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Proposed Uptown Oakland Food Hall Is Hilarious Millennial Bait

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Oakland Station wants to be the Ferry Building for the Instagram age.

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A rendering of the new Uptown Station building.
A rendering of the new Uptown Station building.
Gensler/Lane Partners via: Susie Cagle

In the up-and-already-made-it precincts of Uptown Oakland, developers Lane Partners and the architects at Gensler have a grand vision for their forthcoming Oakland Station project. The 1925 building currently sits on top of the 19th Street BART station and was purchased by Lane Partners for a cool $25 million, after Sears vacated the space in November. Its next incarnation—or at least the one dreamed up by developers—is a comically transparent attempt to please millennials and cash in on the current round of San Francisco cool.

The renderings below were presented to the City of Oakland in early December, and obtained by Oakland-based journalist Susie Cagle. They show a six-story, 400,000 square-foot building featuring a ground-floor retail concourse, set below office space with a roof deck and a sunny glass atrium. A November report from the San Francisco Business Journal hinted at the possibility that one of two unnamed tech giants could scoop up all that office space for a new East Bay headquarters ("It's like having the Twitter building at 19th and Broadway," said one broker representing the building). Underground, the blue-tiled 19th Street BART station will likewise be getting some upgrades.

Lane Partners/Gensler via Susie Cagle

But for dining purposes, we’re more concerned with the hypothetical layout of that market hall. In their PowerPoint presentation, the developers included slides with photos of seemingly unrelated Valencia Street retailers, like Craftsman & Wolves and Dandelion Chocolate, as examples of what they're going for. Indeed, the entire fake list of tenants reads like a who’s-who of highly Instagrammable San Francisco hotspots, plus a couple from Oakland and some made-up vendors just for good measure:

  • Brown Sugar Kitchen
  • Mission Cheese
  • Blue Bottle
  • Roli Roti
  • Rice Paper Scissors
  • Pal’s Takeaway
  • Bakesale Betty
  • The Town Kitchen
  • Bi-Rite Market
  • Josey Baker Bread
  • Health [sic] Ceramics
  • Workshop SF
  • 4505 Meats
  • Juice Shop
  • Temescal Alley Barber Shop
  • Several unnamed retail spaces
  • Three additional restaurants or bars
  • A bike sales, repair and storage space
  • Something called "Viking Bierhall"

Eater spoke with representatives from several of the companies named, and while they appreciated the hat tip, none of them were aware of the project, or even had plans to expand to Uptown, for that matter. As Jeff Mason of Pal’s Takeaway told us via email this week, "I guess I should feel flattered that they used my name." (Side note: Pal’s is plotting a new location in the East Bay, but nothing has been finalized yet.)

As for the project as a whole, the $40 million renovation and restoration are expected to be completed sometime in 2016, meaning we can expect Oakland Station to get a new, trendy food hall to go with their new, trendy corporate tenant sometime in 2017.

19th St Oakland BART Station

1900 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 465-2278