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Bridge Housing Wants to Bring Oakland's Central Station Back to Life

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This past weekend Bridge Housing held an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 16th Street Central Train Station in West Oakland. The non-profit owns and controls the station and has been trying to figure out how to reuse the 25,000 sq.ft. property. The weekend's event - which included food trucks, a DJ, performers, and a petting zoo - celebrated the station's centennial, but also gauged the community's interest in the site. Bridge has been working to restore the station as a central hub for housing, retail and community space, with 1,200 homes planned for 29 acres around the station. Back in 2008, the City of Oakland hired developer Phil Tagami (of Rotunda Building and Fox Theater restoration fame) to analyze the property, but nothing really happened. Community meetings have generated a slew of ideas for the station, ranging from a co-op kitchen to a school to a performance center. Restoration for the building will be slow going, with an estimated cost at more than $20 million.

The 1912 station once served as the end of the Transcontinental Railroad line, but it hasn't been used since it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. It has an impressive history, as the West Coast home of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters since the 1920s, the first African-American union in the country and significant civil rights activists. At the weekend's event, posters celebrating the building's history were hung throughout the interior of the station's main hall, which is usually closed to the public (though is a popular spot for photographer break-ins).
· 16th Street Station [RAILS]
· Oakland's historic 16th Street station celebrates centennial, new role in community [Oakland North]
· Sept. 29 Event Marks Centennial of Oakland's Historic 16th Street Station [Bridge Housing]
· Bridge Housing looks to revive 16th Train Station in West Oakland [SF Business Times]