Tonight is an important meeting for the future of Oakland’s Upper Broadway area, which the city wants to turn into a mixed-use retail district to finally bring some sales tax revenue back to the city. From the project’s website:
Oakland has long been one of the nation’s largest underserved trade areas for comparison goods… Oakland currently exports 75% of its potential sales in this category or roughly $1 billion in sales every year to neighboring communities. This loss translates into $10 million in sales tax revenue and 10,400 retail jobs. While the City has many fine merchants, it lacks many larger retailers and a critical mass of retail selection. This dearth of retail options discourage residents from shopping locally. This directly diminishes Oakland’s tax base that supports road maintenance, clean parks, and functional city services.
The Upper Broadway Strategy estimates that potential development of this 50 acre section of Broadway could result in approximately 1 million square feet of retail space and 834-1761 residential units with estimated revenue generating floor area of 2.37 million square feet with the potential to create $3 million annually in sales tax revenue.
I am all for this project (Alternative 1–Urban Mixed-Use Retail is by far the best option), but if you go to the meeting tonight (I can’t), please ask this question:
How is it consistent with the city’s goals of sustainability and affordability when the plan calls for as many as 8,357 parking spaces and 2:1 residential parking ratios? Is it really feasible to expect the city to contribute $50 million in parking subsidies to cover the excessive costs of so many parking spaces? Or should the city be pursuing an alternative which cuts costs to the city, developers, commercial tenants, and residents, such as a streetcar?
($40,000 per space x 8,357 parking spaces=$334.28 million worth of parking… Cutting that figure by just 15% would generate $50 million for a streetcar–almost enough to cover the costs of an Upper Broadway-Jack London Square line)