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OP-ED: New Businesses and Construction Are Transfo...

OP-ED: New Businesses and Construction Are Transforming West Oakland

 

Many people are aware of Oakland’s growing restaurant industry. However, Oakland is becoming the center of more upstream food production.

With transportation access and empty warehouse space and transportation access, West Oakland is attracting new food production companies.

In the past, sausage and meat packing companies lined Adeline Street. Now, Hodo Soy Beanery occupies 20,000-square-feet on Adeline, producing soy products for restaurants including Chipotle.

The company employs 65 people and is growing.

Sweet Maria’s, a green coffee bean wholesaler, produces and distributes coffee throughout the country. Organic candy bar maker Ocho Candy on Adeline makes healthy candy bars, employing 55 workers.

Housing is driving construction in the West Oakland. Wood Street area is heating up after the housing construction downturn. City ventures will start construction for 171 townhouses and commercial condos.

Bridge Housing has development rights for the 16th Street train station and is in negotiations with Orton development for a usability plan.

Holiday development has entitlements to build 230 apartments next to the train station and final discussions regarding the construction and phase-in. BART is getting into the act, working with developers on a transit-oriented, mixed-use development on its 7th Street parking lots.

This type of development is badly needed in West Oakland because it addresses the twin problems of jobs and housing for the area. West Oakland is full of empty land that can be better utilized with business producing jobs and new housing.

Some people are quick to wave the scare tactic flag of gentrification. Nothing can be further from the truth. First, this is a new development built on vacant land. It creates jobs and housing for all Oakland citizens, current and new

In addition, all areas evolve and change. Prior to World War II, West Oakland was filled with ethnic European immigrants. They were displaced by Blacks who came to work in the shipyards during World War II. Evolution is necessary to maintain the vibrancy of a neighborhood and attract and retain businesses and residents.

Of course, West Oakland is not the only area moving forward. The MacArthur BART development is moving ahead. The parking structure is near completion. The remaining parking lot will contain 624 new units of housing

Clinton Killian

Clinton Killian

The Lake Merritt BART parking lot and the surrounding land in all directions are attracting development interest. This area can create a more dense neighborhoods, filled with new residents and businesses to generate Oakland jobs and housing.

In the coming weeks, I will look at other changes coming to Oakland. . The task of rebuilding neighborhoods and creating badly needed jobs and housing has started.

Our new mayor and new council leadership will energize the rebuilding and repopulating of Oakland.

Clinton Killian is an attorney at Oakland downtown law firm Fried & Williams LLP and former public official. He can be reached at ckillian@friedwilliams.com.

 


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