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Will the Artists' Haven at Oakland's American Steel be Razed?

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Things in West Oakland are transforming, and that change could affect the American Steel factory that currently holds more than 200 artists and serves as the center of the neighborhood's industrial arts scene. The tenants' lease expired a year and a half ago, and since then the artists have been renting month-to-month as the building was put on the market. The 12.6-acre lot is up for sale for $30 million with a suggestion that the building could be torn down and replaced with new offices or retail.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the building is zoned for industrial or commercial use, opening up the opportunity for it to become a tech campus or office park. It has served as an artist's studio since 2005, when Karen Cusolito moved in to build a 46-foot tall sculpture for Burning Man. She eventually started leasing space to other artists and remains the master tenant. The long list of other tenants ranges from a conceptual metalsmith to groups working on algae-based batteries. The building's owner is Maurice Kanbar, the inventor of SKYY Vodka who is also known for being a patron of the arts.

· Oakland's American Steel Arts Hub May be Razed for Offices [SF Chronicle]