland Grown.org is being promoted through billboards, posters in store windows, print advertisements and a cool new television spot featuring Oakland's own actor/comedian Mark Curry. Click here to view the Mark Curry spot. Several Oakland notables were on hand for the December 2 official kick off hosted by Council President Brunner at Rockridge Furniture & Design.
Oakland Grown.org is a year-round program of the Oakland Merchants Leadership Forum in association with the City of Oakland. For more information, visit www.OaklandGrown.org.
|Kinetic Arts Center Flips for Oakland|
A new fitness and circus arts education facility, the Kinetic Arts Center, celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, November 7, with a day-long open house. The center offers inspiring circus, physical theatre and fitness programs in a warm, welcoming environment for those at every fitness level. Their West Oakland facility features a 2,600-square-foot circus training floor, 860-square-foot dance and yoga floor and plenty of free parking. 785 Seventh Street, 510.444.4800, www.kineticartscenter.com
|Hodo Soy Beanery Latest Specialty Food Maker to Call Oakland Home|
Hodo Soy Beanery opened its new 10,000-square-foot factory in West Oakland in mid-October. Growing demand at their farmers' market booths and from Bay Area chefs encouraged the company to expand. Relocating its headquarters from San Jose, Hodo Soy Beanery was attracted by the concentration of specialty food makers in Oakland and the city's central location that allows them to provide fresh product to customers throughout the Bay Area. The company produces freshly made organic soymilk, tofu, yuba (tofu skin) and prepared dishes that are sold directly to consumers at Bay Area farmers' markets and distributed wholesale to restaurants, grocery stores and food service operators. Starting in December, Hodo Soy Beanery will begin public tours. Click here to read an article published in the San Francisco Business Times or click here to read the company's media release. 2923 Adeline Street, 510.464.2977, www.hodosoy.com
|Blue Bottle Coffee Brews New Oakland Location, Cafe |
Taking coffee to a higher level of taste, Blue Bottle Coffee Company opened a new roasting production facility and retail shop/coffee bar near Jack London Square in October. The 10,000-square-foot space allows the micro-roaster to keep pace with growing demand from the fine restaurants that have discovered the Blue Bottle difference. While continuing to sell bags of freshly roasted beans at Bay Area farmers' markets, Blue Bottle now sells its beans wholesale to more than 40 Bay Area restaurants as well as nationally recognized culinary hotspots such as Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern in New York City.
The new location will enable the public to purchase beans directly for at-home sipping or get their caffeine fix directly with a freshly brewed, environmentally friendly cup of coffee. The company's tradition of not selling beans more than 48 hours after roasting ensures peak flavor. To learn more about Blue Bottle Coffee's new location, click here
to read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle
or click here
to read SF Weekly
's food blog. 300 Webster Street, 510.653.3394, www.bluebottlecoffee.net
|Citi Trends Opens First Bay Area Store in Oakland|
In mid-October Savannah, Georgia-based retailer Citi Trends opened its first Bay Area retail location in Oakland. The 11,580-square-foot store is located in the Jack London Gateway shopping center. A value-priced retailer offering a great selection of urban brand and fashion apparel for the entire family, Citi Trends provides exceptional value with prices generally 30 to 70 percent below specialty and department store prices. The retailer operates more than 380 stores in 24 states. 900 Market Street, 510.251.9905, www.cititrends.com
|In First Quarter, Oakland Business Assistance Center Assists nearly 600|
The new Oakland Business Assistance Center (BAC) is off to a running start since opening on July 1, 2009. The new, one-stop center has helped 578 business owners and entrepreneurs with information, referrals, guidance and face-to-face case management to help businesses thrive in the East Bay's business capital.
The first-ever, one-stop resource center for business owners, the BAC is a central source of information for starting, relocating or expanding a business in Oakland. The experienced professionals that staff the center have expert knowledge of the business support services offered by the City of Oakland and its nonprofit partners. Assistance is available to help businesses thrive in Oakland regardless of business size or industry sector. One of the primary ways BAC staff has assisted entrepreneurs and business owners is case management services and guidance through complex issues within City government such as zoning variances, permits and business license processes.
To better identify issues and tailor assistance, the BAC encourages clients to use the simple, online assessment form accessible from the BAC's website, www.OaklandBAC.com. In addition to the 10-question assessment form, the website provides a virtual online assistance center accessible 24 hours a day. A public/private partnership between the City of Oakland and OneCalifornia Foundation, the website is packed with how-to information and links to local business service organizations and city, state and federal agencies. The website has been visited more than 1,100 times by 521 unique users in its first quarter of operation.
The center marked its first quarter of operation by holding an official Grand Opening Celebration on October 14, 2009. Mayor Ronald V. Dellums and City Council President Jane Brunner were joined by members of the business community and representatives from local business services organizations. Click here
to read an article about the celebration which appeared in the October 18, 2009 edition of the Oakland Tribune
. 270 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 510.238.7952, www.OaklandBAC.com
|Retailers & Developers Tour Retail Opportunity Sites|
Scores of retailers, commercial developers and real estate brokers toured Oakland for an in-depth look into the city's retail scene during a VIP Retail Tour organized by the Community & Economic Development Agency's Business Development Services unit. The morning tour stretched the breadth of Oakland highlighting many successful shopping districts, upcoming retail destinations and several City-owned parcels ripe for retail development.
A luncheon following the two-and-a-half hour tour included keynote speaker Mike Ghielmetti, president of Signature Properties. Ghielmetti shared his experiences from developing several Oakland projects including the City's streamlined planning process. Click here
to read a blog posting by San Francisco Business Times'
Blanca Torres. Oakland loses about $1 billion in retail sales to neighboring cities annually. Attracting additional retailers means more shopping options for Oakland residents and additional sales tax revenue for the City. This unmet demand for consumer goods, makes Oakland an attractive location for retailers.
|Bayer Retained through Re-designated Oakland Enterprise Zone
Re-designated for another 15 years in January 2008, the Oakland Enterprise Zone provides substantial tax credits and benefits for businesses located within the zone. State tax credits can be taken for the hiring of qualified employees, purchase of qualifying equipment, the depreciation of qualified business real property and against net operating losses. These tax benefits are available to businesses within the zone regardless of industry sector or business size.
In July 2009, Oakland City Council voted to expand the state-designated Oakland Enterprise Zone to include parts of Emeryville and Berkeley. This expansion of the Enterprise Zone was cited as a key factor in Bayer HealthCare's decision to invest more than $100 million to upgrade its manufacturing capabilities at its Berkeley location. On December 1, 2009, the state of California also approved the expansion of the enterprise zone, which means Bayer will benefit from $13.6 million in tax credits. According to Bayer officials, the company purchases $20 million in goods and services annually from other Oakland businesses. Click here
to read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle
. Click here
to read an article from the Oakland Tribune
. To learn more about the tax credits available through the Oakland Enterprise Zone, call 510.238.7794 or visit www.ezoakland.com
|New Shuttle Would Connect Uptown, Jack London Square
Supported by a $997,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's (BAAQMD) Clean Air Transportation Fund Program, a new proposed shuttle service would whisk workers, shoppers and visitors from Jack London Square to the Uptown District. A possible spring 2010 launch would see the shuttle running every 10 to 15 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Slated to go before Oakland City Council's Community and Economic Development Committee on December 15, the shuttle proposal is seen as a convenient connection between Jack London Square's ferry landing and the BART system as well as office complexes in City Center and near Lake Merritt. Stops along the route will enable people to get to the many new restaurants and galleries that pepper downtown Oakland's hot culinary and cultural scene. The shuttle would be operated by AC Transit using small buses. In addition to the BAAQMD grant, the shuttle would be supported financially by the developers of Jack London Square, the Oakland Redevelopment Agency, and the Downtown and Lake Merritt/Uptown community benefit districts. Click here
to read an article on the shuttle that appeared in the San Francisco Business Times
|New Leases Boost Downtown Occupancy|
Oakland's job and tax base recently received a boost with four new downtown leases. First Solar
, which manufactures thin-film solar panels, rented 22,000 square feet at 1111 Broadway for its project development staff in a deal orchestrated by Cushman & Wakefield.
Software company iParadigms LLC
will also locate at 1111 Broadway in 26,000 square feet deal arranged by CB Richard Ellis. iParadigms develops tools to protect written work on the Internet and intellectual property. Engineering firm Bechtel National, Inc.
also worked with CB Richard Ellis to ink a deal for over 24,000 square feet on the 17th floor of the building.
, which develops web-based products to measure the performance of digital media content, moved its San Mateo offices into the Mash building at 428 13th Street.
|Furniture Company Relocation Fuels Fruitvale Corridor|
Blank and Cables
, a high-end residential and commercial furniture design and fabrication firm, has purchased and will rehabilitate the former Cleveland Containers manufacturing facility at Fruitvale Avenue and East 10th Street. They plan to convert the site for multiple uses including 10,000 square feet for product fabrication and the remaining space for new business ventures. The Fruitvale corridor, which connects the Jingletown Estuary area to the BART Transit Village, has been earmarked for streetscape enhancements using Metropolitan Transportation Commission funds.
|Auto-Chlor Invests in Mandela Parkway's Revitalization|
Auto-Chlor, a national leader in the production and installation of low-energy dishwashers, has brought new life to two acres of the old Carnation site at 14th Street and the landscaped Mandela Parkway which replaced the 880 freeway damaged in the 1989 earthquake. The first new industrial complex in West Oakland in 25 years, Auto-Chlor
's East Bay headquarters and operations facility will serve many fine restaurants throughout the Bay Area. The remaining half of the site offers rental facilities for other businesses. Auto-Chlor has previously maintained its local dispatch and equipment operations on nearby Wood Street.
|West Oakland Infrastructure Study Launched|
Solid infrastructure can make all the difference in attracting businesses to a district. With the help of $40,000 in redevelopment funds, CEDA staff has hired BKF Engineering to take a look at the West Oakland industrial district's lighting, street surfacing, sidewalks and public utilities with an eye toward modernizing West Oakland's aging industrial areas on and near Mandela Parkway. City staff held a kick-off and walking tour during the West Oakland Business Alert meeting on October 21, 2009 to solicit input from stakeholders. For details, visit West Oakland Works Business Alert
|Mills College Goes Green!
Students of the Mills College's Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business returned this fall to a striking new building which incorporates green practices throughout. Designed by the architectural firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the building features energy efficient lighting, radiant floor heating, insulated windows, water conservation and a living roof with drought-tolerant plants. The college expects to be awarded gold Leadership certification in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for the building. The Mills College flexible MBA program prepares women to positions of leadership in business. Click here
to read an article in the Globe Newspapers
. To read the official Mills College press release, click here
|Food Scraps Power Bay Area|
Restaurant food scraps that might have been tossed in the garbage may soon help power the San Francisco Bay Area. Scraps collected from 2,300 restaurants and grocery stores in the area are pumped into large tanks at the East Bay Municipal Utility District wastewater treatment plant in Oakland, where the food decomposes and releases methane gas to generate electricity. The utility plans to sell power to the grid starting in 2010 and expects to be able to sell more than 5 megawatts of energy to the local power utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, by the end of that year. Click here
to read an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
|Big Bump in Venture Capital Investment
The third quarter of 2009 saw a significant increase in the flow of venture capital into California's 9th Congressional District. The district, which includes Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont, had 10 deals totaling $111.6 million during the three-month period ending September 30, 2009, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers/Thomson Reuters/NVCA Money Tree Survey. This investment amount represents a 66.5% increase over the same quarter in 2008 and represents more than half of the total investment thus far in 2009.
The Media and Entertainment industry sector was the largest recipient of VC funding with four deals totaling $48 million. Biotechnology was a close second with two deals equaling $41.8 million. Other sectors seeing large injections included Electronics/Instrumentation ($8.6 million), Consumer Products and Services ($6.5 million) and Medical Devices and Equipment ($4.7 million).
In addition to spurring business expansion and job growth for Oakland and East Bay entrepreneurs and residents, this venture capital investment is a strong indication that venture capitalists continue to view Oakland and the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay as a key site for cultivating innovative companies for tomorrow's market. Click here
to view the PricewaterhouseCoopers/Thomson Reuters/NVCA Money Tree Survey report for the third quarter of 2009.
|Oakland Museum Nets $2.5 million National Science Foundation Grant|
The Oakland Museum of California, currently in the midst of a major $56.2 million renovation and expansion, received a vote of confidence from the National Science Foundation in September in the form of a $2.5 million grant to upgrade its Gallery of Natural Sciences. Museum staff plans to use the funds to demonstrate California's biological and geographical diversity and its environmental challenges. Earlier this year, the museum announced $3.1 million in new grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and other sources. Click here to read an article from the Oakland Tribune.
|Voters Approve Tax to Attract Visitors and Enhance City Attractions|
Voters in the City of Oakland gave a resounding thumbs-up to an increase to the city's hotel tax in July, with 76.6% yes votes for the measure. The funds will provide a boost to institutions which attract large numbers of visitors to Oakland, generate employment and provide enrichment for residents. Half of the new 3% tax will benefit the Oakland Convention and Visitors' Center, with the remaining half split equally between the Oakland Zoo, Oakland Museum of California, Chabot Space and Science Center and the City's cultural arts programs and festivals. Learn more in this pre-election article in the San Francisco Business Times or from the City's Tax Compliance Section at 510.238.3704.
|Building Permit Activity Remains Solid
While the economy has sputtered for much of the 2009, there are some bright signs based on the building permit activity registered by CEDA's Permit Counter. Nearly 10,400 building permits were issued in the first 10 months with a valuation of more than $209 million. This figure includes 83 residential buildings representing 260 new units valued at nearly $51 million as well as more than $84 million in commercial and industrial construction. The balance of nearly $74 million represents improvements to existing residential buildings. Quarterly totals are $46.7 million for January-March, $55 million for April-June, $65.8 million for July-September and $41.6 million for October.
|New California Economic Index shows Recession Easing
If Comerica Bank's newly configured monthly economic index unveiled in September is correct, there's good news ahead for Californians - the state is starting to climb out of the recession. The new California Monthly Economic Index takes a novel approach to evaluating economic shifts by using measures that typically show improvements sooner than unemployment figures - which are usually the last to rise when a recession ends. Because the index tracks measures such as tourism, retail sales based on monthly tax collections and exports based on shipment tracking through the Port of Los Angeles, some economists believe the report may present a more accurate reflection of the state's progress. Click here
to read an article on sfgate.com. To read an an article from Earth Times
, click here.
|Growth Continues in Oakland/Bay Area|
Growth trends indicate that the Bay Area will add 1.7 million additional people during the next 25 years - with 141,000 of them calling the City of Oakland home. That's according to the newly published Projections and Priorities 2009: Building Momentum, a biennial publication of the Association of Bay Area Governments. The publication forecasts population, employment, income and households for each county in the wider Bay Area in five-year increments until 2035. The labor force and age projections provide valuable insight into the region's economy. Highlights of the publication were featured at a workshop in Oakland on August 28th before community, political and business leaders. Click here to see an article from the San Francisco Chronicle. To purchase the report, click here.
One Toyota of Oakland and One Workplace photos by Victor J. London Photography. Walter Cohen, Blue Bottle Coffee, Citi Trends, Business Assistance Center Grand Opening, Retail Tour, Blank and Cables and Auto-Chlor photos by Nathanael Bennett Photography. Uptown Unveiled photo by Auintard Henderson. Museum gardens photo courtesy of Oakland Museum of California.
Opportunities is an electronic newsletter published by the Community and Economic Development Agency (CEDA). CEDA is an umbrella organization responsible for the full spectrum of development related services including Planning and Zoning, Building Services, Economic Development, Redevelopment, Housing and Community Development and Design and Construction.
Walter Cohen, Agency Director
Eric Angstadt, Deputy Director of Planning & Zoning
Ray Derania, Deputy Director of Building Services
Gregory Hunter, Deputy Director of Economic Development & Redevelopment
Jeff Levin, Acting Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development
Mike Neary, Deputy Director of Design & Construction Services
Gary Patton, Deputy Director of Major Projects
NEED HELP WITH? CONTACT
Business Development Coordinator Aliza Gallo 510.238.7405
Retail, Restaurant and Entertainment Keira Williams 510.238.3853
Ben Weber 510.238.7087
Office/International Trade Deborah Acosta 510.238.7090
Industrial & Brownfields Margot Lederer Pardo 510.238.6766
Zach Seal 510.238.2937
Recycling Programs/Green Business Steve Lautze 510.238.4973
Business Improvement and Maria Rocha 510.238.6176
Enterprise Zone* Susana Villarreal 510.238.7794
Business Financing Lisa Brown 510.238.2064
Creative Arts and Media Samee Roberts 510.238.2136
Small Business Services Michael McPherson 510.238.4727
Business Retention Roberto Costa 510.238.2353
*(Hiring tax credits and tax credits for equipment purchases)
Community and Economic Development Agency
City of Oakland
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza #3315
Oakland CA 94612