OAKLAND (KCBS) – Economic development has been slow in Oakland. The city has been plagued by a down economy and high unemployment and foreclosure rates. But a new “popup” neighborhood is evolving, filling vacant storefronts in downtown Oakland.

Old Oakland near Broadway and Ninth Streets is a charming area with brick sidewalks, Victorian architecture, and full-grown trees. However, the area is also full of empty storefronts.

“This is an ideal neighborhood,” said Alfonso Dominguez who has run nearby Tamarindo Mexican restaurant for seven years. “You want to eat, drink, shop and walk. The one thing that’s lacking here is the shopping part.”

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

So Dominguez and his friend Sarah Filly founded “Popuphood” to work with the city to revitalize and bring retail to the neighborhood.

“I think micro-economics and taking over the cities as a new generation, we have to rethink the way we think,” said Dominquez.

“We’re moving away from the big box stores, and we’re moving towards a more local culture that reflects who lives here and who shops here,” said Filly.

Five retailers will get six months rent-free from landlord Peter Sullivan and Associates, after which they will have the option to sign a long term lease.

“On the corner will be a bike store named Manifesto Bicycles, which is an incredible mom and pop shop with another location at 40th and Webster,” said Dominguez.

Other shops on 9th will include Marion and Rose’s Workshop, which will feature products made by artists, an accessories store, Sticks and Stones Gallery, and Piper and John, which is a California lifestyle store. There are also plans for a sixth store, a furniture design gallery in a shipping container to be placed in a nearby parking lot.

“So it’s ready to go for retail,” said Tilly. “It’s a prime corner location with windows all around.”

“Popuphood sounds like it’s going to be here for awhile and then go away, but the core idea of the project is that it’s an incubator project for bringing retail back to Oakland,” said Dominguez.

The Oakland Economic Development Agency will provide ongoing advice and marketing support to the business owners. The grand opening is set for December 9.

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