Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Best laid plans...

Jerry Brown Division:

Seven years after Jerry Brown was elected mayor of Oakland in part on a promise that his “10K Initiative” would lead to a retail revival in the city’s downtown, the area where the housing component has been most successful has yet to see the promised commercial development.

The City of Oakland’s 10K Housing webpage says that in Brown’s inaugural address, he “proposed a four-year goal of attracting 10,000 new residents to downtown Oakland as a way to revitalize the physical, economic, and cultural environment of the area.” ....

But along the commercial corridor of Lower Broadway, where Brown’s promised retail revitalization would presumably follow the residential successes, progress has not been so dramatic. In some instances, it appears to have gone backwards.

Of 26 commercial addresses between Jack London Square and Fourth Street on Broadway, four appear to be long-term vacancies, with windows papered or boarded over and one of them, the old On Broadway club near the the corner of Fourth, sporting a message on the marquee that reads “Thank You. Bye.” Three other commercial addresses in the same stretch are closed and undergoing renovations, with one of them, the old Bluesville club at Second, sporting a For Lease sign. Two of the office complexes in the area have had vacancies for several weeks.

A number of office complexes along Fourth Street between Broadway and Franklin also sport “for lease” signs, monuments to the collapse of the dotcom boom.

In addition, two of the operating establishments in Lower Broadway—Carpenters Union Local 2236 and the Secrets Adult Superstore porn shop—would not appear to fit the mayor’s commercial revival vision.

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