Uptown & Downtown Community Benefit Districts See New Businesses Strengthen Community and Provide Jobs

Non-profit Business Migration Trend Continues to Oakland

Oakland, CA – April 17, 2014 – In the past several months, the Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown business improvement districts have welcomed several new businesses, including a number of non-profit firms which have migrated from other neighboring cities.  Total square footage of the leases runs just shy of 100,000 SF.  

Commenting on recent activity on behalf of the Lake Merritt/Uptown & Downtown Oakland CBD Broker Focus Group, John Dolby, Senior Vice President of Cassidy Turley, said, “The movement of non-profits to Oakland is not surprising -- especially given the space availability, cheap office rents in comparison to San Francisco, BART access and business. In fact, we expect to welcome more business concentrations into our Uptown and Downtown neighborhoods and it is very exciting to see this broad brush of tenants coming to downtown and the creativity they are bringing.  We anticipate seeing more relocations, not only from San Francisco but from Contra Costa also.”

Businesses who have expanded their space or relocated to Uptown/Downtown Oakland, include:

  • Self Aware Games (Big Fish Games) signed a 20,755 SF lease (they are expanding and relocating within Uptown to 1999 Harrison St.
  • GreatSchools signed a 14,286 SF lease at 1999 Harrison. This non-profit relocated from San Francisco.
  • Oakland School for the Arts signed a lease at the historic Sweet's Ballroom at 1933 Broadway for 12,000 SF and will use the space as a performance center featuring young artists in their theater and music productions and other special programs.
  • Union of Concerned Scientists signed a lease at 500 12th Street for 6,500 SF; this non-profit migrated from Berkeley.
  • Spot Labs Inc., providers of the NV cloud platform, signed a lease at 2030 Franklin for 6,000 SF; they migrated from Emeryville.
  • Yaron & Associates, a law firm, signed a 6,000 SF lease at 1300 Clay Street; they migrated from San Francisco.
  • New Leaders, Inc., trainer of school leaders, signed a lease at 505 14th Street for 5,000 SF; this non-profit migrated from San Francisco.
  • State Farm, an insurance agency, signed a lease at 1901 Harrison for 4,300 SF.
  • Muslim Advocates signed a lease at 1333 Broadway for 4,000 SF; this non-profit migrated from San Francisco.
  • Chloe and Isabel, a lifestyle brand, signed a lease at 360 17th for 3,000 SF; they also migrated from San Francisco.
  • Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment signed a 2,330 SF lease at 1999 Harrison, this non-profit will be relocating from San Francisco on April 30th.
  • Bill Baren Coaching signed a lease at 1440 Broadway for 2,000 SF; they migrated from San Francisco.
  • The Port Bar (Sean Sullivan) signed a lease at 2021 Broadway for 2,000 SF.
  • Tierra Mia Coffee signed a lease for ground floor space at the I Magnin Building for 2,000 SF.
  • The Octopus Literacy Salon signed a lease at 2100 Webster for 1,600 SF.
  •  Yummee Ice Cream & Pastries signed a lease at 2131 Broadway.
  • Embrace Networks signed a lease at 1440 Broadway for 1,500 SF; this non-profit migrated from San Francisco.
  • Maki Waki Sushi signed a lease at Plaza 360 22nd Street for 1,400 SF.
  • Manifesta, a new organic hair salon, signed a 1,300 SF lease at 8831 Broadway.
  • AppSmyth, a new tech start-up, signed a 1,000 SF lease at 475 14th Street.
  • E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Book Store signed a lease at 410 13th for 750 SF.
  • Accidentally Extraordinary, a new independent headphone brand, signed an approximate 150 SF lease on Webster Street. 

“These new businesses will be able to utilize many new neighborhood improvements that have been sponsored by the Lake Merritt/Uptown & Downtown Oakland District Associations,” said Steve Snider, Lake Merritt/Uptown and Downtown Oakland District Manager.  Recent improvements lead by the districts include the Latham Square pedestrian plazaback of BART planter boxes, newly landscaped street medians, BigBelly trash compactors and other community improvements.


The Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown District Associations were formed in February 2009. Property owners in both Downtown Oakland and the Lake Merritt/Uptown Districts voted by a margin of almost 8 to 1 to support a voluntary property tax to fund services that would improve the quality of life in their respective communities. The associations meet and function jointly. Services funded by these Districts include maintaining cleanliness and order in the public rights of way, improving district identity and advocating on behalf of the area’s property owners, business owners and residents.  In June 2013, the districts were recognized by the International Downtown Association (IDA) and named the IDA’s June 2013 Downtown of the Month.


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