Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center Adaptive Reuse Project

Through an RFP process, the City entered an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with Orton Development, Inc. for the adaptive reuse of this historic building on the southern shore of Lake Merritt.


The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center opened in 1914. The building is an Oakland-designated historic landmark and has been rated "A" (Highest Importance) by the Oakland Cultural Survey. The building is located between Lake Merritt Boulevard and 1Oth Street, just west of the Lake Merritt Channel and immediately east of the Oakland Museum of California. The building address is 10 10th Street.

In 2005, the City Council voted to close the building when the City's operating costs became too expensive to sustain. The building remains closed and is in increasing disrepair. On September 22, 2014, the City issued a Request for Proposals ("RFP") from real estate development teams to rehabilitate, adaptively reuse and operate the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center under a long-term lease with the City. The City is not selling the property. The RFP requested creative adaptive reuse proposals for the building and outlined several key goals and requirements for the project. Most broadly, the RFP called for the developer to raise the funds necessary to bring the building, including the Calvin Simmons Theater, back to life and to be responsible for the tenanting and ongoing operations of the building.

On July 21, 2015, the City Council authorized an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with Orton Development, Inc. Orton proposes to rehabilitate and adaptively reuse the building as a performing arts venue and commercial space. Orton will ensure that the Property will be registered as a National Historic Landmark and rehabilitated in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation (the “Standards”).

For more information, please contact Jens Hillmer at jhillmer@oaklandca.gov or (510) 238-3317.

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