Opportunities Masthead
In this issue...
Partnerships Bring Resources, Jobs and Economic Vitality
Oakland's Green Credentials Multiply
National Retailers call Oakland Home
Oakland Among Top 15 U.S. Retail Markets
Sales Tax Revenue Grows in 12 Districts
Three Oakland Projects Selected as Winning Real Estate Deals
Dining Scene Continues to Dazzle
Symposium Offers Scores of Workshops
Bright Spots in Oakland's Industrial, Retail Leasing
Trade & Logistics: Welcome Signs in Port's Container Shipping
Local Real Estate Projects Span City
Business Spotlight: XEODesign
CEDA Surveys Business Community
Oakland Business Assistance Center Helps over 2,100
Building Permit Activity Remains Solid
County Program Subsidizes Employee Wages

Spring 2010

In an effort to bring you the latest Economic Development news quickly and efficiently, we have adopted 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.
Partnerships Bring Resources, Jobs and Economic Vitality
Photo of CEDA Director Walter Cohen
With Mayor Dellums leading the charge, we are hard at work leveraging resources to boost our economic health and position Oakland for growth as the economy rebounds. Oakland has become a model for the region - and nation - for partnerships that are bringing significant new dollars, jobs and economic vitality. Buoyed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in private investment and more federal stimulus dollars than any city in the West, Oakland is building a foundation for the future that focuses on generating jobs for local residents through sound, sustainable economic development. Let's take a look at some of the key investment paving the way for a bright future for Oakland:    
  • The Gateway Development Project, a bold, unified vision to redevelop the former Oakland Army Base, revitalize the Oakland waterfront and enhance the Port of Oakland as a major center for international trade. Last month, we convened our first MegaRegion Summit that brought together elected officials and industry leaders from all over California to help shape our Port's future as a global leader in goods movement. 
  • A $500 million agreement with Ports America to upgrade marine terminal facilities, create more than 6,000 new jobs and preserve 85,000 regional jobs - fueling the Port as the economic engine of the region.  
  • Mayor Dellums' Oakland Partnership, which has brought together leaders from business, labor, philanthropy, academia and non-profit communities, recently launched "Putting Oaklanders to Work," a comprehensive program capitalizing on the nearly $200 million Oakland is receiving in federal stimulus funds to create 5,000 new jobs over the next three years. 
  • $40 million in state energy grants to improve the environment, create jobs and support business growth in green technology. 
  • A $600,000 Congressional allocation for the East Bay Green Jobs Corridor and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to support training programs for low-income residents.
These and other initiatives make Oakland a great place in which to invest both now and in the future. I welcome you to learn more about our efforts in the pages that follow. Every day, I continue to see a wonderful city brewing!
Walter Cohen
Director, Community and Economic Development Agency
City of Oakland
Oakland's Green Credentials Multiply
The City of Oakland continues to serve as a national model for green business and is ranked among the top 15 green economies and most sustainable cities in the United States. The city's green credentials will receive another boost from an influx of stimulus dollars awarded by the California Energy Commission worth more than $40 million for businesses and residents in the area who initiate clean energy programs (more details at the City's website). 
Oakland was ranked second in the nation in Cushman & Wakefield's Green Building Opportunity Index which is the first office market assessment tool to provide weighted comparisons on the basis of both real estate fundamentals and green development considerations. 
Photo of 1111 Broadway in Oakland, Calif.On the solar front, Oakland's BrightSource Energy scored $1.37 billion in federal loan backing in February to build solar-thermal plants in the Mojave Desert using mirrors to focus sunlight and generate electricity. Fast-growing residential solar firm Sungevity plans to move its headquarters to Jack London Square for its central location and access to public transit, proximity to restaurants and amenities and reasonable leasing rates.

Oakland-based Renewable Funding plans to launch pilot solar funding programs this summer in 14 counties and 80 cities in the state to enable residents who can't afford the up-front costs of a solar system to borrow from an assessment district and pay the loan back on their property tax over time. 
Shorenstein Properties recently earned LEED Gold certification for a second time in downtown Oakland, this time for 1111 Broadway in the City Center office complex. And the soon-to-open Jack London Market, centerpiece of the Jack London Square redevelopment project, received LEED Silver, according to owners Ellis Partners LLC and Transbay Holdings.
Ian Kim, who directs a green jobs program for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, recently spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about how Oakland is well positioned to play a major role in implementing green solutions.
National Retailers Call Oakland Home
One Toyota of Oakland opened near Interstate 880 and Hegenberger Road in February at the former site of Superior Toyota, bringing more signs of life to Oakland's economic recovery. And national retailer Target plans to open in 2011 in North Oakland at 1555 40th Street after making significant improvements to the site that formerly housed a Depot Expo Design Center.
Metropolitan Oakland Among Top 15 U.S. Retail Markets
Per Marcus & Millichap 2010 Retail Markets ranking, the Oakland metro area is one of the top 15 Retail Markets. Overall the 15 cities demonstrate the power of urban sites for retailers.

Chart showing the top 15 Retail Markets in the U.S.

Sales Tax Revenue Grows in 12 Districts
Though the recession continues into its third year, sales tax revenue growth was reported in 12 retail districts throughout Oakland for the third quarter of 2009 - the latest quarter available - when compared with the third quarter of 2008. Districts reporting sales tax revenue growth were a geographically varied group: Coliseum Shoreline, 7th Street in West Oakland, Chinatown and Adams Point as well as Lincoln Square, Dimond, 23rd Avenue, Lakeshore, Temescal, Bret Harte and nodes along MacArthur Boulevard between 73rd and 82nd Avenues. In the same quarter, electronics/appliance stores and health/medical supplies experienced growth as well. Third quarter 2009 is expected to be the last quarter of double digit decreases as the recession begins to bottom out.
Three Oakland Projects Selected as Winning Real Estate Deals
Oakland made a strong showing in the San Francisco Business Times' Real Estate Deals of the Year with three projects being selected as category winners and four being noted as finalists.
The $686 million deal between the Port of Oakland and Ports America was chosen as the Best Infrastructure/Public-Private deal for 2009. The 50-year deal calls for New Jersey-based Ports America to operate Berths 20-24 until 2059. 
Interior photo of the Lake Chalet in Oakland CalifThe Lake Chalet, one of several new Oakland restaurants that have garnered national attention, was selected as Best Restaurant deal. The century-old historic building on the shores of Lake Merritt has been transformed into a charming 325-seat restaurant with stunning views.
Taking the Best Affordable Residential / East Bay deal award was Bridge Housing's Ironhorse at Central Station. This 99-unit affordable housing project is part of a development plan to transform the area around the historic 16th Street train station with 1,500 units of housing.
The four other noteworthy Oakland projects were selected as finalists including the Best Bargain: 901 Jefferson Street; Best Office Lease / Inner East Bay: Kaiser Permanente; Best Market-Rate Residential / Outside San Francisco: The Ellington; and Best Public / Cultural / Health: Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College.
Dining Scene Continues to Dazzle
Vibrant nightlife around the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif.Oakland's booming restaurant scene continues to garner national and regional attention. February's issue of Sunset magazine tempts readers to explore Oakland eateries, clubs and cultural events in the evolving neighborhoods of Uptown, Jack London Square and Lake Merritt. The Wall Street Journal notes that popular Uptown restaurant Flora now draws the business lunch crowd as well as those attending events at the nearby renovated Fox Theater. Oakland nightlife received yet another lift with the openings of Beer Revolution and Era Art Bar and Lounge. Era is the latest venture of Old Oakland's Alfonso Dominguez of Tamarindo Antojeria and FiveTen Studio, Kevin Best of B Restaurant and Bar and Gairy Jacques of Air Lounge.  And Linden Street Brewery is up and running bringing handcrafted production brewing back to Oakland and supplying local brews to many Bay Area pubs.
Reflecting at year's end, San Francisco Chronicle'srestaurant reviewer Michael Bauer opined that "2009 will go down as the year Oakland blazed its own culinary trail, with the opening of such places as Ozumo, Sidebar, Adesso, Barlata, Pican, Commis, Lake Chalet and Bocanova. Plus, there's more to come in 2010." On a related note, The Wall Street Journal calls the Michelin-star anointed restaurant Commis "stirringly imaginative" in its January 29 review. And for those with a sweet tooth, Oakland-based I-Li Chang's one-woman company Vice Chocolates was featured in national magazine Epicurious just before Valentine's Day, with vivid descriptions of the small batch truffles and bars she makes from Venezuelan fair trade chocolate.
Symposium Offers Scores of Workshops
The City of Oakland's 8th Small Business Symposium will be held on May 28, 2010, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This intensive one-day symposium is packed with nearly three dozen workshops designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Exciting new classes including a Video Production workshop and Urban Farming class as well as an entire track of classes for Restaurant operators have been added to the 2010 Symposium schedule. Experts provide insight into topics ranging from starting a business to greening your business and improving sales. Registration includes a keynote address by a prominent business leader. The symposium is presented by the Office of Councilmember Larry Reid and the City of Oakland's Community and Economic Development Agency. Register online at www.oaklandsmallbusiness.com beginning on April 30 or request an application be mailed to you by providing your name, complete mailing address and daytime telephone number via e-mail to smallbusiness@oaklandnet.com or via voice message at (510) 986-2855.
May 28, 2010
8th Small Business Symposium
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, downtown Oakland
Free admission. Advance registration required.
Bright Spots in Oakland's Industrial, Retail Leasing
Top Leases of 2009-10 for Industrial Space:  Although net absorption has been negative for several quarters, Oakland's 6% vacancy rate for industrial and flex space continues to be among the lowest in the Bay Area due to its proximity to the Port of Oakland and freeway access.   
  • Excel Direct (industrial electronics): New Lease, 100,800 SF, 1st quarter 2010, 7240 Edgewater Drive
  • Agribag, Inc. (corporate HQ - bag manufacturer): Purchased 48,000 SF building and moved in March 2010, located at 3925 Alameda Avenue
  • Revolution Foods, Inc. (corporate HQ - food preparation): New Lease of 25,000 SF, moved in April 2009, located at 8383 Capwell Drive
  • Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (freight transportation): Purchased 23,390 SF building, moved in February 2009, located at 8300 Pardee Drive
  • One Workplace (B2B furniture sales): New Lease of 18,000 SF, moved in January 2009, located at 7200-7240 Edgewater Drive.
  Industrial leasing activity for Oakland, Calif. from Q2 2007 to Q2 2010
Top Leases of 2009-10 for Retail Space: Although Oakland experienced a net loss of retail space in the early quarters of 2009, its healthy surge of new restaurants, combined with a few key retail leases, has resulted in a positive net absorption of retail space, expected to continue through 2010.   
  • One Toyota (car sales): New Purchase, 189,000 SF, moved February 2010, 8181 Oakport Street
  • CitiTrends Inc. (retail apparel): New Lease, 15,500 SF, moved in October 2009, 900 Market Street in Jack London Gateway
  • Piedmont Piano Company (retail piano sales): New lease, 13,670 SF, moved in August 2009, 1728 San Pablo Avenue
  • Lake Chalet Restaurant: New Lease, 9,216 SF, moved in February 2009, 1520 Lakeside Drive.
  Retail leasing activity in Oakland, Calif. Q2 2007 to Q2 2010 
Trade & Logistics: Welcome Signs in Port's Container Shipping
Oakland's central Bay Area location and busy Port give the city a vital role as the region's economic engine specializing in trade and logistics. The City, Port and Metropolitan Chamber hosted the MegaRegion Summit on March 26th which brought together a dynamic group of industry and government leaders involved in goods-movement to discuss trade opportunities with a special focus on how Oakland's port and the development of the nearby Oakland Army Base can stimulate international trade.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Port of Oakland has fareImage truck exiting Port of Oakland, Calif.d better than its rival west coast ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Seattle, thanks to improvements made by the Port earlier this decade. The Port's loaded outbound containers rose 3.9% for the first 11 months of 2009, and inbound containers fell less sharply than Los Angeles or Long Beach. The Port ended the year with an upsurge in imported goods during December 2009, handling 17.9 percent more imported cargo containers than during December 2008.
And the good news at the Port continues with the San Francisco Business Times reporting that the Port sees a surge in air passenger and sea cargo volumes
Port truck drivers avoided a strike and gained new funds for diesel soot filters in December when Mayor Ron Dellums, the California Air Resources Board, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Port of Oakland set aside an additional $11 million in grants for drivers to help clean up 1300 trucks over the next four months. And a rail upgrade by Union Pacific Railroad in the Sierras has ensured speedier travel of double-stacked trains across the Donner Pass on their way to Chicago from the Port of Oakland.
Local Real Estate Projects Span City
In other Oakland development news, a recently approved $125,000 study will consider whether the Oakland Coliseum can host two football teams, and thus could result in a shared home for the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. The study will look at costs, funding sources and potential revenue and assumes that little or no public money will be available. 
In residential markets, Oakland developer John Protopappas of Madison Park Financial Corp. got funding to buy a 73-unit apartment building at 901 Jefferson Street. Protopappas notes lenders are showing more confidence this year, although investors still have to invest substantial equity to complete a deal. Business Wire reports that a milestone was recently reached when high-end Jack London Square condominium complex The Ellington closed on the first sale of a condominium over a million dollars in Oakland since 2008. And Eight Orchids, a 157-unit condo development at Broadway and 7th Streets continues to fill, with just thirty units remaining for sale as of March.
Image of Jack London Market in Oakland, Calif.Commercial and residential projects in Oakland made the San Francisco Business Times' list of projects closest to reality in the East Bay, including the $350 million development at Jack London Square where developers Ellis Partners and Transbay Partners have a 100,000-square-foot office building ready for tenants and the 72,000-square-foot Jack London Market is slated to open in 2010. Also mentioned was the Central Station development, where Bridge Housing is adding 99 affordable units and where developers Rick Holliday and Pulte Homes have built projects.
The bustling Fruitvale district continues to attract development dollars: Developer Bill Phua of Urban Land LLC is finishing up a shopping center at 41st and International Boulevard, and a block away a two-story mixed-use complex is taking shape. As early as next year, the Unity Council and Signature Properties expect to start building the 275-unit second phase of the transit-oriented Fruitvale Village project. And downtown, the 64-room Clarion Hotel has opened, offering business-friendly services and amenities.
Business Spotlight: XEODesign
As Founder and President of Oakland's XEODesign, Nicole Lazzaro appreciates the value of fun, simple curiosity and a sense of wonder. Her company, the world's first player experience design and usability consulting firm and the leading researcher on the emotion of games, consults with companies to help them maximize the fun players will have with the games they develop. 
Lazzaro was recently featured in Fast Company magazine, where she discusses how gamers play differently on the iPhone, and how that led her to design Tilt, the first iPhone accelerometer game. Tilt players simply rotate the phone to play a simple social game starring eco-hero Flip, who takes steps to restore the disappearing forest. Through games such as these with environmental themes, Lazzaro hopes to deliver an experience of social change within the context of a fun game that players will translate into constructive action in the real world.
CEDA Surveys Business Community to Identify Business Retention Opportunities
Business owners - share your opinions and concerns with us! The 17th Annual Business Survey, conducted by the Community and Economic Development Agency, intends to assess the opinions of Oakland businesses, beginning with the commercial-industrial sector, to identify business retention opportunities.
The annual survey poses questions about challenges Oakland businesses have faced over the last year relative to employee attraction, retention and training; regulatory barriers; and other key measures. Business owner feedback is critical to help the City of Oakland adopt policies and offer services to help local businesses grow, prosper and thrive. 
Click here to take the survey. Watch future issues of Opportunities for reports on survey findings.
Oakland Business Assistance Center Helps over 2,100
The new Oakland Business Assistance Center is having a big impact on the Oakland business community. Since its July 1 opening, the first-ever, one-stop business resource center has helped more than 2,100 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. 270 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 510.238.7952, www.OaklandBAC.com

Logo for the Oakland Business Assistance Center

Building Permit Activity Remains Solid 
Calendar year 2009 saw more than $255.8 million in building permits issued by the City of Oakland. The fourth quarter ended strongly with 34.5% of the dollar value of 2009 permits issued in that time period.  

Building Permits issued in Oakland, Calif. in 2009

Data suggests that this upswing in construction activity may be continuing into 2010. The dollar value of permits issued in the first three months of 2010 is up 17% compared to the same period in 2009.

It should also be noted that the 2009 and 2010 permit valuation figures do not include construction projects such as the $682 million project to replace the acute care tower at Highland Hospital and the $1.1 billion Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and related buildings.
County Program Subsidizes Employee Wages
Logo for the Alameda County HIRE programAre you looking to hire new staff, but your budget is tight? AC Hire, a new program by the Alameda County Social Services Agency, reimburses employers who hire eligible job seekers. Employers receive 80 percent of the employee's wages from date of hire until September 30, 2010 plus 80 percent of the employer's costs for Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes. That's like getting a full-time staffer at only 20 percent of costs. 
Participating businesses collaborate with Alameda County staff dedicated to meeting your employment needs and refer pre-qualified candidates to you at no obligation. If you hire an eligible employee, you will receive a monthly wage reimbursement within five days of submitting your invoice. County staff can also determine if a job seeker you want to hire meets the eligibility requirements.
Eligible job seekers must be from a needy Alameda County family defined as CalWORKs recipients, families with income below 200 percent of poverty ($2,429 monthly income for a family of two) or non-custodial parents with income below 200 percent of poverty ($1,805 per month for an individual).
Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the program's purpose is to put Alameda County residents to work and stimulate the local economy.
For more information, visit the AC Hire Web site, e-mail ACHIRE@acgov.org or call (510) 670-5514.
Photo Credits
Walter Cohen and Lake Chalet photos by Nathanael Bennett Photography. Fox Theatre photo by Auintard Henderson.
Helpful Links
About Opportunities

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
Michele Byrd, Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development
Ray Derania, Deputy Director of Building Services
Gregory Hunter, Deputy Director of Economic Development & Redevelopment
Mike Neary, Deputy Director of Design & Construction Services
Business Development CoordinatorAliza Gallo 510.238.7405
Business FinancingLisa Brown 510.238.2064
Business Improvement and Maria Rocha 510.238.6176
Community Benefit Districtsmrocha@oaklandnet.com
Business RetentionRoberto Costa 510.238.2353
Creative Arts and MediaSamee Roberts 510.238.2136
Enterprise Zone Tax Credit ProgramSusana Villarreal 510.238.7794
Industrial & BrownfieldsMargot Lederer Prado 510.238.6766
Zach Seal 510.238.2937
Office/International TradeDeborah Acosta 510.238.7090
Recycling Programs/Green BusinessSteve Lautze 510.238.4973
Retail, Restaurant and Entertainment Keira Williams 510.238.3853
Small Business ServicesMichael McPherson 510.238.4727
Community and Economic Development Agency
City of Oakland
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza #3315
Oakland CA 94612