The Tribune tower through a broken window in Key System Building
As Occupy Oakland looks to make its next move and perhaps set up additional encampments, I've put together a short list of buildings that need the energy of the movement. Some of these spaces have sat empty for years. Others, get so little love, they might as well be vacant. Let me know your suggestions.
The Parkway Theater
Shuttered in 2009, right when Great Recession was gaining steam, it has sat hollow despite efforts by one serious investor to get thee theatre rolling again.
I live just a few short blocks away and every day my heart breaks a little more as the Parkway sits empty for seemingly no logical reason.
I say, let's create an Occupy the Parkway, which will let the owners know that
even if they don't care about the Parkway, we certainly do.
Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center
Close to the Parkway and in need of occupancy, the Kaiser Convention Center has sat vacant for close to seven years. Built in 1914, the historic center - once known as the Oakland Auditorium and complete with a large theater, a large ballroom and arena space - it was once was the site of an Oakland roller derby team, rock concerts and community events.
The city said it doesn't have the $5 million-$9 million to upgrade the Kaiser, so it sits empty by Lake Merritt, while construction crews use its grounds as an annex for their equipment.
Key System Building
Right in the heart of Oakland sits an empty historic building that needs serious attention. The Key System Building has sat boarded up and vacant for decades.
Over the years, the Beaux Arts site has been included in a number of proposed development projects that ultimately fell through. For a time, the building's exterior was in horrible condition and there were rumors the building was the site of more than one rave (remember them?). It's more cleaned up today, with a nice mural wrapped around the bottom exterior, but it still sits empty.
I think many in the Occupy movement should take note that the building butts up against the University of California Office of the President. So if you're looking to make a statement against high university fees and such, you can't find a more perfect spot.
The old Barnes and Noble Building in Jack London Square
I don't know why the Port of Oakland can't secure a permanent tenant for this large site, but it has essentially sat unoccupied for most of the Great Recession. Why can't the site be used as an educational facility by the community? Maybe we can have a few needed day care programs go in that space? If not ... maybe Occupiers? Anything is better than letting the space go empty a good chunk of the time.