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Two of the Bay Area’s three largest cities — San Francisco and Oakland — made the top 10 list of the most walkable cities in the country.
San Francisco came in second after New York City while Oakland ranked No. 9.
The rankings were compiled by Walk Score, a Seattle-based company that determines how walkable a neighborhood is for renters and home buyers.
“Being able to walk out your door and be at your destination whether that be your job, school, park, grocery store or restaurant is great for your wallet, health, and quality of life,” said Josh Herst, CEO of Walk Score. “For decades, Americans have tended to drive more every year, but that’s changing. Today commuting by bus, bike and foot are on the rise as more people choose apartments and homes in walkable neighborhoods and with shorter, cheaper and happier commutes.”
The company found that homes in highly walkable areas are becoming more valuable as younger people increasingly prefer to walk than drive, residents of walkable areas weigh on average eight pounds less than those who don’t, and most Americans spend an average of $9,000 per year on a car.
San Francisco earned a score of 84 or Very Walkable, which means most errands can be accomplished on foot. Some of the most walkable neighborhoods include Chinatown, the Financial District, Downtown, the Tenderloin and Telegraph Hill.
Oakland brought in a score of 69 or Somewhat Walkable, which means some errands can be accomplished on foot.
“Oakland isn’t the Bay Area’s second city anymore,” the report states. “With its stunning location on the shores of Lake Merritt and proximity to Silicon Valley employers, it’s come into its own. The ethnically diverse population makes it a cultural playground for food, art, music, and more.”
Here is the top 10 list:
- New York: 87.6
- San Francisco: 83.9
- Boston: 79.5
- Philadelphia: 76.5
- Miami: 75.6
- Chicago: 74.8
- Washington, D.C.: 74.1
- Seattle: 70.8
- Oakland: 68.5
- Baltimore: 66.2
Ellis Partners LLC is revamping its plans to transform Jack London Square with a proposal to build up to 665 housing units.
The developer submitted an application to the City of Oakland to amend a previous development plan. The new plan calls for two housing towers of more than 20 stories on sites currently entitled for office and retail development.
The sites involved are:
- A parcel at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero currently used for surface parking that is across from the former Barnes & Noble store. It was approved for 120,000 square feet of office and retail space.
- A parcel on Embarcadero between Harrison and Alice streets entitled for 135,000 square feet of office. The site is next to the Jack London Market building, which has housing and retail space, and the site of a proposed, 248-room hotel.
Rachel Flynn, Oakland’s planning director, said the city is supportive of allowing the developer to building housing instead of commercial space as long as it activates the area and become landmarks for the neighborhood.
“If they’re not going to have retail, then we want the buildings to be open and have lighting,” she said.
Ellis Partners completed the first phase of its projected, $350 million redevelopment of Jack London Square in 2008. Much of the first phase’s office components leased up to tenants including Sungevity, which moved it’s headquarters to the Jack London Market Building.
The retail part, however, has struggled with the retail component of the market building, about 70,000 square feet, vacant other than Daniel Paterson’s Haven Restaurant and other large retail spaces such as the former Barnes & Noble store empty as well.
The market building was slated to house a multi-level food court and market similar to San Francisco’s Ferry Building or Pike Place Market in Seattle. Last year, Jim Ellis, managing partner for Ellis Partners, said the developer would shift the focus of the market to gourmet food producers who wanted production and retail space. Neither plan materialized.
Meanwhile, housing development is on the upswing in Oakland after laying dormant for close to five years. For the first time in years, developers are proposing hundreds of new units and reviving approved projects.
Several new housing developments have been built in recent years in Jack London Square such as Embarcadero Pacific’s the Bond, Emerald Funds’ the Ellington and Signature Development Group’s 288 Third, giving the area a boost in residents and pedestrian traffic.
Adding more housing to the mix could help entice more retailers, such as a full-service grocery store, to set up shop
Hundreds of seniors are moving into the first phase of Stoneridge Creek, a 635-unit retirement community in Pleasanton.
The developer behind the 46-acre project, Continuing Life Communities LLC, completed 415 units that are offered at between $300,000 and $1 million. About 300 units were reserved before the project was completed.
“The demand was strong and continues to be strong,” said Troy Bourne, vice president of planning for Stoneridge Creek.
The developer, based in Carlsbad, bought the property and 5 acres for a park from the Alameda County Surplus Property Authority and started construction in 2011. The first phase cost more than $100 million to build.
Bourne said the average resident is in their 70s looking for an “all-inclusive” living situation and a community where they can live out their final years.
The way the community works is that residents pay a set amount upfront for a unit and services such as meals, house cleaning, utilities and amenities such as an onsite theater, gym, pool, spa and outdoor areas.
The units in the first phase range from small one-bedroom apartments to large penthouse apartments and single-level homes that are between 700 to 2,500 square feet. The maximum occupancy per unit is two people.
“Our residents are people who have a home they’ve lived in for a number of years and they’ve reached a time when maintaining the home is getting to be too much,” Bourne said.
Demand has been strong with residents coming from through out the East Bay and Peninsula cities, he said. Nationwide, demand for housing that caters to older generations has ballooned as Baby Boomers age and retire.
By 2030, about 18 percent of people in the United States will be age 65 or older, according to the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, that figure was 13 percent in 2010.
Besides retirement communities, the change in demographics has pushed other trends like multiple-generation families living under one-roof and cooperative housing developments.
Continuing Life plans to build another 220 units at Stoneridge Creek and already has a waiting list of about 50 prospective residents. Those units could get underway in the next few years. Bourne said the developer wants to see which types of units sell best during the first phase.
Stoneridge Creek will also includes 68 assisted living apartments and a 73-bed skilled nursing facility that will be ready for residents in 2014.
The California Staffing Professionals was honored at Staffing World® 2013, the annual convention and expo of the American Staffing Association, held Oct.8-10 in Orlando. CSP received The Chapter Achievement Award and Legislative Showcase Award for its outstanding programs and chapter efforts during 2013.
CSP Past President, Joe Mackey, CSP, accepted the award from ASA chairman, Bob Livonius, at a special award ceremony during the convention.
ASA evaluated state associations on their support of the staffing industry through chapter meetings, special events, educational seminars, government relations activities, and community outreach efforts, and honored chapters with the most outstanding programs with merit awards.
CSP is an association for staffing companies in California. The staffing industry in California employs an average of 307,468 temporary and contract employees per day.
ASA and its affiliated chapters advance the interests of staffing and recruiting firms of all sizes and across all sectors through legal and legislative advocacy, public relations, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. ASA members provide the full range of employment and work force services and solutions, including temporary and contract staffing, recruiting and permanent placement, outplacement and outsourcing, training, and human resource consulting.
To learn more and become an active member of CSP like Community Staffing Resources has visit: http://www.cspnet.org/
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