downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — construction

A new season brings new beginnings

April 8, 2011

The area north of Uptown, controversially called Upper Broadway, is set for a major makeover into a hoped-for retail district. A coalition of advocates for livability, affordable housing, labor rights and the environment outlined their vision for A Better Broadway in Upper Uptown last night. City planners announced to the large crowd that the stalled Broadway Specific Plan would be restarted this month, with a public meeting to unveil new alternatives for the future of Auto Row (after the last round of alternatives met with support from basically nobody).

One of the establishments looking to open in Uptown this Spring is spin-off of Brooklyn scenester lounge Death & Company. Check out their website for a preview of what is coming to 1741 Telegraph.

Hotspot Disco Volante is featured in the Chronicle’s Bar Bites. Come for the food, stay for the live music and a film screening by one of Oakland’s best-known rap groups, Foreign Legion.

Era Artbar celebrates its anniversary with a bash on Saturday night. The beautifully-built arts-inspired dance club has become a touchstone for social functions, civic fundraisers, and Art Murmur after-partying. Saturday’s party features a hosted Ketel One bar and music by DJ Hector.

Art will come to Uptown outside of a gallery or nightclub in the next year. The temporary sculpture garden across the street from the Fox Theater is a go, and will be installed and open to the public in the Fall. Meanwhile, Oakland’s cultural department has planned an artsy makeover of BART’s dingy alley between Broadway and Telegraph near 17th St, and expects its completion next year.

With recently-opened establishments succeeding and new ones on the way, the DTO continues its trajectory toward a revitalization anchored by culture.

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Mid-May in the DTO: Hello shuttle, buh-bye Shorenstein

May 14, 2010

Last week saw the first dry First Friday of 2010, though it was pretty chilly after the sun set. Like the rest of Oakland, Downtown shines best when drenched in sun, and it seems the rainy season has finally ended. If you’re working downtown, living downtown, or planning to hang out downtown, here’s what you need to know in mid-May.

Downtown Oakland’s second-largest property owner, Shorenstein Properties, has put its four-million-square-foot office and retail portfolio on the market. The properties include the City Center shops; Oakland’s third-largest and second-tallest building, 1111 Broadway; and an agreement to complete construction of a new high-rise at 11th and Jefferson. Though Shorenstein is a local company and a long-time investor, new energy and ambition could improve the City Center office district.

To link Oakland’s disparate office markets and transit hubs, the City of Oakland has set a date for the launch of its new shuttle serving Broadway. On Monday Jun 21, commuters can catch a free ride from Uptown all the way to Jack London Square every fifteen minutes, from 7am to 7pm. Downtown is geographically quite large for a downtown of a mid-sized city, and it’s just not a nice walk from a Midtown lounge to a Jack London Square restaurant, so many expect the shuttle to help unite different retail  nodes, over time. If the shuttle can secure additional funding, its hours can be lengthened to serve dining, but for now it’s great for commuters and Jack London Square restaurants, which suffered mightily when the City’s last Broadway shuttle ended operation in 2002.

Far from the beaten First Friday track, Jack London District’s Swarm Gallery opens a new exhibit this Second Friday, featuring photography and wood sculpture. The Mercury20 photography gallery is now open at its new location on 25th St near Broadway. Today is the deadline for Alameda County artist to submit work for ProArts Gallery’s juried annual, Bay Area Currents 2010.

The Uptown neighborhood continues to add residents and businesses at a rapid clip. City Homestead reports several new restaurants coming to the district, and recently the Planning Commission gave a new bar permission to operate at 17th and Telegraph. Oakland will spend Redevelopment funds to brighten BART’s lonely alleyway. With artsy lighting joining our rightful sunshine, it’s the season for hanging out in downtown Oaktown.

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