Once considered the forgotten city by the bay, Oakland has seen in recent years a resurgence in new building development thanks to the sky-high real estate rates in San Francisco and a favorable political environment, led by Mayor Jerry Brown.
A number of developers, such as San Francisco-based Simeon Commercial Properties, have jumped over the bay to try their luck in Oakland. 'Oakland has seen a rebirth in the last five years, thanks in part, to the Internet and media industries using all the space in San Francisco,' says J. Russell Pitto, CEO of Simeon. 'Oakland's amenity package of mass transit, accessible freeways, reasonable rents and affordable housing makes the city a desirable location for businesses.'
Simeon is spearheading the latest development in Oakland, the $650 million, 1.3 million-sq.-ft. Metroport office, hotel and retail complex, which is near Oakland International Airport. Upon approval from the Port of Oakland, construction will begin sometime in the middle of 2002. 'This major project will also incorporate a train station and is right off the freeway,' Pitto adds.
Downtown, another significant project will be completed next year. The seven-building, 2 million-sq.-ft. Oakland City Center office park is being developed by San Francisco-based Shorenstein Co. The seventh building, 555 City Center, will be completed in March of 2002. The project also includes three additional development sites that can support 1.5 million square feet of new construction.