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Latham Square, the long-dormant plaza at the intersection of Broadway and Telegraph Ave. in downtown Oakland, is back open after three years of construction.

Decked with flower beds, trees, a storm water drain system and a century-old fountain that spouts water for the first time in 75 years, the triangular piece of land is four times its original size.

Mayor Libby Schaaf touted the project as a public investment that enhances other improvements to the neighborhood, among them the restoration of Latham Square building and the former Roos Brothers department store at 1500 Broadway.

The new square is part of an ongoing beautification effort to draw more businesses and foot traffic downtown. Uber’s new headquarters will open just blocks away in 2017.

Read more at SFGate.com

Fresh off of raising $40 million in venture capital funding, Visual Supply Co., known as VSCO, inked a deal to take 24,032 square feet in 1500 Broadway in Oakland.

“We strongly identify with Oakland, as it is an up-and-coming area that embodies the grit and creative spirit of VSCO,” said VSCO CEO Joel Flory, who helped start the business. “Our favorite art galleries, museums, restaurants and, of course, the A’s, call Oakland home. We are proud to be part of the creative culture of Oakland. Our roots run deep here.”

The building, owned by Graham Street Realty and managed by Paramount Property Company, features the “creative space” look with historic architecture and brick exterior that has been attractive to various Oakland tenants like e.l.f., a cosmestics that is also expanding in downtown Oakland.

Read more at San Francisco Business Times 

Uber Technologies Inc.’s blockbuster purchase of Oakland’s Uptown Station is a victory for developer Lane Partners. It’s also a huge boon for Oakland’s already-strong office market and its entire downtown area, according to real estate brokers.

Uber made the deal official Wednesday morning, announcing it purchased the 330,000-square-foot building from Lane Partners for an undisclosed price. The sale will have big repercussions for the city.

Oakland’s central business district had a vacancy rate of 6.7 percent, or 1.1 million square feet in the third quarter, according to Avison Young. With the Uber deal at Uptown Station, that figure falls below 6 percent, a low that rivals that of San Francisco. The city’s rent of around $36 per square foot remains about half of San Francisco’s $70 per square foot, but that number is rising as availability shrinks.

Beyond the economics, Uber’s move across the Bay creates serious gravitational pull to draw more tenants, particularly growing tech companies, said John Dolby, an executive vice president at brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

The purchase is a vindication of Oakland’s urban assets, including abundant access to transit — the city has three downtown BART stations — and its cultural renaissance. Adding more workers downtown will also likely fuel more restaurants and retail in the area. In Uptown Station itself, Newberry Market & Deli has committed to 20,000 square feet in the ground-floor retail space, leaving 30,000 square feet of retail still available.

“It puts downtown Oakland on the map,” said Dolby, who added that such a deal was “unthinkable a few years ago.”

Read the full article at the San Francisco Business Times