Oakland turning into hot market for business, real estate

May 26, 2013 12:16:15 PM PDT
Those tracking trends say Oakland is getting hot. It may have started with the city's emerging restaurant scene, or perhaps it was the buzz created by those First Friday at gatherings. Either way, Oakland has found itself on a list of the most attractive cities for tech startups.

In the shadow of Oakland's Occupy riots and violent crime, the city has been quietly gaining accolades as the place to be.

"The attraction is the diversity of culture," Oakland resident Albert Rowe said.

The National Venture Capital Association ranks it the 11th most attractive city for tech startups like "Power Hive." The solar startup is electrifying remote villages in Africa with microgrids.

"I don't think we would be able to be in Silicon Valley in an office space that we are and afford the kind of space that we have here today," said Jane Oyugi, Power Hive VP of Product. "So, we'd probably be working out of our garages."

Also this month, online real estate company "Movoto" named Oakland the most exciting city in America. Home sales are thriving and young professionals are flocking here.

"Oakland has changed a lot since the last time I was out here," new Oakland resident Zachary Gostlin said. "Even Uptown is changed. There's new bars and restaurants down here. It's real nice."

The Bond, a modern classic condominium in Jack London Square reflects the fast selling pace of homes in Oakland. They started selling five days ago, and they've already sold four of these condos.

The New York Times calls Oakland the fifth most desirable travel destination and Forbes Magazine ranked the Uptown District ninth among the top hipster neighborhoods.

"There's a tremendous shift going on in the Bay Area right now," said Polaris Pacific Real Estate President Paul Zeger. "Oakland is the hot market and we see a large number of people moving from the Oakland Hills and San Francisco into downtown Oakland to take advantage of all the cultural diversity and excitement that's going on here."

But what about the crime?

"As far as it goes, if you have a little bit of street smarts and you stay away from bad people, bad things don't happen," Gostlin said.

These people believe the pros outweigh the cons, which could explain the recognition for Oakland's economic boom.


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