Tribune Tower in Oakland up for Sale, Could Attract $50MM

By Jon Peterson

Emeryville-based Harvest Properties and White Plains, N.Y.-based True North Management have put up for sale the 95,000 square-foot Tribune Tower office building located at 409 13th Street in Oakland. The price point on the sale could be as high as $50 million, according to several sources aware that the asset is on the market.

Harvest did not respond to several phone calls seeking comment for this story. The San Francisco team of NKF Capital Markets is the listing agent on the sale.

Should the projected sales price be reached, it would allow the buyer still to come in at below replacement cost, according to sources. They also indicated that the current level of replacement cost of office buildings in Oakland is at $700 per square foot.

The new owners will be given a chance to add some value to the asset going forward. The current occupancy of the property is in the 70 percent range. There should be good demand for the space, since occupancy in the Oakland Central Business District for office buildings is at a mid 90-percent level as of the middle of 2018.

The current owners of the property had acquired the building in 2016 for $20.4 million. The asset was vacant at that time. Following the acquisition, the owners placed at least $20 million in the asset for improvements. The work included significant structural upgrades and making the asset more appealing to creative office tenants.

The Tribune Tower has a strong location from a public transportation perspective. It’s situated one-half block from the 12th Street/City Center BART stop. The building is an iconic structure that in many ways defines the city of Oakland and is a recognizable landmark in the Bay Area. The 22-story tower was constructed in 1923, and during that decade was the tallest building in the city. The architecture of the tower, much like The Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus (officially the Sather Tower), was inspired by St Mark’s Campanile in Venice, Italy, according to the building’s web site on Wikipedia. The building was home to the city’s newspaper, Oakland Tribune, and the word “Tribune” still defines the building today.