Oakland Maker Space American Steel Sold To Seemingly Horrible New Corporate Owners
When it was established in 2006, the West Oakland maker space American Steel served as an art gallery and studio for large-scale industrial works, like giant Tesla coils and 20-foot tall metal sculptures. But when the place sold in 2016 for $29 million, many of the artists left because of a strict new set of “house rules,” among them a new ‘zero tolerance’ policy for drugs and alcohol, and other ticky-tack rules that the creators suspected were meant to drive them out and create a “new culture” about the place.
Been over 2 years and these logs still sit outside of American Steel in West Oakland. Pretty widely accepted they’re used to block ppl in RVs. They rufused to comment last June when I asked them three times about it. Thier owners made an illegally donation to Schaaf’s campaign. pic.twitter.com/OhQPQZnsoh
— Zack Haber (@ZZZZZZZZZZZack) July 24, 2020
Still, many of the makers remained, as American Steel was still an incredibly unique place that allowed tenants to work on large-scale industrial art they simply could not make elsewhere. But now, it appears, even the watered-down American Steel is dunzo. The American Steel property has just been sold again to a $5 billion corporate real estate speculator called ScanlanKemperBard (SKB).
The dollar amount of the sale was not disclosed.
SKB acquired a 14 acre portfolio consisting of the American Steel Block and Peralta Street Building in West Oakland, California https://t.co/3gOf4UlM9y
— Adam Lasoff (@alasoff) September 23, 2021
Do you think SKB will allow American Steel to remain an alternative maker space? Ummm, listen to these assholes describe themselves on their website:
We acquire, manage and transform commercial properties into profitable, risk-adjusted returns for select high-net-worth individuals, family offices, trusts, and institutional investors…
Our success is the result of practiced intuition and rigor, trusted partnerships and a single-minded commitment to create and preserve wealth for those who partner with us – and SKB – in that order.
In other words, American Steel will probably become a Walmart, an Uber headquarters, or a private, for-profit prison before long. (Or maybe a combination of all three! “Select high-net-worth individuals” would eat that shit right up.) But this is the latest sign that corporate real estate overlords are determined to cleanse the Bay Area of any and all creative spaces, because there are plenty more millions to be made by squeezed out the artists.