It was hard to read the news that Yahoo! was moving its San Francisco headquarters to the old San Francisco Chronicle building at 5th and Mission and not embark on a vivid fantasy about some other big dot-com companies moving to downtown Oakland — specifically, to the Tribune Tower building.
“I love the symbolism of moving into the Chronicle building, as it personifies the digital revolution in how people around the world consume media,” is what the Jacqueline Reses, Yahoo!’s chief development officer, said on Yahoo!’s tumblr blog. She adds, “We’ll have a fabulous on-site environment, including great food, a game room, collaborative work stations, and ample room for teams to work together and have fun.”
Given that HUB Oakland, Call Socket, Pandora, Ask.com, SparkArt, Tech Liminal, and many other tech companies are already clustered in Oakland, is it unreasonable to imagine a Yahoo!, Google, Twitter, or similar big company that is now renting in Silicon Valley and/or San Francisco might want to move downtown?
On the other hand, San Francisco doesn’t have the history of demonstrations, protests, window-breaking, BART station shut-downs and general chaos that is both a strong part of Oakland’s present and its labor-driven past. Those problems have been so acute in recent months that some of Oakland’s tech companies are saying privately that, until we get a better synch between the Mayor and the police department around quality of life issues, recruiting more tech companies to Oakland has some challenges.
The companies that would want to move here would need managers that valued affordable real estate, great transportation, a good climate and a truly diverse community over some of the really frustrating disruptions Oakland has endured.
What do you think? Any candidates you’d suggest move from San Francisco and Silicon Valley to Oakland?