Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jack London Square revving up, primed for ballpark to anchor it

The Oakland Tribune's George Avalos this week wrote a story of the renaissance going on at Jack London Square. The Square, which for decades has been Oakland's entertainment district, is right next to Howard Terminal, the waterfront site that many believe will one day be the future home of the Oakland A's.

But the news story focuses on the here-and-now of Jack London Square, especially its sizzling scene of new restaurants and taverns. Avalos writes:

"... a developer named (Jim) Ellis has begun to orchestrate a project that could change the face of downtown Oakland ... and transform the waterfront. ...Jack London Square is undergoing a $400 million revival that is bringing to the waterfront new restaurants, entertainment, retail, offices, a hotel and parking."

New companies have moved in, including solar installer Sungevity, and new restaurants such as Bocanova, Hahn's Hibachi, Haven and Miss Pearl's Restaurant & Lounge. The Forge, a pizza and artisan beer establishment, will open next year, Avalos writes. 

"All of the restaurants that we have opened are doing really well," Ellis says in the article. "It's a testament to the emerging dining scene in Oakland."

More new development is planned at Jack London Square, too. Jack London Market -- a public market featuring fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, coffee, baked goods, cheese and prepared foods -- is expected to be a place to dine and shop. According to the article, "other unfinished business is a site for retail and office space and a 250-room hotel at the east end of the project."

Plus, next year, a new restaurant owner is moving into the Miss Pearl's Jam House space, right next to -- you guessed it -- the Howard Terminal site. Now if only there was some kind of new big project that would anchor all of the new energy and entrepreneurial activity going on at Jack London Square. Like, say, a new A's ballpark. It almost makes too much sense.   

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