Uber may not move into Oakland after all. The transportation company is now exploring other options, including sale, for the former Sears building it purchased in downtown Oakland, The San Francisco Business first reported and has since been confirmed by TechCrunch.
“As we look to strengthen our financial position so we can better serve riders and drivers for the long term, we’re exploring several options for Uptown Station, including a sale,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We remain committed to serving Oakland and our broader hometown Bay Area community.”
Uber is doing pretty well financially, despite the past several tumultuous months, but it’s looking to improve its margins. By selling the building in Oakland, Uber would be able to cut losses and put itself on track to profitability.
The company would also be able to keep its employees closer together, as opposed to spreading them out across a few different offices as the company undergoes major changes in its leadership department. Uber’s main headquarters is located in downtown San Francisco. When the Golden State Warriors open its buildings in Mission Bay in 2019, Uber plans to occupy some of that space.
Uber purchased the Oakland building for $123.5 million back in 2015 and has been renovating since. Uber’s original plan was to move up to 3,000 employees into the building, located on 1955 Broadway in Oakland. In March, Uber decided to scale that back and instead only move a few hundred employees into the building. The plan at that point was to lease out the rest of its space, which was set to open in Q2 2018.
All of those decisions came in light of Uber facing some criticism for its plans to move into Oakland. Members of the local community feared Uber’s presence would push up housing prices, leading to displacement and gentrification.
Update 3:54pm PT statement from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf : “In the last two years, major companies like Oracle, WeWorks, Blue Shield and now Delta Dental have moved into Oakland. There are few locations in the region which offer such an array of social, economic and transportation benefits as Uptown Station. I look forward to working with the lucky buyer who hopefully will share Oakland’s values of diversity, inclusion and equity.”