OAKLAND (KPIX) — The mobile payment company Square is moving to uptown Oakland. It’s one of the city’s largest real estate deals ever but people have mixed feelings about the tech company’s arrival. They love the jobs and tax revenue but they also worry the move will worsen the housing crisis in Oakland.
“I work in San Francisco, I work in tech and we’re already at the edge of where we can afford to live in a nice place,” said Oakland renter Donald Lang.
Lang said if his rent goes up any more, his family will have to move to a city farther out. He said he’s paying $1,725 a month for a studio that’s about 350 square feet.
He and other people fear Square and its workers will put more pressure on the tight housing market and drive up rents.
“They got tech people coming in. They’re taking over everything. It’s not fair,” said Oakland resident Robert Hardy.
Oakland city leaders say once the renovation is done, Square will move into the Uptown Station building next year. Estimates are that as many as 2,000 tech jobs will be generated.
“I don’t know if the jobs they’re bringing are for all Oakland residents. We need to do more than just having that company. But I’d rather see that company than an empty building,” said Oakland councilman Dan Kalb.
The building has been vacant after Sears departed several years ago. At one time Uber announced it would move in then backed out.
The business community said Square will bring in more tax money for Oakland and foot traffic for nearby restaurants since there won’t be a cafeteria on site.