OAKLAND, CA—A maker of doormats from recycled tires is relocating to Stockton, a move symbolic of the rising rents for all types of commercial space in the San Francisco Bay Area. After 15 years in the city, Huffco Inc. is relinquishing its hold on 40,000 sf here for 57,000 feet in Stockton. Some are calling it another sign that Oakland is at risk of losing its blue-collar tradition.

Despite news of a building owner backlash against risky dot-com tenants, the Internet is a key cog that is driving the Bay Area’s current economy, Richard Marshall, an industrial broker for Cushman & Wakefield, told GlobeSt.com. The greater demand and altered use for space these tenants are creating has prompted rents for industrial space to rise approximately 30% from a year ago, he said.

Another byproduct of the trend is the expansion of Silicon Valley to a wider stretch of the Bay Area, most recently to cities like Emeryville, Oakland and San Leandro. Industrial properties in these communities are undergoing conversions for new uses by telecom and dot-com sector players as well as loft and condo developers.

Further fall-out of the strong regional economy is the fact that housing prices remain historically high and the problem of workers being able to afford to live in close proximity to their jobs. That factor also played a large part in Huffco’s decision, Marshall said.

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