downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — construction

Uptown excitement

October 24, 2008

The Trib’s Night Owl, Angela Woodall, reveals details and dates of Ozumo‘s venture in the DTO, on the smoking-hot corner of Broadway and Grand. Ozumo and Pican, who signed leases months ago but did not begin work until recently, will share the intersection with Luka’s, the Franklin Square Wine Bar, newly-glam Vo’s, and next year, Bakesale Betty.

The original Uptown investment that sparked the district’s revitalization, The Uptown Apartments, celebrated the first residents and the broader community by opening a new Oakland park last night. The park, built and maintained by Forest City but operating as a city park, will soon be home to Remember Them, a colossal bronze monument a friend called “Mt. Rushmore for liberals.” Check out the park before it’s overwhelmed by “art.”

The Trib also writes about the Fox Theater, which has received tens of millions in donations and is now going to reopen as a fully-restore, full-scale theater, a far cry from “The Ruins” plan developer Phil Tagami floated to get the city interested in its restoration, which promised a usable building on the cheap. The School for the Arts is planning to move in at the end of November, so the building will appear occupied and revitalized at that point.

All the talk about the city’s budget over the last week explains why many neighborhoods are working to provide their own services and not rely on the city. Before the recess, the City Council approved several new Business Improvement Districts, including three downtown, two of these in Uptown (Uptown, which includes the Lake Merritt office district, and Koreatown, which includes part of Uptown and several blocks to the North). The Uptown bid is currently looking to hire security guards for the district. Much of the controversy before Tuesday’s vote focused on cuts to the Cultural Arts and Marketing Department, and the Oakland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau was mostly defunded. Next week, the OCVB will propose a hotel BID (PDF) to fund its activities in the future.

In other downtown news, the Barbary Lane retirement home in the historic Lake Merritt Hotel opened for long-term residents. I’m not sure whether the restaurant overlooking the Lake will be again open to the public.


Good news for downtown

October 1, 2008

Wall Street might be all doom and gloom, but Washington Street has more than its share of good news. As big businesses in big cities seize up, local businesses in the DTO announce ambitious plans for expansion.

601 City Center started construction with a groundbreaking party this week, to which the neighbors were rudely disinvited. But starting construction brings completing construction closer!

The very successful Trappist Belgian beer salon is expanding their gorgeous but cramped bar in Old Oakland. Also in the Old O, Levende Lounge’s partners are looking to open another bar nearby, and an art gallery has taken up temporary residence (just on First Fridays) between arty furniture gallery FiveTen Studio and Verse, seller of psychedelic sneakers.

Life is returning to the alley that was once 13th Street between Jefferson and MLK. The large condo project is under construction once again, and a café has returned to the City Cup space across from the Federal Building. The owner of City Cup plans to build a bar and grill next door to open early next year, eventually to be open on the weekends once the condos are complete.

An automated, multilingual low-cost pharmacy opens to great fanfare in Chinatown.

Have I told you guys yet that Bakesale Betty leased the old Broadway Grand sales office on Franklin Square across from Luka’s? They totally did. According to Mr. Betty, the new location will allow an expanded selection of baked goods and more space for customers in the original Temescal locale.

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