By After announcing plans to bring thousands of new jobs to Oakland, Uber is looking to sell the Uptown Oakland building it purchased for office space in September 2015.
“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,” Uber spokesperson MoMo Zhou said in a statement. “We remain committed to serving Oakland and our broader hometown Bay Area community.”
The company, which recently saw CEO Travis Kalanick resign amid allegations of a toxic workplace culture and sexual harassment, is looking to sell the building as part of a broader effort to cut losses and gain profitability, Uber officials said.
The company would also like to keep employees in one place, rather than spread across different offices. Representatives said Uber would continue to lend some charitable support, noting that the company donated $70,000 toward college educations for Oakland public school students and gave free rides to local organizations.
Uber officials did not respond to questions regarding the status of renovations to the Uptown Station building, located at 20th Street and Broadway, or their plans if they don’t find a buyer. The building dates back to 1929, when it was then H.C. Capwell’s Department Store. Sears occupied it until 2014, and it has been vacant since.
When Uber purchased the property in 2015, renovations were already underway. Enthusiastic city officials, including Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, announced the sale at a press conference at City Hall alongside company representatives.
At the time, the company said it planned to move as many as 3,000 employees into the building, which would have made it one of Oakland’s largest employers.
But in March, Uber bought space next to the new Golden State Warriors arena under construction in San Francisco. At the time, the company said it still planned to have a presence in Oakland, but only about 200 workers instead of the 2,000–3,000 initially promised.
Orson Aguilar, president of the minority advocacy group the Greenlining Institute, co-founded the No Uber Oakland campaign in part, he said, because they never saw evidence of a commitment to Oakland despite the company’s rhetoric.
“Uber, sadly, never had any interest in a real partnership with Oakland,” Aguilar said.
“We hope going forward that city leaders will be more wary of large corporations coming into our town, and will push big businesses—including whoever buys this building from Uber—to help build an Oakland that’s diverse and affordable for working families, nonprofits and the arts community.”