Kitchen on Fire duo sign deal for “Break the Recipe Habit” book [Publishers Weekly]
Berkeley’s unemployment rate hits 11.3% [Daily Cal]
Now booking: “Oliver” opens at Berkeley Playhouse Saturday [Coco Times]
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner supports proposed gun ban legislation [CBS5]
Berkeley High freshman team coaches denied funds [Daily Cal]

Photo: Keoki Seu/Berkeleyside Flickr pool.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. It’s anecdotal, not scientific, but as someone who periodically checks the job listings around Berkeley I think the situation got really bad when the bubble burst and I don’t see any serious signs of much new job creation. I don’t expect it to get a whole heck of a lot better in the short term.

    It might be an interesting exercise – though I don’t know quite who could do it and with what resources – to actually do a walking tour and research project taking an inventory of under- and un-used retail spaces, office space, and light industrial space and see just how much latent capacity is lying fallow. I suspect that the number is quite high. It would be interesting to then examine the number of owners represented in that inventory – are we looking at a de facto oligopoly with the resultant negative impacts on pricing? And it would be interesting to look at how badly these properties are debt burdened. In particular (on the debt burden) there seems to be a fair number of economists over the past year predicting second and third wave default crashes first in homes with prime (not sub-prime) mortgages (and that’s happening) – and then / concurrently in commercial real estate (which is happening in the ex-urban malls and some office parks but hasn’t yet heavily struck Berkeley).

    My hypothesis behind these questions is that (a) The most valuable commercial real estate in Berkeley is in fact under largely oligopolistic control with the attending distorting influences on rents; (b) a lot of the commercial real estate is so highly leveraged that owners can’t afford to take the risk of leasing the under- and un-used stuff at the rents the market would afford. So there is kind of a stalemate and I don’t see how it can end well (I don’t put much stock in the current “signs of recovery” of the economy but what do I know).

    It’d be nice to have a clearer, more detailed public picture of the state of the local job creation engine as measured so that we can contemplate changes in public policy.