With a population of 17,000, and 350,000 others living within a 15-mile radius, Albany is part of a large regional retail market stretching from Oakland to Richmond. Located at the juncture of Interstates 80 and 580, the City is traversed by major surface arteries connecting Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Albany's public transportation access includes regional bus system service and is conveniently located adjacent to the El Cerrito BART station. Oakland International Airport is less than a half-hour away.
With a level of taxable sales per resident lower than most East Bay cities, Albany is a prime target for enterprising businesses. The involvement of residents in the development of Solano and San Pablo Avenues indicates strong local interest in better access to shops and services. With high incomes comparable to those found elsewhere in the East Bay, Albany residents comprise a potentially lucrative retail market.
Albany puts an emphasis on environmental and economic sustainability. We are committed to serving businesses with lower development fees than surrounding cities and a friendly can-do attitude towards commercial development. City staff strive to employ an entrepreneurial spirit when assisting new businesses, and we encourage our local residents and employees to use local shops and services.
Albany's Commercial Areas
A pedestrian-oriented street featuring numerous restaurants, coffee shops, a local theater and a variety of small charming retail shops. Typical of a small-town "Main Street", Solano Avenue is a strong regional attraction, and merchant associations sponsor a variety of events throughout the year that draw thousands of shoppers and strollers.
San Pablo Avenue
A well-traveled boulevard of medium-sized storefronts with high traffic counts and great retail potential. Possibilities for combining properties can be explored here. It is currently typified by low-scale, expansive land uses such as auto-related businesses and strip shopping centers. Most recently San Pablo Avenue has seen a number of new mixed use developments combining ground floor retail with 2- and 3-story condominiums or apartments.
The City's Redevelopment Area runs north-south along Interstates 80 and 580. Fronted by East Shore Highway on the south end of the City and Cleveland Avenue to the north, the redevelopment zone is a high visibility location in between two of California's most heavily traveled freeways. Larger retail, light manufacturing, auto sales and service, and other industrial land uses are currently accommodated in this area. The City is also interested in encouraging entrepreneurs in "clean and green" research to consider this area for start-ups, as well as small manufacturing, wholesale or retail sales.
An excellent resource for Financing and Technical Assistance for new and existing businesses in the East Bay is the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, a regional umbrella organization that offers a broad range of assistance to businesses in our area. We urge anyone starting up or expanding a business to visit their website and in particular to review their business resources and incentives page.