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Is Oakland The Brooklyn Of The West?

Oakland with its lively art scene, eclectic restaurants and growing Millennial population has garnered plenty of comparisons to Brooklyn lately. Cushman & Wakefield San Francisco took a closer look at the two cities to see how each of them stacks up.

Downtown Oakland

The biggest difference is the amount of time Brooklyn has had to develop. During the 1990s, the high prices in Manhattan pushed a lot of younger people toward Brooklyn for more affordable housing options. Convenient public transportation also makes it easy for residents to travel into downtown.

Because it has had more time to develop, some parts of Brooklyn are now more expensive than Manhattan, according to Robert Sammons, Cushman & Wakefield regional director, Northwest U.S. research. Brooklyn also has a healthy supply of technology, advertising, media and information companies due to Millennials’ preference for jobs where they live and play.

Oakland’s latest boom started 10 years after Brooklyn's and has benefited from Millennials moving out of San Francisco to more affordable areas. Much like Brooklyn, there is convenient mass transit and plenty of housing. Oakland has attracted nonprofits and small businesses and most recently attracted large companies like Blue Shield and Oracle.


Millennials make up a quarter of the population in both cities and average rents are similar with Oakland at $2,493 and Brooklyn at $2,349. A majority of residents rent in each of these regions. Office rents are similar as well, with Oakland at $49.20/SF and Brooklyn at $43.46/SF.

The biggest difference in development is Brooklyn has 8M SF of new offices in the pipeline while Oakland, which has struggled to get any new office development going, has only 1.7M SF planned. Also, Brooklyn is a borough of New York and does not have its own municipality like Oakland.

Find out more about the latest development in Oakland at Bisnow’s upcoming Oakland Multifamily Mixed-Use Rise and Expansion event May 9.