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Oakland's A for Activity
Auction (April20) SFO
April 11, 2013

Oakland's A for Activity

In Oakland, A stand for the Athletics. At the Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown district associations-community benefit districts that serve Downtown Oakland—A also stands for increased activity.

This week, we chatted with Lake Merritt/Uptown district president Deborah Boyer and Downtown Oakland district president Michelle Lane. (You may know 'em better from their respective day jobs: SVP of the Swig Co and senior property manager at CAC or their night jobs as Supergirl and Wonderwoman... we've said too much.) They tell us they're seeing more retail, restaurants, and businesses move into their districts, which together span 55 blocks in Oakland's CBD. Michelle says her district's vacancies have decreased and that people are staying later in the evening after work because of new nightlife amenities. Deborah traces some of the catalyst back to Jerry Brown's tenure as mayor, specifically his 10k initiative to develop residential housing within the Downtown core, which attracted businesses that have contributed to the area's vibrancy.

Andrew Jones, district services manager for both districts, with Durrell Sanders, once of the districts' "hospitality ambassadors," tells us a wave of business growth has filled long-vacant storefronts and offices, including ground-floor retail spaces on Broadway that have been empty for 10 years. More than 182k SF has been leased within the past year, running the gamut from professional services to government and nonprofit offices, to tech companies like Pandora Media, which increased its HQ to 75k SF at 2100 Franklin. (They need more space to make sure people know Barry Manilow and Michael Buble are similar artists.)

OAKLAND CBDs BART Planterbox FreeB Banner
Downtown Oakland is looking spiffy, thanks to planter boxes and banners courtesy of the associations. They've scrubbed away a lot of graffiti and removed a lot of street clutter (like abandoned newsracks) since forming in 2009, providing resources for maintenance, safety and security management, and beautification. Signage on the bus tells of another amenity: free neighborhood shuttle. Last month, the hospitality ambassadors began keeping a sharp eye out for Good Samaritans doing good deeds—picking up litter, for instance—and rewarded them with cards good for $2 off at local businesses. The recipients can load extra dollars to their cards online and receive alerts about merchant specials.

San Fran Scores Big

Once again, CBRE's San Fran professionals proved they're champions both on and off the court, taking home the trophy in the company's second annual California State Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row. The tourney brings together colleagues from CBRE offices in San Francisco, LA, Orange County, and San Diego for some fun and friendly competition—and if a few business opportunities arise, so much the better. The meet, held down south in Anaheim, was complete with refs and statistic book keepers. Word is that CBRE offices in other states want to get in on the action.

Colliers Antes Up for Kids

Like the bearded man sang, you've got to know when to hold 'em. Brian Mason (right) of Colliers International's San Jose office played his cards right, taking first place in Colliers' fifth Charity Poker Tournament at Villa Regusa in Campbell. Second place went to Jeff Fredericks, managing partner of Colliers' Silicon Valley office.

Some 135 Colliers brokers and their guests took part in the tournament, which raised more than $42k for the company's charitable foundation, Links for Life California. The charity provides grants to help local orgs that make a differences in the lives of Bay Area children. Since its inception in 2097, the foundation has given more than $460k to 154 qualifying charities. The tournament underwriters included Vulcan Construction, Hopkins & Carley, TICO Construction, Barry Swenson Builder, and Iron Construction.

Are you at the Masters this week? Send us pics: julie@bisnow.com.

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