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Big Win for Black Owned Real Estate & Black Artists in Oakland

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Oakstop’s purchase of its flagship building represents a big win for art, artists, entrepreneurship, and Black real estate ownership in the Bay Area.  Oakstop not only provides very flexible rental spaces for businesses, non-profits, and artists, but they also make sure to feature the work of Black artists, using the wall space to exhibit their work and host artist-fueled events too.

The video ‘The Shape of Blackness’ below. is just one example of the dope art programming happening at different Oakstop spaces in Oakland:

Oakstop partnered with Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) on the acquisition of the building in downtown Oakland. CAST invested $2.5 million in the project, with additional lending support from Community Vision, in another move towards empowering Bay Area arts non-profits and creative entrepreneurs to own their own buildings, so that a massive portion of non-profit donations DO NOT have to go into some corporate landlord’s pockets, but rather towards securing the future of the non-profits themselves and the causes they are needed for.

CAST also organized the purchase and renovation of a beautiful multi-use art space in SF’s SOMA district recently. ‘447 Minna’ now serves as flexible rental space for arts and non-profits.  Read more here. 

Purchasing large commercial real estate takes meticulous planning, fundraising, and long-term thinking.  So after years of work, this is a big ‘win’ for Oakstop, Black real estate ownership, and a Black artist-led non-profit that focus on growing the local community and entrepreneurship.  Below is more information on the purchase, the building, and the players involved via our friends at CAST.

Oakstop’s first location at 1721 Broadway in downtown Oakland, photo courtesy of Oakstop.

Oakstop, the fifth largest flexible space provider in the San Francisco Bay Area, has purchased its original 25,000 square foot building at 1721 Broadway for $8 million to anchor its campus of five locations in downtown Oakland. The purchase represents the latest iteration of Oakstop’s nine-year track record for using commercial real estate as a vehicle for advancing social impact and economic mobility.

The historic Art Deco building consists of three levels of retail and office space that Oakstop has popularized for a vast range of uses including coworking, events, company off-sites, classes, pop-ups, art exhibits, and other community-centered events. Oakstop’s versatile “Space as a Service” model provides short-term affordable rentals of commercial space and has actively engaged the community since 2014, expanding from an initial 4,000 square foot suite to owning and operating the entire 25,000 square foot building.

“We’ve always viewed the space as a resource for the whole community with a specific focus on prioritizing the needs of the Black community,” said Trevor Parham, founder and CEO of Oakstop. “Black-owned real estate represents an even greater resource and catalyzes even more possibilities for creating long term social and economic impact for the whole community.”

Oakstop is partnering with Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) on the acquisition. CAST invested $2.5 million in the project, with additional lending support from Community Vision. To date, Oakstop’s commercial real estate footprint includes 80,000 square feet of coworking and event space across six East Bay locations, five of which make up a veritable campus in Downtown Oakland for the city’s community to work, gather, and grow.

“Working with Oakstop is a natural fit for CAST because we both understand how impactful equitable access to and ownership of space can be, especially for those who are most at risk of being displaced,” said CAST Interim Co-CEO Carolyn Choy. “CAST has long admired Oakstop’s support of Oakland’s artists and creative entrepreneurs–forging connections and strengthening the ecosystem for the whole sector. This acquisition is a major milestone, the first of many on Oakstop’s road to full ownership and control of the facility, and is one to be celebrated.”

Oakstop and CAST have partnered on space-related programming since 2018 and started working on the acquisition of 1721 Broadway in March 2021. CAST also holds a private office at Oakstop and is committed to the ongoing partnership to support Oakstop’s programming and activities as they work together on business operations and the building’s long-term structural sustainability.

“Owning the real estate secures a permanent presence for the Oakstop model which champions flexible uses of commercial space for individuals and organizations. The balance of permanence and flexibility is key to addressing the commercial vacancy rates in downtown,” noted Parham.

Commercial vacancy rates in downtown Oakland’s office market grew from 18.7% pre-pandemic to 34% at the start of 2023, leaving commercial real estate owners without tenants and depriving downtown Oakland of its vibrance and community activities. However, the flexible workspace market is expected to reach an all-time high of $11.52B by the end of 2023, which has particularly favorable implications for Oakstop as the rate for Bay Area employees working remotely exceeds 33%, in comparison to 18% of American employees. Oakstop’s “Space as a Service” business model captures a significant market opportunity by responding to the needs of employers and remote workers, while also cultivating downtown’s ongoing vitality.

Oakstop’s market viability is further augmented by its ecosystem of customers, guests, partners, and neighbors who continuously add value to the business and those who use its services. Oakstop harnesses the value of its ecosystem to drive its social impact programs, collectively known as The Oakstop Effect, that focus on workforce development, business support services, and professional development for artists. It is this ecosystem that cultivated Oakstop’s partnership with CAST. In addition to its investment, CAST is providing development consulting and a longer term strategy for financing facility upgrades to the project. CAST’s work in Oakland first began in 2016 through Keeping Space – Oakland, a program it established to provide training and funding for Oakland arts and cultural organizations seeking real estate assistance.

The partnership represents new possibilities for activating commercial real estate and mitigating displacement for artists and communities of color. As a next step, Oakstop is launching a collective ownership model for its employees and workforce development participants, most of which are Black artists based in Oakland, who will benefit from having ownership of a business that owns real estate in downtown Oakland. The combination of real estate ownership and employee ownership is a model for job creation and wealth creation that Oakstop and CAST can proliferate both locally and nationally as their partnership evolves.

Oakstop Bought A Building!

Fri, May 19, 2023 11:00 AM – 01:00 PMPDT

1721 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612, USA

Oakstop and CAST invite you and your community to a ribbon-cutting ceremony in celebration of arts, entrepreneurship, and Black real estate ownership.

Your RSVP is required, so please let them know if you plan to attend so that we have an accurate guest count. Feel free to share this invite and bring other guests as well.

You may also make a tax deductible donation to The Oakstop Effect to support our impact programs focused on workforce development, business support services, and arts programming.

Visit to learn more about Oakstop’s flexible space offerings for artists, startups, non-profits, and other organizations. Organizations interested in working with Oakstop can contact for more information on partnership opportunities.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor and co-owner of this little expiriment. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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