The Omni Commons is a 22,000 sq ft building, built as a meeting hall for the Ligure Club in 1933, on Shattuck and 48th. After decades serving as a social hub for members of the Oakland Scavengers club, appropriately enough, a garbage collecting collective, it was transformed into the Omni, a music venue featuring mostly heavy metal and rock that provides the namesake for this project.
As of 27 March 2017.
Currently, Omni Commons' title and improvements (building) at 4799 Shattuck are owned by the non-profit organization itself. However, the organization is in the process of determining the best partner organization to donate the title for the land to and get in return a lease for use of the land by Omni Commons with a 99-year term.
Analysis at time of Proposal
(This section deals with who has access to the space. For information on Accessibility, please see further below)
- Only members of member collectives are granted 24-hour access to the space.
- Members are asked to not occupy the space without at least one other member present for safety reasons.
- Members are not obligated to let non-members in to the space at any time.
- Members may ask non-members to leave the space at any time, for any reasons.
See also the Building Construction and Maintenance Working Group and our long list of things in the building ToFix!
- a appx 4,000 sq ft, 2 story ballroom / event space with mezzanine
- an industrial kitchen & walk-in freezer (needs fixing up)
- a massive back room with capacity for vertical expansion
- 55'-ish ceilings
- massive basement with windows above street level (currently blacked out)
- a separate room that used to function as a disco (with lighted floor)
- a warren of odd little rooms, a stage, lots of bathrooms, skylights throughout
- a wheelchair lift
Current Distribution of Space
- ABDC: Ticket Booth Room off ballroom
- BAPS: mobile units - based mainly out of the Pink Classroom along Shattuck; having classes in unused space around the building as needed
- Chiapas Support Committee - 2nd floor, Balcony room above bar, on corner of Shattuck / 48th (NE corner)
- Counter Culture Labs: North half bocce ball court room
- Food Not Bombs: Basement industrial kitchen & food storage area in walk-in freezer
- GCEA/YES: Pink classroom shared use
- Global Womens Strike: 2nd floor, Balcony room above bar, on corner of Shattuck / 48th (NE corner)
- Liberated Lens: Basement office room
- Phat Beets Produce: Office on ground floor by 48th St entrance & food storage area outside of walk-in freezer
- Sudo Room: South half of bocce ball court room
- Timeless, Infinite Light: 2nd floor, Balcony room above bar, on corner of Shattuck / 48th (NE corner)
- Schedule-able shared spaces around the building are available for use on a sliding scale. See https://omnicommons.org/occupy for more info on booking the common spaces, which include:
- Ballroom, mezzanine, library and stage
- Entrance Hall: Front entrance area, accessible via the front door at the corner of 48th and Shattuck
- The Basement Hall as well as the Basement Library
- Upstairs Disco Room, for somatic activities such as yoga, dance and martial arts as well as the Upstairs Den near the public terminals.
- Several small rooms throughout the building, such as the Blue Classroom, the Ticket Booth Room, and the Treatment Room.
- Our current Internet Service Provider is LMI, serving us 100up/100down mbps. Several open wifi access points are available throughout the building. Learn more about peoplesopen.net!
Omniphonix - Asterisk server for VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)
Use the "pay"phone outside the front door or VOIP phones throughout the building to call locations within Omni Commons.
8 Restrooms available now from October 2015
- Licensing and Certification
- Fire safety and occupancy
- Info on possible property tax exemption
Here's the CA building code regulations regarding emergency exits and maximum occupancy etc.:
I believe we would fall under Occupancy Classification B - Business Group, which includes offices, educational occupancy above 12th grade, laboratories (for testing, research and instruction), print shops, professional services, training and skill development not within a school or academic program. http://www.ecodes.biz/ecodes_support/free_resources/2013California/13Fire/PDFs/Chapter%202%20-%20Definitions.pdf
How do we envision using the space?
- To collaborate on projects
- To host classes and performances
- To network, meet each other, welcome newcomers
- To store resources for common use (or equitably restricted)
Concerns about use of space
- Will there be commercial activity in the space?
- Yes, bookstore/cafe will operate as businesses
- will profit-sharing be required of profitable endeavors?
- Ideally, consensus can be reached that profitable endeavors can help to subsidize rent/mortgage/property taxes
How our dominant culture views and values 'space' ($/psf)
A simplistic capitalist analysis which conveniently excludes many critical metrics of economic and social value is 'price-per-square-foot' ($/psf).
$/psf presumes that the 'square footage' any defined area of the building substantializes all its value and worth, regardless of who is using it or what goes in within it, while at the same time invisibilizing entirely the 'price' of labor freely given towards the success of our overall enterprise, as well as any social/public-benefit dimension, by any subtenant using said space (as this in turn directly bears on determining how much one 'should' pay per square foot). Labor and space cannot actually be divergent from any analysis of how much a given space is 'worth' or which groups should pay and where. In purely economic terms, $/psf is an innately flawed analysis and entirely doxic on its own merits for the purposes of our project.
To put it another way. This analysis excises important real-life economic and 'value'-related variables that directly impact the viability of the project and directly impact any determination of '$/psf', such as:
- 'which' subtenants actually contribute their uncompensated labor upon which the project also survives;
- the entire moral-political logics of sliding-scale, donation-based, capacity-based contribution upon which the overall project was founded and also operates daily;
- the additional integration of rental income for various spaces from outside sources which directly impacts our monthly expenses;
- the fact that some subtenants pay rent without having any dedicated space whatsoever (the 'shares' of common space model below is innately unfair to such groups)
- the fact that in practice some groups use shared spaces far more than others;
- the fact that some subtenants have other 'valuable' benefits such voting/consensus rights, potential future building-ownership rights / equity etc, while others do not,
- the fact that some subtenants that are for-profit businesses might alternately easily construe much of the expense 'per square foot' and labor 'donated' as investment in their business, while other subtenants have no profit motive,
Actually following the $/psf model as described below would make it literally impossible to reconcile any numbers it generates with how income is actually produced to pay our expenses, nor should it imply (as it otherwise does) how much one 'should' pay for space without considering what goes on in that space.
With all these caveats in mind, old, preliminary estimates of $/psf with room square footages can be found on: this spreadsheet.
The rates in the spreadsheet are based on the following assumptions:
- We have a fixed target rent that we have to make every month. You can adjust the rent amount on the Summary sheet.
- We want a specific fraction of that rent to come from dedicated space. Currently set to 50% on the Summary sheet - can be adjusted up if you want to more strongly discourage dedicated space.
- $/sqft for individual rooms are scaled by a quality score. Each +1 in quality correspond to a 10% increase in $/sqft (adjustable from the Summary sheet).
- I've assumed that almost all storage areas will eventually become dedicated space, even if they have not yet been allocated to individual groups yet. I've included those under a separate heading "rented".
- Given the amount of rent we want to get from dedicated space, and the amount of dedicated space all groups want, we can calculate how much we should charge for each room to exactly match the rent.
- Use of the shared space is priced separately, based on how many "shares" each group contributes. We'll need to specify how much use of the shared resources one share corresponds to - e.g. one share could be equivalent to 10 members hanging out at the Omni on a daily basis, or using one of the basement rooms once a week for a 2-hour class, or reserving the ballroom for an event twice a year.
- Groups who also have dedicated space are also required to take on a minimum number of shares proportional to the square footage of their dedicated space. In other words, we don't want groups that will lock themselves into their space and never use the shared space. I have fairly arbitrarily set that minimum number to 1 share per 500 sqft (adjustable from the Summary sheet).
- Groups who do not have dedicated space (or only have a bit of storage space) will need to make an honest calculation of how many "shares" of the shared resources of the building they will need. For now, I have picked the number of shares for BAPS and Oakland Nights Live to match the amount of rent they said they could afford to pay.
- Once we have an allocation of shares in the shared space, we simply divide the remainder of the rent proportional to those shares.
- The calculation of $/sqft for each of the rooms should only need to be done once (possibly updated if and when the total rent goes up, or if we make a policy decision to increase the %rent from dedicated space). The cost per share in the shared space may go up or down over time, depending on how many groups join or leave the Omni, and how much dedicated space actually gets rented. If groups leave, the remaining groups will need to shoulder a larger fraction of the rent, which will be reflected in a higher rate per share of the shared space.
See also Business Model for Omni's membership structure and flows of income and expenditures.
Current Monthly Expenses
As of second quarter 2017, we pay roughly $15,000 for various expenses. Prior to the building purchase on December 7th, 2016, our expenses often exceeded $17,000/month, requiring us to borrow from community members. Once the bulk of these loans have been repaid, we expect our monthly recurring expenses to dip down to a more comfortable $10,000/month - however, these calculations do not include various unexpected costs, such as roof repair, sewer lateral, etc. We are attempting to build a capital reserve fund with a combination of event rental income as well as grants and large donations.
Starting Jan 1st, 2017 we officially stopped paying rent and started paying off a mortgage loan! Our loan is for $975,000 at 5.5% interest, with a balloon payment due Jan 1st, 2021.
- $5,365.61 + 5.5% ($312.28) = $5,677.89/mo
- Gas & Electric - ~$1,100/mo
- Water - ~$225/mo
- Waste Management - $490/mo
- Internet - $152/mo
- Directors & Officers Insurance - $168.67/mo
- General Liability - $550/mo
- Property - $500/mo
- Community Loans - $51,800 to be repaid in 2017, $28,000 in 2018, and $2,000 in 2019.
- Dues & Subscriptions - ~$50/mo
- Maintenance & Supplies - $150/mo
Revenue from Member Collectives
- Art Bison Design Coop: $450
- Bay Area Public School: 90% of donations received
- Chiapas Support Committee: $200
- Counter Culture Labs: $2000
- Global Communication Services/YES: $200
- Global Women's Strike - Omni Collective: $200
- Liberated Lens: $300
- Phat Beets: $850
- Sudo Room: $2000
- Timeless, Infinite Light: $300
'Total: $6,500/month + 90% of donations to BAPS (currently $0)'
Revenue from Other Supporters
- The Commons Working Group works with many different groups and individuals that rent out spaces in the Omni on a sliding-scale basis. On average, space rental generates between $2000-$4000 each month. A fun working group that could always use more volunteers, come by a meeting on 2nd & 4th Thursdays at 6pm to help with event coordination!
- We are currently researching grants for capital improvement projects, such as building accessibility, kitchen remodeling, and structural improvements. Please drop us a line at fundraising AT omnicommons DOT org if you have any suggestions, or come to a Fundraising WG meeting!
One Year Plan
- Replace Ballroom & Entrance Hall skylights (leaky roof).
- Patch & seal basement's south wall & install French drain along same (leaky basement).
- Finish Entrance Hall wheelchair bathroom.
- Overhead lighting in Entrance Hall.
5 Year Plan
10 Year Plan
15 Year Plan