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Which Bay Area neighborhoods are at risk for a major earthquake?

Earthquake map reveals liquefaction risks in Bay Area neighborhoods.

No place in the Bay Area is safe when it comes to the inevitable, devastating earthquakes that loom on the horizon. But some neighborhoods are better situated than others.

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

NAI Northern California’s Tim Warren named East Bay/Oakland Top Sales Broker by CoStar Power Broker Awards

Tim Warren recognized with CoStar Power Broker Award as a Top Sales Broker for the East Bay/Oakland

The CoStar Power Broker Award winners for 2018 were recently announced, and one of NAI Northern California’s top producers, Tim Warren, was named a Top Sales Broker for his work in the East Bay/Oakland market.

As a commercial real estate services company, NAI Northern California was also recognized as a Top Sales Firm in both San Francisco and the East Bay/Oakland markets.

Check out all the CoStar Power Broker Award winners here.

 

Transit-oriented development changing how Oakland grows

When it comes to the future of Oakland, a good amount of the development that will change the city has one thing in common: the transit station nearby. 

Bay Area Rapid Transit has committed to an ambitious plan to build mixed-use transit-oriented developments around its stations throughout the Bay Area, and a number of those projects will be in Oakland.

Already, the transit authority has started to transform land around MacArthur Station in the northern part of the city as well as Fruitvale Station to the southeast. Construction is underway on Coliseum Transit Village from UrbanCore Development and Oakland Economic Development Corp.

Future plans call for continued development on those sites and projects to go up around downtown BART stations.

BART’s transit-oriented development policy states that the agency will only move forward with future developments in cities that have adopted station area plans, and Oakland has been at the forefront, BART’s Sean Brooks said. Brooks, the department manager of real estate and property development for BART, will speak about TODs at Bisnow’s The Evolution of Downtown Oakland March 13.

Projects already underway have required upzoning, and the city also has been progressive about parking requirements, Brooks said.

“The city has kind of bent over backwards to help and advance some of these projects,” he said.

Case in point: the planned development for West Oakland, which got through the planning commission in record time, he said. The project was helped along in no small part because of the affordable housing it is bringing to the city.

 

Read more at Bisnow Oakland

 

Oakland A’s meet opposition over plans for new waterfront ballpark

Plans for a new Oakland A’s ballpark at Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland have run into opposition that could throw up roadblocks for the project.

Last week, a coalition that includes Save The Bay sent a letter to the state legislature listing concerns from environmental, business and labor organizations about the stadium project.

In the letter, Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis said East Bay lawmakers are considering introducing a bill that could fast-track the project through regulatory exemptions. That would lessen the project’s accountability to environmental laws designed to protect public health, public lands and vulnerable wildlife.

The coalition said it is opposed to any measures that would reduce San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission oversight for the project, remove State Lands Commission-enacted public trust protections, undercut hazardous materials restrictions or seek a way around California Environmental Quality Act obligations for the project.

The A’s said they had no plans to ask state lawmakers to fast-track the process, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Save The Bay is not the only one arguing against the plans for the stadium.

The bar pilots association said the lights from the stadium will be blinding for those navigating container ships to the port, and those ships could hit kayakers going after stray balls, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents some of the port’s tenants, said the hotel and housing included in the plan would increase traffic and compete with trucks around the port.

Oakland has suffered the loss of sports teams, including the Golden State Warriors, who are slated to be in their new Chase Center in San Francisco for the 2019-2020 season, and the Raiders, who are moving to Las Vegas and still haven’t settled on where they will play next season before that move.

 

Read more at Bisnow Oakland

 

Fremont City Council balks at stronger renter protections, opts for ‘minor tweaks’ to rent review law

Majority of council feels one-year old rent review program is doing well.

In the first year of Fremont’s rent review program, nearly half of those who sought help with rent increases saw them lowered, but some renters and city council members still don’t think the program goes far enough to help tenants.

The update on the program was presented by staff at the recent Fremont City Council meeting, where the council subsequently voted to make some minor tweaks to its rent review ordinance, but backed off of strengthening discrimination and retaliation protections for renters.

Councilwoman Jenny Kassan and Councilman Vinnie Bacon said they would have preferred to beef up those protections, and look at adopting rent control in the city, but the other five members of the council chose the status quo.

The city’s review ordinance is intended to help landlords and renters mediate disputes over rent increases. The council adopted the ordinance in fall 2017, and the program went into effect in 2018.

 

Read more at East Bay Times

 

 

With Square move on horizon, fintechs discover Oakland

Square’s expansion into Uptown Station underscores what fintech entrepreneurs have been saying for some time: Oakland is hot and only getting hotter.

Square’s new lease taking all of Oakland’s Uptown Station signals the growing popularity of the East Bay’s largest city for fintechs and other startups.

Fintech entrepreneurs say Square moving into the city in such a big way — the payments company plans to start moving in about 2,000 employees beginning later this year — means a lot more energy and talent will be drawn into Oakland.

Square’s move represents a tripling of Oakland’s fintech workforce, which the city estimates to be just under 1,000 people.

“We have a small but growing tech sector in Oakland,” said Marisa Raya, economic development specialist for the city of Oakland.

 

 

Read more at San Francisco Business Times

 

A’s Dave Kaval unveils gondola plan to link BART, Howard Terminal

The A’s unveiled plans for a gondola to run from BART to their proposed Howard Terminal site, including a tower above Washington Street.

London, New York, Portland, Ore., and Mexico City are among the urban centers making good use of gondolas, a transportation trend popping up worldwide, and A’s President Dave Kaval sees his team fitting right into that niche.

Kaval has mentioned the potential for a gondola to ferry fans from BART to the team’s proposed stadium at Howard Terminal, just north of Jack London Square, and Saturday morning he unveiled artist renderings and a video simulation of the project.

The gondola would ferry about 6,000 people per hour; cabs with a capacity of 30-35 would make a three-minute trip of less than a mile along Washington Street in Oakland, linking the BART station at 12th and Washington to Jack London Square. The gondola would transport an estimated 1 million people per year, Kaval said.

Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

San Jose and Stockton mayors boost transit-housing plan

“Too many children go to bed at night without seeing parents who are stuck in crippling commutes.”

On Thursday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo endorsed SB 50, the proposed new law that aims to create more dense housing near major transit lines in California, as did the mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs.

Introduced in December, the bill, written by SF-based State Sen. Scott Wiener, is a follow-up to the very similar but unsuccessful SB 827.

According to Wiener’s office, the bill “eliminates hyper-low-density zoning near transit and job centers.”

The text of the proposed law specifies that it applies to “sites within one-half mile of fixed rail and one-quarter mile of high-frequency bus stops and in job-rich areas.”

On Thursday, Liccardo praised the proposal as a potential antidote to long commutes.

“Too many children go to bed at night without seeing parents who are stuck in crippling commutes,” Liccardo said in an emailed statement.

The mayor predicts that “SB 50 will spur more affordable housing near transit and job centers so that people can live close to where they work.”

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs endorsed the measure this week too, promoting it as a way to encourage more housing and keep prices down.

“As we force individuals to pay more for their rent, we also push them into poverty,” said Tubbs. “This is a policy failure that we must address.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and the mayors of Sacramento and Los Angeles are also among those who endorsed the measure or “made positive statements regarding the direction of the bill” previously, according to Wiener’s office.

 

 

 

Read more at Curbed SF

 

 

Could anti-price gouging laws slow rising rents in California?

California lawmakers are exploring new ways to limit skyrocketing rents.

Crooning in the shower is not Chad Regeczi’s thing.

That’s why when he learned last year his monthly rent would go up $300 so the new owners of his La Mesa apartment in San Diego County could upgrade his bathroom with a sound system, he was bemused.

“300 bucks!” he said. “I mean an iPod costs less than that. Everybody has got a phone now. Who needs a Bluetooth speaker in a bathroom apartment? It’s just weird.”

Regeczi, a VA employee, said the 30 percent rent increase didn’t match the condition of his apartment. But he felt powerless to challenge his landlords on the hike.

“Who’s gonna tell them no?” he asked. “There are no rules to how much your rent can go up.”

That may change. Talk is underway about putting a law on the books that would bar California landlords from raising rent beyond a certain percentage.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in November the rule would mimic limits on what businesses can charge during natural disasters.

“When there’s a fire, you pass an anti-rent gouging ordinance,” Schaaf said. “The state has a fire. It’s called the housing crisis.”

Rents are surging in some California cities where there is no rent control by double, even triple digits, according to mayors and tenants rights advocates.

And more than half of the state’s renters pay more than a third of their income on housing, according to the California Budget & Policy Center. And a third of renters spend more than half of their paycheck on a place to live. The real estate firm Zillow reported last month that communities where people pay more than a third of their salary on rent, see a faster rise in homelessness.

 

Read more on East Bay Times

 

 

Fruitvale: Transit and Community

More than just a BART station.

metro or subway station may seem one-dimensional, a jumping-off point from one place to another. But some stations are destinations, drawing in visitors on the basis of their own merits. They may be architectural gems, like Grand Central Terminal in New York City or shopping meccas like Shinjuku in Tokyo. A few go beyond attaining this status and have become communities unto themselves.

Fruitvale Station is one such place. It’s a thriving transportation hub that also possesses the elements of a long-standing community.

I commute to the city from Fruitvale Station every day, witnessing this tangible sense of community up close. My daily journey here began in January 2009, just a few weeks after Oscar Grant was shot and killed by a BART police officer in the early hours of New Year’s Day. The tenth anniversary of the tragedy happened on January 1 of this year, marking a milestone that has largely defined the identity of the station.

Fruitvale ingests passengers not only from its namesake neighborhood but also from other areas of Oakland and adjacent towns — as evidenced by the busy AC Transit buses and the jam-packed parking. The ongoing stream of humanity begins in the early morning with commuters and school kids and continues until the last train departs for Warm Springs at 1:00 a.m.

The first clue that more is afoot than simply moving people is the Fruitvale Village sign that stands next to the station entrance. Fruitvale Village was developed in the early 2000s by the Unity Council, a nonprofit Oakland group, and became an early model of transit-oriented development.

The development is home to housing and multiple community organizations, including institutions that are hallmarks of any civic community: a health clinic, a public library branch and a school. It also features shops and restaurants, most of them locally owned, like neighborhood Mexican food fixture Obelisco (formerly the Taco Grill). In 2017, Reem’s, an Arab bakery, opened to much acclaim. Owner Reem Assil has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation and major food publications. Equally notable, Assil has made social justice a core value of her business by hiring local workers and providing a living wage.

Read more at The Bold Italic