April 1, 2024

Palace Theater is Redevelopment of the Year for East Bay/Oakland

Historical Oakland Theater Transforms Into STEM Focused School

By Pawan Naidu and Jordan Taylor
CoStar News

A former Oakland theater built during the roaring 20s is slated to be redeveloped into a school dedicated to STEM subjects. The transformation of the once entertainment hub earned the project the 2024 CoStar Impact Award for redevelopment of the year for East Bay/Oakland, as judged by real estate professionals familiar with the market.

Oakland-based Bay Area Technology Charter School, a tuition-free college-preparatory public charter school that focuses on STEM education, will redevelop the three-story building into a school with academic, administrative, and athletic spaces.

The theater is in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood that’s historically been under-served and low-income, and “BayTech has always understood the importance of being in a community and serving the needs of the students where they live,” according to Dr. Seth Feldman, the school’s executive director.

The Palace Theater, first built in 1923, was used for vaudeville performances before transitioning into a movie theater in 1931 as films became popular. It was converted into a church in 1952 and closed in 2013, with much of the original architecture intact.

About the Project: The academic institution is redeveloping the former Palace Theater into a three-story STEM-focused charter school. “This transaction was the result of the collaborative efforts of the mother-daughter team of Haley Klein of Maven Retail and Shawn Klein of Newmark,” the brokerage said.

What the Judges Said: “Converting the Palace Theater into a charter school preserves a historic building while bringing new life and energy to it. This redevelopment serves both the students and the community,” said Rachel Kram, partner of CP Partners.

They Made it Happen: Haley Klein, partner at Maven Retail; Shawn Klein, director at Newmark; and Dr. Seth Feldman, executive director at Bay Area Technology School.