oakland 1 Photo: Jesse Richmond/Flickr

New buildings continue to change Oakland’s skyline, but the city’s older landmarks haven’t been forgotten. Latham Square, a visually arresting public space nestled between the major thoroughfares of Broadway and Telegraph Avenue, is just one space that’s recently been brought back to life. The area serves as a go-between for Oakland’s emerging Uptown neighborhood and entertainment district, and it just reopened after a $7-million renovation. 

Key changes include a larger pedestrian walking space, new traffic signals and repaired infrastructure below the street level. The hope is that those alterations will make Latham Square a cultural hub once again, making space for buses, cars, bicycles, pedestrians and hoverboardsthe tech industry’s preferred mode of transportation.

The square’s fountain is also fully functional and gurgling pleasant water sounds for the first time in 75 years. During a news conference, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf proclaimed it to be “a magical space” that “brings our present into our past, and into our future.” Sounds like a space-time continuum problem to us, but city officials probably took that into consideration.

oakland 2 Photo: Latham Square Building

oakland 3 Photo: Latham Square Building

Latham Square is only expected to become further energized as time goes on, and the nearby Latham Square Building is a testament to future growth. The building was designed by Maury Diggs in the 1920s, and a $17-million renovation is now nearly complete. It boasts a new lobby, earthquake protection and a restored street-level facade, and is reportedly already 90 percent occupied.

Tech companies such as Omicia and Fluid are moving their headquarters from San Francisco to the Latham Square Building, and building owner Ridge Capital Investors believes it’s a sign of things to come. “This creative, open-look space – it shows really well, and the tenants really like it. We’re one of the few buildings that can really offer it” in Oakland, Trevor Wilson, the company’s managing director, told the San Francisco Business Times.

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