Oakland's vacancy for buildings is lowest in the country

Driving or walking around downtown Oakland all you have to do is look up and you'll see cranes in the air, as a lot of construction is going on. City officials say it’s been 12 years since this many projects were going on at one time. It’s a big boost for the Bay Area, but it comes with a high cost.   

"We've seen vacancy plummet down to five percent. Oakland actually has the lowest vacancy of any major market in the United States going on four years now,” said Grant Jones, Senior Vice President of CBRE.   

The commercial brokerage firm said the entire bay area is in single digit vacancy. Jones said many businesses want to be based in our area.  However, often times they're priced out. 

"It really started with San Francisco having the large tech tenants displaced. Some of the professional service firms, like lawyers, engineers and non-profits came over here because there's value in coming to Oakland," said Jones.  

Blue Shield will occupy 200,000 square feet at a site currently under construction. The University of California, Berkeley is also leasing space on another site. However, with so much demand comes other issues.  

"With that comes some high rent. That’s one of the things that concerns us because we want to keep the businesses that are here, here. We want to keep Oakland, Oakland," said Oakland Director of Economic Development Mark Sawicki.

San Francisco came in second in the study. Experts say being on the BART line has helped both cities. But with such a high demand for office space, they say neighboring cities are about to get a boost.  
You can go over to Alameda, or over to the Oakland Airport, and there are still some cheaper rents, said Jones.  

Jones says rent space for Oakland is only 10 to 15 percent cheaper than San Francisco. Still, people are moving to Oakland because they want to be here. And the city is also building a lot of housing for those coming to “The Town.”