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Economic Development works closely with the Redevelopment Agency to spur growth and development in Oakland.
Tenant Improvement Program and Façade Improvement Program - These programs offer architectural assistance and matching grants for improvements to commercial property on targeted streets within Redevelopment Areas. The Tenant Improvement Program provides grants for interior spaces and the Façade Program provides grants for the improvement of building exteriors.
Brownfields Programs: Property Reutilization
A top priority of the City of Oakland is to encourage in-fill development by reutilizing brownfields, which are underutilized sites where reuse is complicated by the real or perceived threat of environmental contamination. Several innovative programs are in place to encourage and foster development of brownfields.
The Cal ReUSE Environmental Site Assessment Loan Program provides loans for site assessments of brownfields parcels. The program allows for loan terms of up to five years and maximum loan amounts of $300,000. Loans may be used for site assessments and characterization costs, technical assistance, and other costs necessary to provide an understanding of the extent of contamination, and to assist in the remediation planning and regulatory process.
The City of Oakland was an inaugural partner for the Cal ReUSE Loan Program and was the first in the state to process a loan when one was awarded to the MacArthur Transit Village project in July 2002.
The City of Oakland has also developed the Oakland Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund with funds provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the cleanup of brownfields sites. The goal of the program is to put these sites back to beneficial use, thereby regenerating sections of the city, creating jobs, and enhancing tax revenues. Allowable uses include removing, mitigating, or preventing the release or threat of release of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
Through the Urban Land Redevelopment (ULR) Program, the City of Oakland provides a well-defined process for addressing contamination at development sites. The ULR Program takes a pragmatic approach towards site cleanup, emphasizing common sense, scientifically sound solutions that base cleanup standards on the actual risk posed to current and future site users. This approach can save time and money. For more details on these brownfields programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the City of Oakland Brownfields Action Team Hotline at 510.238.3741.
OBDC Finance manages all business loans under $249,500 for the City of Oakland. OBDC provides business assistance to entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional bank financing. To learn more about its loan products, business assistance services, and business resources, visit the OBDC website or call 510.763.4297.
Enterprise Zone Tax Credits
The Enterprise Zone program offers businesses that reside within its borders the opportunity to reduce their State business income tax through a variety of tax benefits. Businesses located in the Enterprise Zone are automatically eligible for Zone benefits. There is no certification process. For example, a business located in the Enterprise Zone can receive tax credits every time it hires an eligible new employee or purchases qualified new machinery or pollution control devices. Tax credits are also available to lenders who make loans to businesses in the Zone, and to low income employees who work in the Zone
For more information go to the Economic Development Enterprise Zone webpage.
Business Tax and Sales Tax Incentive Program
Jobs and Tax Base Stimulus Initiative
In October 2009, the City launched the Jobs and Tax Base Stimulus Initiative to attract more medium and large employers to Oakland. The primary objectives of the initiative are to create jobs for Oakland residents and grow the City’s tax base. Under the program, eligible businesses with 20 or more employees can receive two years worth of business and sales tax incentives when they move to Oakland.
This incentive for new businesses augments the array of incentives, services and resources the City has for existing Oakland businesses, including Enterprise Zone tax credits, the Business Access Center, Oakland’s network of Business Service Organizations, and partnerships with lending institutions like OBDC Small Business Finance and the U.S. Small Business Administration, which provide critical access to capital for existing Oakland businesses of all sizes.
In addition to retail, the following targeted industry clusters were identified as having the greatest economic growth potential for Oakland:
- Health Care & Life Sciences
- International Trade & Logistics
- Green Technology
- Creative Arts & Digital Media
- Specialty Foods Manufacturing
Business Tax Incentive
The Business Tax Incentive Program applies to businesses with 20 or more employees relocating from outside of Oakland into Oakland city limits. Under the program, eligible new Oakland businesses can receive full or partial waivers on their business tax payments for up to three years.
Sales Tax Incentive
The Sales Tax Incentive Program reimburses retailers with 20 or more employees up to 50% of the City portion of their sales tax for a maximum of three years.
For more information
EB-5 Visa Program
Oakland is home to two EB-5 regional centers which seek to attract entrepreneurial immigrants to engage in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and directly create at least ten full- time jobs. To learn more, visit the EB-5 Visa page.