Oakland is seeing rents surge, partly fueled by renters priced out of San Francisco, which is booming with tech talent.
Photoraph by Michael Layefsky/Getty Images
By Reuters
September 2, 2016

Uber Technologies has filed an $8 million building permit with the City of Oakland to undergo heavy-duty renovations on the old Sears building that will house its new corporate headquarters.

The ride-services giant filed the permit on Tuesday, according to BuildZoom, a company that compiles construction and remodeling contractor data. Uber must still receive approval from the city.

An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the permit, adding that $8 million is the largest permit to date in the company’s effort to remodel the building at 1955 Broadway in Oakland’s busy Uptown district. San Francisco-based Uber purchased the historic, now-vacant building last year for $123.5 million.

A spokeswoman for the city of Oakland did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

The $8 million remodel will include gutting parts of the old building and adding new amenities typical at tech startups, such as a rooftop deck, the Uber spokeswoman said. She added that more permits will be filed over the next couple of months, and declined to give a total estimated cost for construction.

Part of Uber’s remodel also includes repairing damage caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

A BuildZoom spokesman said the $8 million price tag is large compared to other building projects around the country, but in proportion for a company with the size and resources of Uber, valued at $68 billion in the private market.

See also: The San Francisco ‘Tech Tax’ Is Dead

The iconic Oakland building, which opened in 1929 as a department store, will house between 2,000 and 3,000 Uber employees across 380,000 square feet. About 50,000 square feet will be open space on the ground floor and the remaining will be used for offices.

Uber has pushed back its move-in date from early 2017 to October or November of next year.

Oakland leaders had been seeking to attract a tech company to the building, which is centrally located and close to arts and dining, to contribute to the revitalization of the district. Residents, however, have worried that Uber’s presence will further drive up the cost of living and doing business in a city already grappling with rising rents and home prices.

Uber is also developing a 423,000-square-foot campus in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood that will house between 3,000 and 4,000 employees. That is in addition to Uber’s 500,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

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