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The Bay Area's Newest Destination

Friday, March 30, 2012

Passport Oakland: What's happening in the East Bay Real Estate Market?

The first of the five Passport Oakland events is next Thursday at The Ellington. I'm most excited to hear from Sarah Filley from Popuphood (which I mentioned a few weeks ago). Manifesto Bikes, one of the popup businesses in Old Oakland, has done so well that they are planning to stay there long-term, so its a pretty exciting indicator of how well downtown, and Oakland more broadly, are doing. This should be a cool way to learn about the Oakland real estate market and economy in general, and get to check out another new residential development.


State of the Market
Experts distill local market trends and forecasts & offer valuable insights on key factors affecting Oakland's real estate markets  
Join us on Thursday April 5th from 5:30-7:30pm for an engaging panel discussion followed by cocktails and light hors d'oeuvres in The Ellington's model homes and then head to 288 third from 7:30-8:30pm for an after-hours Miette mixer to network over sweets and coffee. 


Sarah Filley
popuphood Oakland
A small business incubator revitalizing neighborhoods, block by block. Passionate urbanists creating partnerships to solve epic problems, starting with a city they know and love while participating in the global conversation of social entrepreneurship and positive impact.

Carole Rodini
Real Estate Consultant
Carole Rodoni was formerly President of Fox and Carskadon Real Estate, Chief Operating Officer of Cornish and Carey Real Estate, and President of Alain Pinel Realtors.  She is a renowned speaker on the economy and real estate and is currently the President of her own consulting company -- Bamboo Consulting.

Janet Smith-Heimer
MBA, Managing Principal BAE
Janet has specialized in real estate economics and urban development for more than 25 years, and is a nationally recognized expert in affordable housing, economic development, and public-private partnerships. 


Colleen Edwards
The Real Story Blog
News, commentary and tips on how to navigate through the complexities of real estate. With more than 30 years experience as a strategist for the land development and homebuilding industries, The Real Story founder and host, Colleen Edwards, is uniquely qualified to ask insightful questions to the people who will have answers.

Complimentary onsite parking available.

Learn more about Passport Oakland, a month long celebration exploring insider perspectives of living and working in Oakland: www.PassportOakland.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Explore Fun Oakland Events, Get Free Giveaways, and Come to a Party at PCL!

Exciting events are afoot in Oakland in April, and PCL is throwing a party as part of it! To help get the word out about the cool new urban lifestyle communities in Oakland, PCL is part of a series of events at five great places to live in Oakland. Invite your friends and family to our Saturday open house with bike-related fun, food trucks, and more here at PCL on April 21. If you want $100 gift card to Oakland's best restaurants (Ozumo, Pican, Miss Pearl's, Yoshi's), go to all five events (wine tasting, art events, a panel of real estate market experts, our street fair) and just sign in at the sales center when you get there. Want a chance to WIN a $500 Oakland Grown gift card? Simply “Like” Passport Oakland here http://woobox.com/gsd8sm
Passport Oakland is the best way to sample the Oakland Lifestyle! Know someone interested in making a move to Oakland? Be sure to share this month-long opportunity, refer a friend and pick a neighbor! http://www.passportoakland.com

More detail on our PCL event coming in the next few weeks, but for now, mark your calendars and invite your friends for a bike and food event from 11-2 on Saturday, April 21.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Part of why I moved to Oakland is because its sunnier here, but I find that I really love rainy days at PCL because the courtyards are at their best. The landscape design here won a bunch of awards, most notably a national honor award from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2010. And don't get me wrong when I say they are at their best in the rain, because I also love having lunch in the courtyards on a sunny day, or the fact that I pass people who always give a friendly smile or hello every time I come and go in the mornings and evenings. But when it rains the courtyards take on a really lush, jungle-like quality, with the water flowing from the roof, through the river beds of recycled glass, where it softens the edges of everything creating an almost mythical quality to the spaces. Its pretty wonderful.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oakland Approves $7.7 Billion Transportation Bond

Oakland and the East Bay in general are getting serious about making biking, walking, and transit riding much better ways to get around. This recent article on Oakland Insider highlights the big plans coming down the pipe. Here at PCL, we're in probably the most central spot in the East Bay in terms of ability to jump on the freeway and get anywhere. As Jerry Brown put it, we're closer to San Francisco than a lot of San Francisco. But one of the best things about PCL is the great options we have. The AC Transit 26 bus goes by about every 10 minutes during commute hours, so when its raining I can hop on and its a few short minutes to West Oakland BART. When its nice out, the bike ride is easy in any direction, so I can shoot up to Berkeley or North Oakland in about 20 minutes, east to Downtown in about 10, or down to BART in a matter of a few minutes. With these improvements, this all looks to get better. Improvements around BART stations, more money for AC Transit, better bike and pedestrian access on bridges, more bike lanes, and a lot of focus on bike and pedestrian safety are all benefits that will make those alternatives to the car even better.

Oakland approves $7.7 billion transportation plan

Oakland Local edi... Thu, 15 Mar at 12:48am

Oakland morning, by Thomas Hawk, http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/42973035/in/photostream/

From City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan's office:

The Oakland City Council joined several other East Bay cities and the Alameda County Transportation Commission this week in moving forward a $7.7 billion transportation investment plan that could create unprecedented enhancements to area infrastructure, public transit and road quality.

The ATC finalized the plan in late January, which outlines how Measure B funding will be spent if re-authorized in November. Since the commission’s passage, cities including Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro – and now Oakland – also have signed on.

“This plan represents a generation’s worth of job creation, major improvements to the way we get around and a profound improvement to both our infrastructure and our environment,” Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who represents Oakland on the county transportation commission, said. “Thanks to hard work from many leaders and organizations in our community, we’ll be able to fix potholes, support BART and AC Transit, significantly improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and create transit-oriented development projects of the future.”

Kaplan said she thanks the many community members, organizations and other officials across the county for a major victory of collaboration between community advocacy groups and elected officials. She noted that the plan’s development, improvement and passage at the commission was the result of more than 40 meetings with community members and organizations who helped craft and improve the plan to ensure response to community needs, fiscal responsibility and improvement to quality of life and mobility in our communities – including environmental, labor, business, neighborhood organizations, advocates for seniors, youth, bicyclists, pedestrians and more.

The plan includes funding for:

- Public Transit - $3.7 billion / 48 percent (BART, AC Transit, regional rail, etc.)
- Local Road Repair - $2.3 billion / 30 percent (Paving, Pothole Repair, Seismic Retrofits)
- Freeway Repair and Enhancements - $677 million / 9 percent
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Improvements - $651 million / 8 percent
- Transit-Oriented Development Projects - $300 million / 4 percent
- Technology and Innovation - $77 million / 1 percent

Funding for AC Transit, for example, would increase from $18.6 million per year to $40 million initially and again to $63 million by 2023. Enhancements to rail would receive $355 million. Key bridges and roads in need of repair and maintenance also will receive vital support.

The plan includes funding for innovative programs like the Broadway “Streetcar” project, a program to fund free youth bus passes, and a significant increase in support for transit-oriented development – funding that Kaplan noted could significantly mitigate the loss of city redevelopment funding by supporting key projects at the Coliseum BART station, the area surrounding the Lake Merritt BART station and more.

Oakland City Council President Larry Reid, who represents Dist. 7 and serves as Oakland’s other voting representative, also hailed the plan.

“This will create a profound investment to public infrastructure that will create jobs and keep people moving,” Reid said. “Building a coalition to approve this much-needed funding was a dynamic process – and I’m really appreciative of being able to work with Councilmember Kaplan in negotiating on Oakland’s behalf.”

Measure B, first passed in 1986, created a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation and was re-authorized in 2000 with more than 81 percent of the vote. If passed by a two-thirds vote in November, it would re-authorize the tax and extend it to one cent to provide full funding for the plan.

The plan includes comprehensive accountability measures, including the creation of an independent watchdog and requires the commission to regularly review expenditures.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oakland Farmers Markets

There are at least a dozen farmer's markets in Oakland each week. By most accounts, the best is the sunday Grand Lake farmers market.

A recent post describes the Grand Lake Market: It’s easy to see why the Grand Lake – Oakland Farmers Market is widely acclaimed as the best farmers market in the East Bay. Making the most of the cozy Splash Pad Park, this market welcomes over 44 local farmers, 30 specialty food purveyors, and a handful of local artisans. Oakland residents have made a ritual of this farmers market; anxiously awaiting Saturday morning to pick up their fruits and vegetables direct from their farmer and to enjoy lunch on the lawn followed by a quick dip in the Splash Pad fountain.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Community Theater: A great and familiar story

Oakland theatre company holds annual community performance, ice cream social

Kiana Bozeman as Marcy with her neighbors, from left: Grace Poon, Cynthia Carrico, Sidney George Jr., Ben Tucker,Miyoko Sakatani

Kiana Bozeman as Marcy with her neighbors, from left: Grace Poon, Cynthia Carrico, Sidney George Jr., Ben Tucker,Miyoko Sakatani

By Vanessa Rancano

Oakland’s Stagebridge Theatre Company is hosting its 21st Annual Family Matinee and Ice Cream Social this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. the senior theatre company will present “City Green,” a heartwarming musical focused on urban renewal and community action.

Stagebridge’s musical adaptation of DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan’s children’s book incorporates audience participation, live music and a “dancing flower ballet.” Composer Daniel Savio has created a Motown and funk-inspired score for the production, which he performs live, and artistic director Josiah Polhemus has seniors donning flower costumes pirouetting on stage.

“City Green” depicts Marcy and her Brooklyn neighbors. When a building demolition creates a vacant lot in her neighborhood, little Marcy begins a beautification effort. Other neighbors soon join in and the space is transformed into a community garden. Even Old Man Hammer, the resident curmudgeon, eventually takes to the spirit of renewal.

What we really love about it is that there’s this wonderful community garden movement happening in the East Bay,” Tamara Miller, marketing director for Stagebridge, said.

DiSalvo-Ryan will be at both performances discussing her book before the play and answering questions afterwards. She’ll be available to sign books and chat during the ice cream social.

“She’s really excited about this musical,” Miller said, noting that Polhemus worked with the author throughout the adaptation process.

This week, Stagebridge is taking the show to various Bay Area schools for on-campus performances. The theatre also is hosting a few local schools for shows at its Harrison Street home.

Only the two performances this weekend are open to the public. Ticket sales go towards production costs, though Miller said the sales will not cover all expenses.

“This isn’t a money making event for Stagebridge,” she said. “It’s something we’re doing for the community.”

The 33-year-old theatre company is a nonprofit organization that provides performing arts instruction to seniors. Stagebridge also uses acting techniques to train caregivers in an insightful, empathetic approach to eldercare and runs a storytelling program that targets at-risk students at Bay Area schools.

If You Go

When: 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11

Where: Stagebridge, 2501 Harrison St. in Oakland

Tickets: $15 general admission, $5 children 12 and under

Box Office/Details: Visit Brown Paper Tickets here, stagebridge.org or call (510) 444-4755 Ext. 114. For group ticket sales call Jamie Flaherty-Evans at (510) 444-4755 Ext. 122.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More On Oakland's Great Restuarants

Looks like AAA caught the same bug that the New York Times has had for a while and is also covering the awesome Oakland restaurant scene. This is a pretty great summary of the greats, with a nice little list at the bottom to work your way through!

All images and text are from AAA's Via magazine http://www.viamagazine.com/food-wine/fine-dining-oakland

Fine Dining in Oakland

You can find good food anywhere. But great food? Join the diners who’ve discovered the other city by the bay: Oakland, Calif.

Cities change faster than their reputations, none more so than Oakland, a vibrant urban center that defies the easy labels of its past. Long seen as San Francisco’s scruffy stepchild—a place of rough neighborhoods and rowdy Raiders fans—Oakland is more like an upstart sibling rival, with an energetic pulse behind its cultural life. You feel it in the markets, museums, and music venues. And you taste it on the menus, vivid testaments to a culinary scene that equals that of San Francisco, a city more than twice Oakland’s size.

Granted, I’m biased, having lived in Oakland for 20 years. But before you dismiss me as a shallow civic booster, consider that I’m the restaurant critic for San Francisco magazine, paid to dine and opine. Over the past decade I’ve eaten at more than 600 Bay Area restaurants, and I’ve watched my town emerge as the region’s most exciting food frontier.

As early as the 1980s, Oakland had iconic restaurants such as BayWolf and Oliveto, both inspired redoubts of Cal-Med cooking that still operate today. More recently, however, an influx of young chefs, many of them San Francisco transplants, has enriched the mix. They find in Oakland all the ingredients anyone could ever ask for: a sophisticated audience, access to pristine products, and relatively affordable rents. Toss in the city’s remarkable diversity—more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken in Oakland—and you’ve got the makings of a wondrous smorgasbord.

“There’s a reason chefs like me want to be in Oakland,” says Charlie Hallowell, who started off his career at the fabled Chez Panisse in nearby Berkeley. “It’s young, it’s hip, and it lacks some of the pretense you find in San Francisco. It frees you up to do your own thing.”

Hallowell is the chef and owner of Pizzaiolo, in the Temescal District, a hotbed of Oakland’s culinary bloom. True to its name, the restaurant deals in beautiful wood-fired pizzas, topped with everything from house-made sausage to cherry tomatoes and Monterey squid. The pies share space on the menu with inventive antipasti, roasted seafood, and robust braises such as slow-cooked oxtail, the tender meat seasoned with tomato vinaigrette.

The restaurant sits on Telegraph Avenue, the neighborhood’s central artery, flanked on one side by Doña Tomás, a high-minded Mexican restaurant with refreshing margaritas and mole as layered as a Maya citadel.

Up the street just a few doors sits Bakesale Betty, a hopping bakery and sandwich shop. The buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with spicy slaw is a pop star, drawing crowds worthy of a sold-out show.

Follow Telegraph Avenue south for 1.5 miles to the Uptown District, another great grazing zone. Here, in the shadow of chic new condos, you’ll find Picán, which puts a West Coast gloss on Southern classics (think crawfish étoufée laced with thyme oil), and Trueburger, a classic joint gone to finishing school.

Uptown is also home to Daniel Patterson’s Plum, a casual-chic offshoot of two-Michelin-star Coi, the chef ’s marquee restaurant in San Francisco. But the hottest newbie is, to my mind, Hawker Fare, a Thai rice bowl restaurant run by James Syhabout, who earned a Michelin star of his own at Commis, his first Oakland haunt. While Commis is a triumph of technique—that’s edible “soil” on those roasted carrots, composed of hazelnuts and cocoa—Hawker Fare is a tribute to the dishes Syhabout’s Thai mother made for him. Try the slow-poached chicken with mung bean dipping sauce.

No matter where you dine in Oakland, the next memorable meal is never farther than a stone fruit’s throw away. In West Oakland you can find great soul food, like chicken and waffles at Brown Sugar Kitchen; but drive just 10 minutes and you’ll come upon great Seoul Food, on a stretch of Telegraph Avenue north of 27th Street called Koreatown. My favorite stops here include Pyeong Chang Tofu House for roiling hot pots of silken bean curd stew, and the Casserole House, where my wife and I fight over the pork-and-cabbage-dumpling soup, though a bowl holds plenty for two.

From Jack London Square on the waterfront to the Oakland-Berkeley border is about four miles, but the trip amounts to a global tour. You start at Bocanova, a Pan-American outpost for Peruvian-style ceviche or Brazilian feijoada; then wheel through town to Pho Ao Sen, where for a pauper’s price you can get a princely bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup; and continue on to Dopo on Piedmont Avenue, where Jon Smulewitz puts out plump agnolotti and other artful pastas that would make the pickiest of nonnas proud.

Before Smulewitz opened Dopo he cooked at Oliveto, the landmark restaurant that has anchored a corner in Oakland’s Rockridge District for 25 years. The kitchen here favors local purveyors, but the spirit of the cooking is Italian. Crisply executed dishes run the gamut from pancetta-wrapped sea scallops with corn and onion cream to calf ’s-kidney ravioli spiked with aged balsamic vinegar.

It’s no wonder that when people ask me, as they often do, where they should go out to eat in San Francisco, I often direct them east over the Bay Bridge to Oakland.

Photography by Mitch Tobias

This article was first published in March 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

If You're Going:
Bakesale Betty
5098 Telegraph Ave., 985-1213, bakesalebetty.com.
3853 Piedmont Ave., 655-6004, baywolf.com.
55 Webster St., 444-1233, bocanova.com.
Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Pkwy., 839-7685, brownsugarkitchen.com.
Casserole House
4301 Telegraph Ave., 601-6001, casserolehouse.com.
3859 Piedmont Ave., 653-3902, commisrestaurant.com.
Doña Tomás
5004 Telegraph Ave., 450-0522, donatomas.com.
4293 Piedmont Ave., 652-3676, dopoadesso.com.
Hawker Fare
2300 Webster St., 832-8896, hawkerfare.com.
5655 College Ave., 547-5356, oliveto.com.
Pho Ao Sen
1139 E. 12th St., 835-5588, phoaosen.com.
2295 Broadway, 834-1000, picanrestaurant.com.
5008 Telegraph Ave., 652-4888, pizzaiolooakland.com.
2214 Broadway, 444-7586, plumoakland.com.
Pyeong Chang
4701 Telegraph Ave., 658-9040.
146 Grand Ave., 208-5678, trueburgeroakland.com.