REal Facts about One Lake Merritt
- Organized labor support
We have several labor groups that are supporting our project including the Building Trades, UNITE HERE and IATSE. They are very excited about supporting the apprenticeship training program and the number of “good” career-track permanent jobs the project will produce.
- Integration of "Food, Retail and Makers"
Our proposal incorporates a retail, food and "Makers" component, that is “right-sized” to the overall uses within the complex and integrated into the higher revenue generating activities of large events and meetings. Oakland needs this project to fill a huge void in the meeting, convention and hospitality offerings, while supporting small local businesses through our robust local utilization and incubation strategy.
- Cultural Arts diversity and inclusion
We would challenge the ability of the competition to present a diverse and inclusive offering of arts and cultural performances. We have exhibited support in the forms of letters from a great number of the top cultural arts presenters in Oakland and the Bay Area, and a strategy to integrate the Oakland Museum of California into the development physically and programmatically.
- Facility management and revenue generation
Along with a global facility maintenance company ABM, who will maintain the facility's upkeep and systems, and support our workforce development program, our venue consultants CSL International and Legends will work closely with our selected venue management and booking partner, an industry leader with premiere venues around the world. Through the booking of major concerts, sports and conventions, we can ensure the greatest amount revenue to be generated to support our local community access program and community benefits.
- Tax Revenue to the City of Oakland and support for vital City services
One Lake Merritt proposal actually provides more tax revenue to the City over the long term ($5.1 million annually) AND offers potential to fill the City's budget shortfall with a tax increment financing bond!
- “The need to get this really important historic landmark open and alive again, and to bring activity on the weekend and evening in this part of the city is a major priority.”
CDP has a simpler, phased development strategy, with the HJKCC redevelopment coming first, which will get the building open and active faster than the competition's plan to redevelop the interior arena space as office and retail. After getting the major systems in order, CDP will immediately open and activate the space, while continuing with upgrades. The competition's plan drastically and permanently alters the original (and historic) use of the arena and, from a preservation standpoint, we think there is a significant loss of the historic fabric of Oakland through a concept that builds-out the arena with interstitial floors and converts into private office space instead of maintaining its original use and re-engaging into the public sphere.
All of these things combined make CDP's proposal extremely compelling for Oakland and the team's capabilities complete. We encourage you to call, e-mail, tweet and post, and show your support at the upcoming public hearings.
Additional "Real Facts" about One Lake Merritt
The Oakland hotel pipeline
- "There are several other hotel projects being bandied about in Oakland"...
- ..."there is also interest in converting a school district building near Lake Merritt Channel into a hotel"...
One Lake Merritt will be the first new hotel to come online in Oakland in decades. There are other hotels proposed, and one entitled, but none of the sites compare with the One Lake Merritt location- either near the airport, removed from amenities and attractions, or at sites with multiple constraints and without the natural beauty that this lakefront location provides. The site we've chosen for One Lake Merritt is clearly the best waterfront development site in the Bay Area, on the shores of Oakland's most durable competitive advantage. No other city has such a beautiful amenity so ideally situated- bordered by downtown, residential neighborhoods, merchant districts and transportation. This site allows for the development of a headquarter hotel with a wide range of existing meeting and event facilities attached, making this the most efficient development project possible.
We considered several other sites near the Oakland Auditorium including the former school district administration site and determined them infeasible for a hotel for several reasons- the disconnect from the convention center, the distance from BART, the adjacency to sensitive environmental assets and the incompatibility created by a congested cluster of three grade schools and a bustling Eastlake neighborhood.
The Environmental Impact
- "It's too early to tell, however, whether the city or residents want a big hotel so close to the center and the lake, which is the nation's oldest natural wildlife refuge. A proposed cathedral adjacent to the center was scrapped in the face of staunch opposition.
- "Many people didn't want the cathedral right there. And this is bigger than the cathedral."
We did several initial, yet thorough studies of the impact that our hotel development will have on the surrounding institutions and environment. The proposed site in no way impacts the sensitive habitats of Lake Merritt, and consistent with the new Lake Merritt Environmental Impact Report, there is another larger development approved much closer to parkland and waterways. Our project creates little or no impact on the sightlines to the Auditorium from any perspective around the Lake and the current design was intended to meld into the surrounding environment, integrating seamlessly with the Oakland Museum of California. Based on our shadow studies, the hotel casts no shadow on the Museum during open hours and we’ve greatly minimized the shadow on the wonderful new Lake Merritt Amphitheater.
This development is nothing like the failed cathedral proposal, which was sited directly on the Auditorium parking lot, completely obstructing the building. Our site is a surplus driveway west of the building, made obsolete with the creation of a new curb-cut on Lake Merritt Blvd. It is a very slender and efficient site, which enables us to create an unobtrusive structure that integrates into its surroundings and complements the Auditorium and Museum. Also, from a programmatic standpoint, we are proposing an additive structure that augments the adjacent institutions, creating a public facility that provides significant economic stimulus and neighborhood vitality.
privatization vs. public access
We believe the Oakland Auditorium, and specifically the arena portion, should remain a public venue, hosting a range of activities, including all of the historical uses that made the Oakland Auditorium the heart of Oakland culture and society- the City-wide Christmas Pageant (Holiday Children's Pageant), Basketball Tournament of Champions, headline acts, and all variety of new uses. The arena is the only venue of it's kind in the area- and it's Oakland's.
- "[The competing proposal's] initial vision for the project involves private use for the arena space as well as a food and beverage component."
Two new retail food marketplaces have recently been announced in Jack London Square and Uptown, and the Oakland market cannot bear another- especially at the expense of the Oakland Auditorium Arena. Read about what's happening in San Francisco- More market hall plans are brewing — how many is too many?
Safe bet vs. ambitious
"That [the competing plan] might seem less ambitious than [CDP's] proposal, but it is also potentially a safer bet."
This is Oakland's time to shine and we've proposed a way to do that in a manner that benefits all of Oakland in unprecedented ways, delivering significant economic impact, jobs, a world-class hospitality experience and a vitally needed cultural and performing arts center. We've assembled a high capacity development and finance team that is confident in our ability to execute and deliver on our promise to Oakland. It's time for Oakland to get what it wants and needs, instead of just getting what it gets. As for the viability of a lakefront 4-star museum hotel in one of the top tourism market in the world- sounds like a safe bet to us.
We have developed several design schemes for the hotel over the last years, refining details with each iteration, but the design is not finalized and we expect it to evolve further after gaining site control, which may include the overall design, footprint, height and surrounding amenities. What is certain is that we will attempt to design and develop the most compelling, inclusive and greenest hotel anywhere.