Plans are moving forward to adaptively reuse the historic Palace Theater at 1445 23rd Avenue to become a new location for the BayTech Public Charter School by Fruitvale, Oakland, within Alameda County. Maven Commercial and Newmark sold the property for $2.2 million.
BayTech, or the Bay Area Technology School, is a tuition-free public charter college-preparatory school founded by the Willow Education Foundation for Downtown Oakland in 2004. Classes span middle and high school. The school is ranked in the top three of Oakland Public Schools, with a 100% graduation rate for students out of high school.
The Palace Theater will be adaptively reused, retaining much of the historic character while building out classrooms, events spaces, and sports facilities. Page & Turnbull is responsible for the site’s historical evaluation and advisory. San Jose-based Artik Art & Architecture is the architect.
The first floor will include a gymnasium with a basketball half-court, lobby, reception area, and stairs. The second floor will include two classrooms and an open mezzanine looking down onto the gymnasium. The principal’s office and IT office will be located on this floor too. The third floor will open yet more administrative offices, ED specialists, and the counselor office at one end, while the rest of the floor will create eight classrooms.
According to co-brokers on the transaction, Haley Klein of Maven and Shawn Klein of Newmark, “We are more than excited to be part of Oakland’s growing and dynamic culture in the educational arena.”
The Palace Theater first opened in the 1920s for vaudeville performances before becoming a movie theater in the 1930s, with a Spanish Colonial revival facade built in 1931 by the Reid Brothers architects. The theater closed in 1952, after which the Mt. Cavalry Baptist Church occupied the space from 1953 to 2013. The space became an events space and another church before changing hands to BayTech.
Executive Director Dr. Seth Feldman shared with us, “as one of Oakland’s oldest charter schools BayTech has always understood the importance of being in a community and serving the needs of the students where they live. With BayTech’s move into the Palace Theater, we will be able to continue our legacy of academic excellence and serve families by allowing kids to access a college-going curriculum.”
Maven has shared with YIMBY the following timeline for work, stating that “the project is finishing up on design work and starting construction, with completion planned for 2024.”