Contrary to Reports, Wayans’ Deal Still Alive

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday September 07, 2007

A spokesperson for the proposed Wayans Brothers Oakland Army Base project says that despite the impression being given in some local media outlets, the Wayans Brothers are “absolutely committed to Oakland” and their Army Base proposal is not dead but is only being modified. 

The Wayans Brothers—film producers and nationally-known comics—are proposing putting a film production studio, a children’s digital arts learning center, retail development, and several other projects on a 47-acre West Oakland parcel formerly part of the now-dismantled base.  

In an Aug. 17 article entitled “Wayans partnership says no to movie studio in Oakland,” the San Francisco Chronicle said that “Actor/director Keenen Ivory Wayans and a Los Angeles development firm have dropped plans to build a movie studio and shopping center on the former Oakland Army base, a city official said today. Wayans and the Pacifica Capital Group informed city officials earlier this week that the land adjacent to the Port of Oakland would not work for the film studio/shopping center project that was dubbed Destination Oakland, a spokeswoman for City Administrator Deborah Edgerly said today.” 

An Oakland Tribune article “Wayans Quit Development Talks” published on the same day had a similar take, stating, “The Wayans Brothers development team pulled out of negotiations with the city over plans to build a movie studio and arts and retail center on the former Army base in West Oakland this week, leaving the future development of the base in question, city officials said Thursday evening.” 

But Britten Shuford, co-managing partner of the Wayans Brothers-Pacifica Capital Urban Development Partnership, the group the signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city over the army base property in early July, said the group has not pulled out of the deal, but is working on modifications to make it more feasible to them. 

“We plan to make the rounds with representatives of the mayor’s office, the city administrator, and City Councilmembers sometime this month,” Shuford said by telephone this week. 

Shuford said that “we learned at the same time that the city did that the Port of Oakland was proposing to fill in 42 acres of the bay directly across from our development, and they are planning to stack storage containers on that land six to 15 stories tall. That would entirely block our view of the San Francisco skyline.” 

Shuford was vague on details of how the Wayans-Pacifica group would modify their proposal, saying only that it would be reconfigured in some way on the same acreage that the city originally proposed to sell them.