downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — office

Restaurants take root throughout downtown

October 22, 2008

Jack London Square, and its eponymous neighborhood, is quickly becoming a culinary destination. Mono and Miss Pearl’s Jam House had already proven the waterfront, once home to TGI Friday’s and The Old Spaghetti Factory, has become a viable place for upscale and edgy cuisine. Renowned (among my foodie friends at least) chef Daniel Patterson, of Coi and the former Elizabeth Daniel, has signed a lease to create a “neighborhood place” called Bracina.

The OakBook recently profiled Meg Ray of Miette, a dainty and TV-ready confectionary in SF’s charming Hayes Valley neighborhood, who will bring her contemporary yet vintage aesthetic to the under-construction Jack London Market building (nee Harvest Hall, which is much catchier). These high-profile tenants certainly confirm the marketing pull of Jack London Square II, an office and culinary complex meant to compete with City Center. But the waterfront and its new buildings is far from the only emerging culinary hotspot in the DTO.

The artist-owners of Soizic at the waterfront end of the Broadway completed Mua, their renovation of the gorgeous Oakland Auto Parts building along the edge of Auto Row, which is fast becoming colonized as an extension of Uptown. Not to be outdone, the owners of Dona Tomas leased a space just up Telegraph from their sleek Flora bistro, where they promise to serve their first burrito. With Forest City’s Uptown project, which almost single-handedly transformed lower Telegraph from a wasteland to an urban center, announcing great progress on leasing their 664 units, businesses see the area as a good investment.

Though the edges of the DTO are up and coming, the older center of town isn’t slouching. As previous noted, Tamarindo Antojeria and The Trappist are expanding into their next-door storefronts, relieving the crowds that crush these tiny but renowned spots. Despite this, Old Oakland continues to struggle to attract retail, with one closed retailer unfortunately converted to soon-to-be-illegal office space, and EBALDC’s Swan’s Market complex losing tenants. Across Broadway in old City Center, El Senor Burrito, a popular joint on San Pablo, is coming to 13th St in the restored Mash Building. In a time when terrible economic news is splashed on the front page of every newspaper, business expansion in the DTO is a welcome relief.

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DTO Zoning meeting tonight in Adam's Point

March 17, 2008

Tonight, the Planning Department will present the final of their four public input meetings regarding proposed zoning for the Central Business District. This final meeting will not be downtown, but in Adam’s Point, at the Sailboat House (which is poorly served by public transit) at 6:30. To be discussed are use restrictions, separate residential and commercial zones, and strict design guidelines. For a thorough explanation of what exactly the new zoning proposes, see A Better Oakland’s post, Zoning From Mars.

The proposal will be presented to the Zoning Update Committee of the Planning Commission on Wednesday, at City Hall, which is actually downtown. And near several different transit lines.

Also, I’d like to thank the Oakland Museum for throwing one of the DTO’s best parties ever. Make Me, Hottub, DJs, exhibits, and free beer – I can’t remember so many people ever having so much fun at our beautiful museum.

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