Uptown Oakland loses main meals corridor mission when Uber is at headquarters

With Uber’s plan to relocate its headquarters to the former Oakland Sears building, the anchor retail tenant for the space was put on hold. Newberry Markethas withdrawn from the project. The planned market would have occupied two thirds of the 30,000 square meter sales area with products, ready meals and a butcher’s shop with comprehensive service. In 2015, Newberry Market’s Loren Goodwin told Eater, “Our goal is to be the best option for people who live and work in the East Bay.” But after constant delays and uncertainties, we don’t want it to be.

In 2015, Uber bought the former Sears Building, known as Uptown Station, for $ 123.5 million from developer Lane Partners. The SF Business Times called the deal “market shaking”. Lane Partners had bought the building the previous year for $ 25 million and invested around $ 40 million in renovations to attract a technology company to the property.

Newberry Market RenderingSteel Blue

When Uber became embroiled in scandals surrounding its work environment and technology, the company slowed its approach to the Oakland building. In March, Uber officials said the company would only send hundreds instead of thousands of workers into the offices and rent the rest of the space. After investors ousted their CEO, Uber is reportedly considering selling the former Sears building entirely.

“Uber’s lack of enforcement to make the retail space available was only a small piece of the puzzle,” says Goodwin of the prospective Newberry Market. He and his partner Anna Thai have turned to other projects, including Gastropig, a nearby restaurant in Uptown Oakland that sells breakfast rolls.

“We were ready to work with the builders, whoever it would be … Lane [Partners] first then Uber, ”explains Goodwin.[But] The design team told us that Uber hired that it wasn’t clear what Oakland wanted.

That didn’t go well with Goodwin. “We thought the growing interest in Newberry Market was a pretty good indication of what Oakland wanted.” According to the Newberry Market website, the project was to create “a full-service specialty market that empowers the community by providing access to delicious, healthy and local food in a convenient location” and creating 150-200 new jobs.

But tired of “arguing with the designer and her team from New York about what Oakland needed” – after Uber’s purchase of the space, New York SHoP Architects took over Gensler – Thai and Goodwin withdrew.

Meanwhile, “running the Gastropig has been a relentless and rewarding endeavor,” says Goodwin. “Of course,” he adds, “we would like to see more people in the area,” including more residents and business people. But until Uber takes a clear direction on its property, these customers won’t be coming from Uptown Station.

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