oWOW Creates Revolutionary Product

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“Artist rendition of the ‘West Oakland Works’ proposed development project.” Courtesy of Jeremy Harris.

oWOW is an Oakland-based company that is committed to changing the way we think about real estate development and its long-term impacts on neighborhoods and communities.

The company’s goal is to construct adaptable and affordable spaces for any income. Paired with socially conscious community integration to ultimately create innovative project solutions with long-term sustainable value, oWOW is putting equity back into the hands of the communities they reside in.

oWOW’s newest project, West Oakland Works, is located at 2715 Adeline Street, and is taking a 25+ years vacant blighted warehouse as well as two vacant parcels at the cusp of the residential and industrial zone intersection, proposing to create West Oakland’s first and only active employment generator.

West Oakland Works will be the first ground-up work/live project in Oakland, where the focus would be on enabling the community to build itself up in a long term sustainable way. Through combining workspaces and living to incentivize people to bring small businesses to West Oakland, then live in their business space at no additional cost.

Chef Rashad Armstead of the Black Food Collective. Courtesy of Rasad Armstead.

“It’s taking two separate costs and putting it into one,” said oWOW CEO Danny Haber. “This concept opens up larger financial opportunities to a larger diversity of groups. We have paired with real community engagement and network of project programs to foster and provide minority-owned businesses a pathway to build equity in their business, and put wealth back into their families and community.”

Food Network Chopped Champion and local restaurateur Rashad Armstead will develop, create and coordinate nearly 10,000 SF of space on the ground floor to operate the outdoor public town hall, which will be comprised of 12 renovated shipping containers, turned into Black-owned pop-up restaurants. It will include everything from beer and wine bars, BBQ, steakhouse, seafood, creole, Jamaican and African delicacies.

“Our goal is to recreate the cultural experience of businesses that was once a part of the West Oakland landscape,’ said Armstead.  “The area will also feature a 6,000 SF commissary kitchen and community event space, for people who want to start their own food business in Oakland. It’s about creating wealth in the Black community.”

“We will be running a “food boot camp” through my organization, Black Food Collective, to help food entrepreneurs understand the process from start to finish.  The town hall will help budding business operators go through the necessary training.”

“And not all will make it,” added Armstead. “Our initial training is expected to start in three months which will lead us into the development of our town hall and commissary kitchen. We plan to open the commissary kitchen within 15 months of construction starting.”

The largest innovation of this project comes from the creation of Oakland’s first newly-constructed 91 Work/Live workspaces that range between 800 SF – 2,000 SF areas. Each unit boasts very large bona fide work spaces and 16-foot-high ceilings, large double doors and paths for freight loading, and complete ADA accessibility for potential employees or clients.

Work/Live is a type of small business workspace where a tenant can run their full business operation while having the opportunity to live in the unit at no additional cost.  An estimated 200+ jobs will be created as part of these workspaces.

In order to make this vision a reality, oWOW established a combined for-profit and nonprofit workforce development task force. Their role is to help guide the project as a kind of community advisory board. They will alsol prepare businesses with technical assistance to qualify, focusing on minority and African-American-owned businesses by providing marketing, business development and other services to get the business up and running,  and help provide long-term supportive resources to sustain these businesses onsite long-term.

If you are interested in leasing a space now, they are offering rent subsidies to the qualifying local business owners. Email [email protected] to sign up before it sells out!

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