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How Oakland's Boom Could Spark a Backlash


Oakland is going through a development boom that includes everything from housing to office space to retail, but some city leaders worry about a backlash from residents worried they'll get pushed out.

It was an issue some of our panelists discussed at Bisnow's Oakland event last month (that's the crowd hanging on their every word). A more robust economy is being reflected in higher housing costs, and city leaders worry about how to continue encouraging growth while helping those who live in Oakland to remain there.

Oakland now ranks as the fifth-most-expensive US rental market, with median one-bedroom apartments running $2,160. Some residents worry that companies moving in, such as Uber, which purchased the Sears Building (now Uptown Station) earlier this year, will gentrify area neighborhoods, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

Some projects, such as UrbanCore's Lake Merritt Tower, originally proposed as a 298-unit market-rate tower on city-owned property, have been thwarted by protest. Residents demanded a 100% affordable project, shutting down a city council meeting in May, and the project never got off the ground.

UrbanCore and nonprofit partner East Bay Asian Local Development Corp are now proposing LakeHouse Tower, a $178M mixed-income project with 270 market-rate units and 90 affordable units on-site. [SFBT]