Central Station

The Bay Area's Newest Destination

Sunday, August 30, 2009

WHO LIVES HERE? Edward and Akiko Higgins

East coast born chef Edward Higging was very familiar with pioneering neighborhoods and lofts before purchasing his upstairs courtyard loft at PCL. He was the chef for the original NY based Craft restaurant before he decided to relocate to Tokyo where he quickly learned Japanese and landed a job as a chef at the Four Seasons Hotel. His Japanese born wife Akiko had attended an interior design program in San Francisco and was fluent in English, working as English editor back in her native country. As fate would have it the two met on a commuter train in Tokyo where Akiko asked Edward to help her with a piece she was editing. Sparks flew and they were soon married. When discussing their return to the states, Akiko laid down the law and said anywhere but NY. With a new opportunity for Edward arising at the Four Seasons in Silicon Valley they moved to the Mountain View where it took Edward 17 minutes to even reach the freeway from his home to begin his commute. Needless to say one of the attractions of the Pacific Cannery Lofts was the quick access to freeways in all directions in addition to the potential of the neighborhood and the great design.

First impressions were important to the Higgins couple and they loved the history, design, location and neighborhood that was becoming the new Central Station community. Akiko whose blogging work allows her to write from her loft is kept company by their “freagle” Penne, who is a designer breed, cross between a French bulldog and a beagle. Penne frequents the dog washing station and Edward keeps his bikes in the Velo Lounge, two amenities that made an instant impact on the couple.
When I asked Edward where to get the best Japanese food in Oakland he quickly responded, “my kitchen!” Ok…so invite me over! I love Japanese food! But his specialty is fancy Italian cooking and both he and Akiko frequent Pizzaiola in the up and coming Temescal area.

Akiko, Edward and Penne….welcome to the new community at PCL and Central Station!


You can feel the creativity as soon as you walk into Jeremy Otis’ Grove Loft! This talented identity, packaging and web designer is originally from Ohio by way of Chicago, but the minute he stepped off the plane at SFO he felt like he was home. Inspired by the original Grove, designed with a live/work web developer in mind, Jeremy also runs his brand development and design business, Force and Form, from his new loft space. Jeremy has turned his loft into one of the most cleverly flexible spaces by the simple addition of a curtain that can ride around on a lengthy track that runs from the front door and windows, past his working space and in front of his kitchen allowing him to partition off selected spaces in his loft. Really cool!

Jeremy was renting an Emeryville loft space when he read about PCL in Oakland Magazine. PCL was the only website that Jeremy bookmarked as he scanned residential possibilities and when his parents came to visit they too loved the place. He is a participant in the first time homebuyer program offered by the city of Oakland and was very complimentary of the information sessions he attended. Jeremy’s loft is frequented by his dog Sadie, cat Mimo and elusive yeti Martin. He regularly visits the new Galatea Café on Wood Street and says that $1 muffins will be the death of him. Add a latté by the barista Ember and call it breaky! Jeremy recognized the potential of West Oakland immediately and cocks his head when people ask him why he moved there. Friends that have come to visit love his place and he no longer has to explain. He says he has met quite a few new community members both from PCL and homes in the neighborhood where he says that neighbors are always coming off their front porches to say hello.

Please help in extending a warm welcome to Jeremy. Congrats on the purchase of your first home.

Here are some neighborhood businesses that Jeremy recommends are worth the short walk:

Art Gallery

LoBot Gallery



Galetea Café


Revolution Café



Pretty Lady


Groceries and Produce

City Slicker Farms


Mandela Food Coop


Friday, August 28, 2009


Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting Egan Brown who lives in one of the courtyard units off the middle garden. Egan has recently moved back to Oakland, his hometown, from Atlanta where he attended Morehouse College, entering on an academic scholarship and playing football. Combining his familiarity with Oakland and his degree in finance, Egan could immediately see the opportunity at the Pacific Cannery Lofts. He had been looking for a home to purchase since August of 2008 but it was actually his mother, who works for the city of Oakland, who first discovered the First Time Homebuyers program offered by the city and its application at PCL. Both parents encouraged Egan to check out the new loft community and when he did, he stopped looking. He described the process of purchasing his loft as daunting referring to all of the delays, crazy economy and being the first “guinea pig” to use the City's first time program. Now that Egan is settled, he is very happy that he stuck it out and tells me that his friends who have seen his new home think it is very cool. Egan knew early on which unit he wanted choosing to be on the first floor to have access to the gardens. He often sits outside on his patio enjoying the fresh air and appreciating the historic aspects and items. This weekend he is throwing a housewarming party, inviting friends over to check out his new digs. Egan works for Kaiser in its regional office and rides one of the Velo Lounge bikes to work. I have to say what a pleasure it was to talk with Egan and want to welcome him to the Central Station Community. What a great addition. Egan looks forward to meeting more community members.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

WHO LIVES HERE? Andi and Kevin

Today we start a new blog series introducing new residents who have moved into the Pacific Cannery Lofts and have chosen to be part of the exciting Central Station Community.

I start this blog series by interviewing newlyweds and first time homebuyers Kevin and Andi who have been following this project from the beginning. Married just about a year ago, Kevin moved from San Francisco and Andi moved from Lake Merritt, along with their dog Tucker and cat Henry. Andi, who like Kevin is also in real estate, told me that she loves the light in her unit, the courtyard, and community. Kevin agrees and added that for him the commute to work couldn't be better (less than 5 minutes). He often grabs one of the Backroads bikes from the velo lounge for a quick ride to his office in Emeryville. Tucker the dog gets bathed regularly in the dog bath on site and is starting to like it. The newlyweds loved the 10’ table in the New Urban Flat model and purchased a similar one where they now gather with their many friends for meals and political discussions.

Kevin, Andi, Tucker and Henry……….welcome to the PCL and Central Station community.