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Oakland’s Future Is Bright, According To Business Leaders, From The Economy To Skyscrapers

Oakland’s economic prospects are bright. That was the main lesson from the Oakland Chamber of Commerce’s recent economic summit in the city.

To share that vision with business executives, Chamber leaders brought together economist and creator of Beacon Economics Chris Thornberg, developers, and a government representative.

In unrelated projects, developers are rehabilitating the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center and constructing the city’s highest skyscraper, while COVID-19 immunizations are causing the economy to reopen statewide in June.

Thornberg remarked of the city’s economy and the city as a whole, “Oakland has a beautiful, wonderful future ahead of it.”

The restoration of the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, which is located across from Lake Merritt’s south end, is planned to begin this summer.

The center has been shuttered since 2005, after serving as Oakland’s primary gathering place. The structure was completed in 1915. It has a long history of dance, music, and theater.

The rehabilitation will be handled by Orton Development, which is also rebuilding a portion of Pier 70 in San Francisco.

Hines is constructing the city’s tallest structure at 20th and Franklin streets, closer to downtown Oakland. The Oakland Planning Commission will hear the office proposal on May 5.

“We do believe people will return to work,” Paul Paradis, senior managing director at Hines, said.

From the top of the building, visitors will have a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.

California Has A Role To Play

Officials from the state government are also striving to safeguard Oakland’s economic future.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s top advisor, Dee Dee Myers, told Oakland business leaders that the governor is concentrating his efforts on three areas to encourage economic growth.

Myers stated that he is focusing on vaccination distribution, small business support, and getting children back to school.

Vaccinations are going well, with nearly a third of the state’s people having received all of their vaccines. The coronavirus vaccine is available to people 16 and up across the state.

California will award small business subsidies ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 to sectors and areas hit hardest by the pandemic, and state officials hope to have children back in school five days a week by the fall. Parents will be able to return to work as a result of this.

“Oakland has a bright, bright future ahead of it.”

Housing and homelessness, according to Chris Thornberg, an economist at Myers, are concerns that the state must address in order to maintain a healthy and appealing economic climate.

Thornberg believes that Oakland’s housing needs to be prioritized. He stated that a large amount of housing is required.

Thornberg even proposed rezoning excess retail space as mixed-use property that might be used for housing at least partially.

The pandemic-related recession has been the country’s deepest but also the shortest, according to Thornberg.

Economic downturns caused by natural disasters, he argued, are terrible in the short term but only moderately awful in the long term.

He said, “We always anticipated a faster than average recovery was going to happen.”