RECAP: Community Forum on Kaiser Convention Center Redevelopment

Posted: March 22nd, 2019 10:08 AM

Last Updated: April 10th, 2019 2:07 PM

[UPDATE ON MARCH 29, 2019]

Orton Development responded to the community feedback and questions from our March 2nd Community Forum. Councilmember Bas is sharing these responses publicly to continue to inform and engage the community in this major development project.

If we do this right, Oakland can achieve:

  • Long-term affordability and accessibility to a unique space for arts, community and nonprofit organizations
  • Quality jobs for local residents, with training pathways rooted in our local institutions
  • Cultural equity for our arts community that stems the tide of displacement and allows our artists, culture workers and organizations to stay and thrive
  • Connectivity with neighbors, institutions and plans including Eastlake, Chinatown, Black Arts Movement Business District, Black Cultural Zone, Laney College, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Oakland Museum of California and the City’s plans such as Lake Merritt Station Area Plan, Downtown Oakland Specific Plan, and Cultural Plan.

See Orton's response to the community's questions and feedback.


On Saturday, March 2, more than 150 community members joined Councilmember Bas' office and Laney College Facilities Planning Committee to hear about Orton Development's proposal to redevelop the historic Kaiser Convention Center into a performing arts venue and space for nonprofit and arts organizations. While there was a positive response to the proposal’s focus on arts and nonprofit organizations, there was also healthy skepticism about detailed plans for access, affordability, cultural equity, good local jobs, and public participation.

We invited community groups like Eastlake United for Justice, Oakland Chinatown Coalition, Black Arts Movement Business District (the organizers of Bambdfest:2019), Eastside Arts Alliance, Oakland Ballet, and IATSE Local 107 (Stagehands Union) to share their responses, needs, and hopes for the project.

Community members had many questions for the development team — from questions on design and function to those focused on timeline, costs / affordability, cultural equity, good jobs & local hire, community engagement, and impact on the surrounding areas, institutions, residents, unsheltered neighbors and more.

We created this summary of the community's comments and questions raised at the forum.

Councilmember Bas is sharing this feedback with the developer, the City’s Economic & Workforce Development Department, City Council, the Oakland Planning Commission, and the public. Please help share the summary with more neighbors. We are committed to working with Orton and the City to obtain and share answers to the questions raised, as well as to maximize community engagement in this project so it yields the highest public benefit.

The project is on the Planning Commission agenda for April 3, 2019.

If you haven't already shared your opinion on the project, please do so here. Thank you for continuing to voice your perspectives on projects like this one, the Parkway Theater proposal, and Downtown Oakland Specific Plan.