SKB draws creative tenant mix to former steel plant in West Oakland 

Artisan brewery, plastics company and solar firm find space in revamped facility

SKB's Todd Gooding with rendering of American Steel mixed-use development
SKB's Todd Gooding with rendering of American Steel mixed-use development (ScanlanKemperBard, JLL, JRDV Architecture, Getty)

ScanlanKemperBard has revamped a former American Steel complex in West Oakland for technology, biotech, advanced manufacturing and clean-energy firms.

The Portland, Oregon-based developer has drawn new tenants to the 440,000-square-foot industrial complex at 1960, 1980 and 2140 Mandela Parkway, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Other building sites include 2341 Peralta and 1625 24th streets.

“This project is creating new energy in West Oakland,” Kristi Childers of JLL, which is marketing the site, told the newspaper. “It’s creating jobs in the city. This center is helping emerging companies grow in Oakland.”

ScanlanKemperBard, also known as SKB, and an unidentified capital partner bought the century-old industrial complex in 2021 for $82.5 million.

It then redeveloped two main buildings at the former steel plant and artists’ colony and its satellite campus for an undisclosed cost.

The result, designed by JRDV Architects of Oakland, is a new hub for cutting-edge companies.

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They include Pyka, a maker of a pilotless and electric cargo planes; Limelight Steel, a creator of technologies to produce iron and steel with low emissions; ReSource Chemical, inventor of sustainable systems to make plastics; Molten Industries, commercializing ways to produce clean and low-cost hydrogen; and Brix Factory Brewing, a maker of artisan beers, according to the Mercury News.

Other tenants include Fluxion Biosciences; Magrathea, a tech startup; Biosphere, a biotech firm; and Planted Solar, a clean energy firm.

Spaces in the former American Steel and Pacific Pipe buildings range from 3,000 square feet to  to 30,000 square feet, according to a JLL brochure. A block away from the main complex is a site near the corner of Mandela Parkway and Peralta Street, with much smaller spaces.

“The goal is to adapt the industrial structure to the changing needs of makers, artists, technology and other creative work businesses in West Oakland,” JRDV Architecture states on its website. “The ‘flexible-futures’ strategy will allow the buildings to adapt to the changing economic dynamic of West Oakland.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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