Uber is coming to Oakland.
In a joint announcement with city officials, the ride-service company announced it's buying a historic department store building at 19th and Broadway and will open a branch of its global headquarters at the site.
The company, still privately held and valued at $50 billion as it continues its worldwide expansion, says it expects 2,000 to 3,000 staffers to work in the Oakland facility when it opens in 2017. If those staffing levels are attained, Uber would become the city's largest non-government, non-hospital employer.
Uber bought the building, which boasts 330,000 square feet of office space, from Lane Partners. The real estate firm had been redeveloping the site, last occupied by Sears last year, into a mixed retail and office development called Uptown Station. The purchase price for the seven-story edifice, long rumored to be the future home of a tech tenant, was not disclosed.
One question that arose immediately about the announcement was whether Oakland officials had offered financial incentives to attract the company.