ULI San Francisco Blog

Event Recap: Oakland’s Development Through Rachel Flynn’s Eyes

ULI San Francisco was honored to welcome Rachel Flynn, Director of the Planning and Building Department in Oakland, to commence the 3rd annual Boardroom After Dark series on July 12, 2016. Boardroom After Dark brings together a small group of ULI members for an intimate dinner with some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most influential real estate industry professionals and leaders.

ULI members enjoyed getting to know Ms. Flynn in an informal setting—learning about her path to the planning department in Oakland, which grew from her training and early career as an architect. Ms. Flynn described how designing on a small scale inspired her desire to have a broader impact on the built environment through city planning. She also reflected on her experiences as director of planning in both Lynchburg and Richmond, Virginia, and how those experiences shape her vision and goals for the City of Oakland.

Boardroom After Dark attendees were able to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Oakland as the city undergoes unprecedented investment and growth. Ms. Flynn shared her strategies for encouraging investment and supporting development while simultaneously meeting the needs and desires of the existing community. She spoke candidly about the new impact fee legislation in Oakland, the difficulty of finding the proper balance between new market rate residential development and affordable housing, her strategies to ensure the city grows in an equitable and inclusive manner, ways in which the city can continue to entice commercial and office tenants downtown, the process of writing the downtown specific plan, and plans to expand and enhance transportation infrastructure city-wide.

Ms. Flynn was optimistic about the potential for continued growth and investment in Oakland, particularly in the office and multifamily sectors.  She praised city staff and her colleagues for their openness to new ideas and expressed excitement about the future of development in the city.

Authored By: Alexandra Stein, Oakbrook Partners | Oakbrook Modular

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