Sorry for not posting anything yesterday. My hiatus is over now, but during my month off, I sort of forgot how hard it is getting a solid blog up everyday. You stay up past midnight watching the Council meeting, then just want to go to bed and figure you’ll write about it in the morning, but then you wake up and life gets in the way. (Highlights: our Federal lobbyist telling At-large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan that if she wants to influence criteria for stimulus fund distribution, she should send an e-mail to Obama at whitehouse.gov. Also, District Three Councilmember Nancy Nadel being all confused and disturbed upon learning that we can’t spend Federal law enforcement funds on restorative justice.)
Anyway, I totally wanted to write yesterday about how much I HATE CALTRANS SOOO MUCH OMG, and don’t worry, you guys will get that tomorrow (check out my Oakbook story from yesterday for some background). But today…well, how could I possibly post about anything but the Fox?
I’ve talked before about my first Oakland community meeting, which I attended about a week after moving here. It was about the Forest City project, but people would not shut up about the Fox. “When are you going to restore the Fox?” “We want the Fox reopen!” “The most important thing for that neighborhood is to restore the Fox!” Finally, then District Two Councilmember Danny Wan was like “Um…look folks. The Fox is still closed for a reason. Money has to come from somewhere. It isn’t getting fixed anytime soon.”
But then an amazing thing happened – we decided to fix it anyway. Back in July 2006 (PDF), when the City Council approved the DDA, we had managed to come up with about 32,000,000 in loans from the Central District redevelopment fund, which would be combined with a variety of tax credits and and historic preservation type grants to finance the roughly $60 million restoration of the theater.
Fast forward two years and another 20 plus million (PDF) in grants and tax credits (PDF), and you’ve got an over $80 million restoration project sitting right in the heart of downtown Oakland. I was lucky enough to get a little preview of the Fox recently, and let me tell you guys – it was worth every penny. The whole building is just straight up stunning, and really overwhelming in its level of detail and beauty. Out of practice blogger that I am, I stupidly forgot to bring my camera, so y’all are gonna have to settle for these sad cell phone photos which do not do it justice at all.
The Fox Theater opening gala is tonight. Tragically for me, it conflicts with some long standing dinner reservations and pretty much one of the major highlights of my year. Alas. But if you didn’t want to cough up the $250 to go tonight, make sure you go soon. Oakland has a new treasure and it is not to be missed. (Read all about the Fox Theater’s history in yet another totally awesome post from Eric on Transbay Blog.)
Oh, and when you do visit – a word of warning to the ladies. Watch out for your heels! Everything about the Fox is totally awesome except for the air vents all over the main floor which were clearly designed and selected by men, and are, sadly, a stiletto trap. Be careful.