Friday, May 22, 2015

And They Wonder Why Progress Never Seems to Get Off the Ground in Oakland

In March, SFgate ran this headline:
1 Building Symbolizes Oakland’s Transformation

SFgate went on to report:
 The Sears building — a vacant, beige hulk of a structure at 20th Street and Broadway in Oakland — has long symbolized the city’s drab downtown corridor.
Now it’s the barometer for an economic boom.
Developer Lane Partners of Menlo Park is transforming the 400,000-square-foot structure into an office and retail complex with a specialty market on its ground floor — the kind of upscale place being counted on to attract gastronomes, techies and 9-to-5ers.

Then there was this report later in the month:
An ambitious new specialty market is coming to the ground floor of the former Sears building in Uptown Oakland.
Newberry Market & Deli is being billed as the anchor tenant for the ground floor of the Uptown Station project at 20th Street and Broadway. The 400,000 square foot mixed retail and office building is being redeveloped by Lane Partners, along with architecture firm Gensler, in the hopes of luring San Francisco and Silicon Valley-style tech companies and becoming an economic base for the area.

It is important to know that the developer is a serious player in Silicon Valley.

Lane Partners bought, for example, a two building project of 300,000 square feet, in late 2009 from Symantec Corporation. After completing  improvements, Lane negotiated the lease of the entire project to Apple.

The architect for the Oakland project is Gensler. Gensler was named as one of the top 20 architecture firms in the world by the Engineering News-Record out of 500 firms ranked.

The Shanghai Tower "A Crown For The City's Futuristic Skyline" was their project.

Shanghai Tower

San Francisco Business Times reports this about the office space section of the building:
Two large technology companies have submitted proposals to take over the entire building that used to house Sears in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood, giving the creative space a promising leasing start.
Contacts tell me that one of the companies is Google.

Work started on the building, about two months ago. How is it going, with the impressive developer, architect and exciting tenants?

This appeared on the building today:

Some Oakland city bureaucrat has stopped work on the project. The reason for the stoppage is unclear, but that's how things roll in the low rent city across the bay from San Francisco.


Update: New details here.


  1. Great dramatic build and denouement, RW!
    Such a sad ending. I'm too tired to be angry, though. Maybe that's how they win. Just the steady drip drip of petty outrages.

  2. Apparently, not enough bribes to the bureaucrats

  3. "If ordinary people, endowed with neither rights nor powers over our fellows, began to behave on a daily basis the way the people in government behave, then the world would be in flames. We would have a reign of terror in which ordinary people went from house to house, took what they wanted, and proclaimed that their “need” justified their performance." - Robert LeFevre

  4. Progressives are a cargo cult building building airports from straw.

  5. @Mace,

    I've dealt with these types of bureaucrats before, but on a much smaller scale. I tend to doubt it has to do with insufficient ... ahem ... monetary incentives. More likely insufficient showing of respect and cowtowing..