Central Station

The Bay Area's Newest Destination

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's Oakland's Turn...Jerry Brown wasn't crazy.

San Francisco magazine has made these assertions in their current issue regarding development in and around downtown Oakland. I couldn't agree more with SF magazine's assessment. Seven years ago I bought the main Oakland Train Station and 25 acres of vacant land that surrounded it. When I bought the site I decided to delve directly into the neighborhood and learn more about the hopes and aspirations of the residents. I spent time in the local barbershop where I heard many stories of the rich history of the area. I also became aware of a very deep frustration with the lack of progress in getting new buildings and new residents to the area....the neighbors were saying that "It's Oakland's Turn"....isn't it??

One of the most interesting people I met in the early days is my counterpart in the photo above. his name is Marcel Diallo and he shared his vision for bringing back the neighborhood by organizing creative young folks like himself....he's was in his middle 20's at the time......and getting them to focus on a few blocks in West Oakland known to locals as the "Lower Bottom". His vision is to create an opportunity for entrepreneur's like himself to re-create the lost culture of the Black community.

As a 54 year old "white guy" I was intrigued at how we might work together to start the process of re-building this amazing neighborhood. This blog is designed to tell our story in real time as the buildings come to life. Our first building ...the Pacific Coast Cannery is scheduled for completion this spring 2008. I hope you find this story interesting and compelling and that you participate in Marcel's and my effort to redevelop this special neighborhood the right way....by reaching out and including ALL interested parties and blending ALL of their hopes and aspirations. This is the Bay Area's oldest neighborhood...the Station was the end of the trans-continental railroad in 1870...it has been called "Ellis Island West" by local historians as it was the landing point for all new residents to Northern California. I will post at least once a week to update you on our progress.

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Blogger Arden said...


A blog to include the originating times in the 1870's interests me, threading from the "Ellis Island West" concept to the present. My grand aunt, Hilma, who immigrated from Finland, came across the bay with her five children from SF the week after the 1906 earthquake and settled in Oakland, never going back to SF. My roots run deep in the East Bay. AV

October 27, 2007 at 9:12 PM  

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