Uber is taking over Oakland and soon the world


Sarah Carr, Staff member

The company’s controversial growth spurt may change the entire city of Oakland.

Uber has purchased the 7-story Sears building in downtown Oakland, and will be using the space as their future headquarters. The enormous expansion of Uber has also caused the company to create another base in San Francisco’s Mission Bay area.

Since its official launch in SF in 2011, the company’s revenue has grown by 200% per year in its native city, according to an article by Business Insider. Its expansion goes hand-in-hand with the explosion of the tech industry in the Bay Area, but Uber’s new $123.5 million home in Oakland is a new development in the growth of these companies.

Many tech giants have yet to move into Oakland. While some companies have already settled in the East Bay such as Pandora, there are still many that haven’t looked to the area for real estate potential. Uber’s transition has sparked interest among both local residents and tech businesses.

The thought of potential economic development and turning Oakland’s downtown area into a thriving utopia is the optimistic side of the deal. On the other hand driving out the rest of the working class and the culture of the last major city left un-encompassed by the tech scene is the impending fear on the other, expressed in Oakland North’s article about Uber’s move.

Uber is currently one of the fastest growing enterprises in the world, and has captured the attention of critics. Controversy surrounds Uber from California taxi cab companies as well as riders themselves about the un-regulated background inspections of drivers, public transportation licenses, and the absence of fare meters that Uber claims they do not have to take part in due to being a “technology company.”

Some cities such as Sarasota in Florida are giving up on competing with them and are releasing cab companies of certain regulations, according to the Herald-Tribune.

Uber’s growing presence is undoubtedly the reason for its move to Oakland. And classifying themselves as part of the technology boom is what concerns current residents. San Francisco’s drastic culture shift into the tech scene has caused a major upheaval from people who lived there before the price surge of almost everything in the city caused by the companies moving in. And with SF becoming more expensive and more crowded, Oakland could easily look like the next big opportunity.

According to statistics in Finance & Commerce, Oakland has over 4 million square feet of “creative” real estate space that’s 10 percent empty and up for grabs, along with a plan from Oakland Officials to build a new technology park and residential area called “Coliseum City” close to downtown.

This big move by Uber is proving to be more than just its own company expanding, but may be a glimpse into the future of the Bay Area itself.