After 40 years of sitting vacant in Oakland’s Uptown district, the Fox Theatre reopened last Thursday with more than a touch of class.

Originally built in 1928 by architects Weeks & Day (also the architects of San Francisco’s Mark Hopkins hotel), the Fox was reconceptualized by long time Berkeley architecture firm ELS and renovated by Architectural Dimensions.

Anchoring the Uptown area of Oakland, the Fox Theatre will infuse much needed life into the district. This formerly boarded-up and vacant area, just north of downtown Oakland, was the centerpiece of former Mayor Jerry Brown’s 10K plan, a redevelopment scheme to bring an additional 10,000 residents to Oakland’s core.

As with every urban redevelopment scheme, a few true believers kept plugging on, hoping that Uptown, a once thriving area, could experience a rebirth. Jeff Chew (Oakland Community Economic Development Agency) and Phil Tagami (Oakland developer) were the prime movers in the Fox’s return to prominence; they tapped James Heilbronner (Architectural Dimensions) as lead architect and Kurt Schindler (ELS) as historic architect.

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