Internet Companies Finally Discover Oakland.

I have been wondering for a long time when internet companies were going to discover how much cheaper it is to do business in Oakland than San Francisco. Commercial office space in downtown Oakland is half the price of comparable space in San Francisco, just 10 miles away. It seems like that day has finally come. When Capwell’s department store in downtown Oakland opened for business 85 years ago, it was the biggest and most beautiful store in the East Bay. The Beaux Arts building featured an 85 foot high atrium with a domed stained glass roof. After Capwell’s went bankrupt more than 20 years ago, it became a Sears store, but the building was so large that Sears never used all of the space, and they covered up most of the building finer architectural features. After Sears moved out, the building was vacant for many years. The Capwell’s building is now undergoing an expensive renovation. It is being converted into office space for internet companies. Part of the building has already been leased to Uber, which will move 600 employees there from San Francisco. Ultimately the building, renamed Uptown Station, will house about 3,000 high tech workers. The ground floor will be filled with stores and a food court. The roof will become a garden and picnic area. The 19th Street BART station is right next to the building, and there is a direct entrance into the building from the subway station. That is probably the building’s single most valuable asset.