As Housing Units Multiply, Local Businesses Struggle to Hang On in Downtown Oakland

The city of Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, is the rare California city quickly adding housing units to the urban core. Local businesses are struggling to hang on as construction changes the fabric of the neighborhood.

August 20, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Oakland California

Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

Sarah Ravani reports on the effect of numerous construction projects in Downtown Oakland on existing businesses in the area.

The example of a restaurant called Molcajete is cited as the first examples:

As Oakland makes an unprecedented push to boost housing with a wave of apartment building, small businesses like Molcajete that could eventually profit are paying a high price. Construction zones are eliminating foot traffic and parking, and shop owners say rents are going up.

According to Ravani, "[c]ity officials acknowledge the transition has displaced small retailers that helped contribute to Oakland’s culture and say they have plans to protect diversity."

"But some business owners worry that it’s too little, too late, and that the area will lose its vibrancy." Already some businesses have shuttered since the current wave of construction—1,000 residential units under construction in a half-mile radius of Molcajete.

Monday, August 19, 2019 in San Francisco Chronicle

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