Why Chron Placed Jack London Story On Page One

Oakland redevelopment is the story of the day.  In the San Francisco Chronicle’s top story about Jack London Square, we’re getting acknowledged and slightly dissed.

The Chron’s print edition featured “Remaking Jack London Square,” with continuations titled as “Lure of Jack London Square is in doubt” and “Jack London Square – a boon or bust?” In the online edition, the header said “Jack London Square’s future remains uncertain.”

Yes, We React Pridefully

According to Chron reporter Robert Selna, “questions remain about whether the waterfront district can become a regional food and entertainment mecca even in good times.”  He’s certainly trying to get balanced input, and is entitled to his own, substantiated views.

The accompanying photos are amusing, as they depict people traipsing around in the recent rainstorm.  Whether intentional or not, that dreary weather isn’t remotely representative of the Jack London Square experience.  Where’s our climate-perfection?

This Chron piece seems to peer through a West Bay prism, trying to keep cool.  Selna reports that “Oakland’s pull has disappeared now that rents have come down in San Francisco.”  Do we detect some concern there?  You bet.

Yes, We Acknowledge Challenges

It’s almost a tautology, because redevelopment brings obvious challenges and opportunities to Oakland.  The Jack London Market does need more takers.  The office buildings must attract occupants, in droves.  We accept there are too many vacancies, and that’s par for the recessionary course.

Even in non-recessionary times, though, it takes time for a place to catch on.  New great restaurants are establishing themselves now, drawing destination diners to the Square.  Imagine if the Oakland A’s also ended up nearby, thus creating a SOMA-like vibe.  It’s all about making strides.

Yes, We Understand Interest

From the West Bay, there may be a little undercurrent of jealousy (gasp) about Oakland’s gumption.  Maybe our hipster thing, where we are seen as Brooklyn, is starting to take hold.  Maybe the idea that creatives and young professionals choose to live here – and can afford it – is validated too.

We’re not disputing the Chron story’s facts, development challenges, vacancies, current economy or reality.  Today the newspaper devoted tons of black ink to inspecting Oakland’s estuary mojo.  There’s something happening here, and it ain’t exactly clear.  We’ll wear those rose-colored glasses for now.

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