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Kaiser Center
Alternative names Kaiser Building
General information
Type Commercial offices
Location 300 Lakeside Drive
Oakland, California
Coordinates 37°48′32″N 122°15′52″W / 37.8088°N 122.2644°W / 37.8088; -122.2644
Completed 1960
Owner The Swig Company
Roof 118.72 m (389.5 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 28
Floor area 90,673 m2 (976,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect Welton Becket
Main contractor Robert E. McKee Contractor, Inc.

Kaiser Center, also called the Kaiser Building, is a 28-story office building located at 300 Lakeside Drive, adjacent to Lake Merritt, in downtown Oakland, California, designed by the architectural firm of Welton Becket & Associates of Los Angeles. The property is bounded by Lakeside Drive, which terminates and joins Harrison Street at the site, 20th-, 21st-, and Webster-streets. When completed in 1960, it was Oakland's tallest building, as well as the largest office tower west of the Rocky Mountains. A three-story office/retail building adjacent to the main tower was completed in 1963. Kaiser Center was the headquarters of Kaiser Industries, a Fortune 500 conglomerate that was headed by industrialist Edgar F. Kaiser at the time the building was constructed.

The building's roof garden was designed by San Francisco-based landscape architecture firm, Theodore Osmundson & Associates, and was the first built in the United States after World War II. While legend has it that Henry J. Kaiser resided in a penthouse apartment on the 28th floor, by 1960 the elder Kaiser had turned over the Oakland-based company to his son, and pursued projects based in Honolulu. It is much more likely that his son Edgar, who was in charge of Kaiser industries and a major power broker in the Bay Area by the time the building was commissioned, was the person who occupied any residential apartments. According to a National Park Service study, Edgar commissioned the architecturally significant rooftop garden after the building had been designed, inspired by the gardens of Rockefeller Center in N.Y.

The building is currently home to the headquarters of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which in 2003 relocated from its former administration building atop the Lake Merritt station, due to earthquake concerns. In 2019 BART announced that it would leave the building in the Spring of 2021. Other tenants include the University of California Office of the President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, The Port Company, and California Bank & Trust. Global technical services company AECOM moved into the building in 2016.

  • Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) No. CA-3, "Kaiser Center, 300 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, Alameda County, CA", 22 photos, 18 measured drawings, 6 data pages, 3 photo caption pages
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