downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Posts from — May 2009

A few things to read about downtown Oaktown

May 15, 2009

In case you missed them.

Mignonne, an Old Oakland boutique featuring vintage and French housewares, furniture, and gifts, is moving to West Berkeley. This weekend the shop holds a moving sale, at 10th and Jefferson across from Lafayette Square Park. Other shopping opportunities include a new gallery in Uptown, and 17th St has been on the upswing this year. A recent business article reports that Oakland’s retail vacancy rate is much lower than the national average. Of course, it’s hard to subtract from zero.

Much was made of an empty Uptown lot where pedestrian advocates successfully delayed a plan to build a parking lot. The alternative, integrating the lot into the Uptown Unveiled public-art program, must be ruled feasible by Tuesday for it to proceed. Meanwhile, here in Old Oakland we have our own empty lot, the site of a high-rise office tower known as 601 City Center. Unlike the Uptown lot, construction started and then stalled, leaving a huge hole in the ground. But Oakland and the developer, Shorenstein, have agreed to, among other things, create a “a public art program to increase the attractiveness of the security fencing.” Funny that just a few weeks ago city staff argued that decorating construction fences with art is unattractive!

The East Bay Express reviews Pican, which, alongside Ozumo, is fast-becoming a premiere destination for its California-meets-Atlanta cuisine, epansive bourbon selection, and warmly handsome interior decor. The Coco Times reviews Banyan 14, while Becks reviews nice outdoor spots downtown for this beautiful weather.

An SFer posted a sweet blog about how much he (or she) likes working in the DTO, which to him feels like a secret. One reason we’re not seeing new highrises like 601 City Center or 1100 Broadway being built is that, despite the low vacancy rate, there aren’t new tenants moving into the market (and a source reports that Kaiser is consolidating at lot of its operations to Pleasanton). But big block of space was just leased: a “neutral” office for BART to conduct its negotations with its union.

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DTO Reading File: It's all good news

May 8, 2009

On this second Friday of the month, sunny downtown Oakland may not be hosting a big art walk or a restaurant opening, but there is much to read about the DTO on this beautiful day.

Dashe and JC Cellars, local urban wineries, are profiled in AppellationAmerica.com. Taste their wines at their shared warehouse, or at next week’s Oakland Indie Awards.

Bloggers, contributors, commenters and readers enjoyed meeting each other at one of Uptown’s hottest spots last week. Read Zennie’s take on the party, and the neighborhood.

A Chronicle food critic blogs that “it’s happening in Oakland,” about the recent spate of high-quality restaurant openings. Four of his favorites are downtown. OaklandGoods visits a new favorite, Pican, and an old favorite, the Paramount Movie Classics.

Many activists are quite pleased that the City Council gave public art a crack at using a prominent Uptown lot instead of car parking. Stay up to date on the two-week process by keeping an eye on the blogs.

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland posts the progress on Lake Merritt improvements as reported by Councilmember Pat Kernighan. Now that the rainy season is ending, the long-promised paths and bike lanes around our crown jewel are ready to be poured!

The Chronicle profiles Anthony Holdsworth, chronicler of a changing downtown in pastel. See his triptych of 14th and Broadway in the lobby of Oakland’s City Administration Building, 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Nice to know, the reader may think, but what am I doing tonight? Three downtown events stand out tonight, Friday May 8. The Franklin Square Wine Bar is hosting one-dollar tasting flights of Italian wines on their lovely plaza. With two weeks until their cabaret license may be suspended, tonight at Oasis may be a last chance to dance to reggae, dancehall, and techno. And at Café Van Kleef tonight, West Oakland horns-driven outfit Damon and the Heathens will perform danceable funk with plenty of local references. But with Uptown, Old Oakland and Chinatown all offering a variety of walkable dining and entertainment options, it’s easy to come downtown without a plan! See you on the sidewalk.

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