After hearing via the SF Business Times a couple weeks back that the developers of the large Jack London Market complex in Oakland had decided to go a more food-manufacturing direction with the space, we were contacted by a representative for the developer who has clarified things a bit. While there are still no tenants who have signed on the dotted line that we can report, and while it may not be a Ferry Building-esque food mall in the end, the plans for the building still include interior retail spaces which will be directly connected to on-site food-crafting. "Think chocolatiers, coffee roasters, butchers, bakers, etc.," says the rep.
So the marketplace concept isn't entirely dead, it's just "evolving," but it remains unclear what the tenant mix will be and how retail-oriented the finished product will be. A critical mass of desirable vendors is likely what the development team has been waiting for all along, given the lack of existing foot traffic to the area.
Grub Street contacted Bar Bambino owner Christopher Losa, who was one of the earlier reported prospective tenants for the building (along with Daniel Patterson who has since opened the new restaurant Haven) with his proposed European-style delicatessen, Mia Filino. "At this juncture, I'm taking a wait and see approach," says Losa, who's been intermittently in contact with developer Jim Ellis for the past three years. Losa says he's encouraged by Haven's early success, but he's unaware of any other food tenants ready to sign leases. "I think the folks like me who were thinking of a non-restaurant concept are a bit more tenuous about the potential," he says.