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Fox Oakland Theater: Some Oaklanders Question New Configuration and Economics

As the day of February 5th -- the day the Oakland Fox Theater is to reopen -- moves closer, some Oaklanders are not as excited about that day as others.  Some long time residents are upset that the actual 3,000 seat theater will be no more -- that's right. The Fox will not be the large theater playhouse some have wanted.  


"It's not what I expected it to be" said one long time Oakland community insider "and some wonder if it will take business away from the Paramount Theater."  Well, one consideration here is that the Fox will be managed by the same group of people that control the Paramount now.  But that doesn't automatically take away from the economic issue at all.  It seems that with the Fox's overall size potential, the foundation for building live theater in Oakland again was set, but with only a 500 person capacity,  one would think the Fox' long-held size advantage was taken away.  


Which really leads to the question: is that part of downtown Oakland dense enough in development to support the Fox and the Paramount, especially in this economy?  


The other problem here is the Fox isn't really developed in tandem with any other project.  The Uptown housing complex was planned separate from the Fox.  The original Uptown Entertainment District concept has been watered down considerably and has no cohesive plan.  For example, there's no website that officially marks the area and shows a plan for development or signage guidelines or urban design templates -- which is a sad example of both the City of Oakland's horrible lack of knoweldge regarding the use of communication's technology and some of the developers who are involved who also have a rather poor understanding of same.  (That's not true for Fox Developer Phil Tagami, but he can't do everything.)  


Not to get too off track, but there's no excuse for that.  And what makes it doubly hard is that as a client for an online marketing effort, they would not just let the consultant "do their magic" and avoid the need to micromanage.  I find that some potential clients don't know online marketing, yet don't know they don't know it, so there are major problems.  (For example, the Oakland Tribune's website is a great example of what not to do in presenting a newspaper online.  Basic rules of search engine optimization are consistently violated.)


But I digress.


The City of Oakland needs to start -- or someone needs to form -- an Uptown District Business Association, so there's more conversation about how to form the future of the district.  Right now, it's a loose connection of businesses that happen to be in the same place, but not working together.  
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