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 ground lease with the City. The City is not selling the property.
The RFP requested creative adaptive reuse proposals for the building and outlined a number of key goals and requirements for the project. Most broadly, the RFP calls for the developer to raise the funds necessary to bring the building back to life and to be responsible for the tenanting and ongoing operations of the building. A key requirement is that the developer must restore and reactivate the Calvin Simmons Theater as a performing arts venue in Oakland. The 1900-seat concert hall is known to have some of the best acoustics in Northern California.