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Help me find an industrial space to live in.
May 8, 2011 9:59 AM   Subscribe

One of my lifelong dreams is to live in a warehouse, container, or other industrial/repurposed structure. Can I do this in the San Francisco Bay Area (specifically Oakland)? Do you know someone who is? Should I look outside Oakland?

To be clear, I DO NOT want to live in some fru-fru place.

I want to live in a place where I can be loud and do some fabrication work. It can be gritty and a bit dangerous. It does not need to be quiet or particularly warm, and I do not need creature comforts/a dishwasher. I'd prefer a nearby hardware store to a nearby Whole Foods.

I'm looking at Oakland because I'll be working between central Richmond and the Presidio - please tell me if that is a bad idea.
posted by fake to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Vulcan- San Leandro Blvd @ High Street.

Bridge Arts Space (where we live) Richmond, CA

5th Street Boat Storage - 5th & 880 (especially if you smoke meth)

(also the last image is of a minimum security prison)
posted by emhutchinson at 10:09 AM on May 8, 2011


It is not a prison, it is a Minuteman missile command center in North Dakota, near my hometown.
posted by fake at 10:15 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Two questions:

1) When you say you don't need "creature comforts," what are you including? Do you need running water? A toilet and shower? Electricity? What is on your "must have" list for amenities?

2)Are you envisioning living in a structure that has been inspected and is legally certified fit for human habitation? Or do you want to live "off the grid" without the warranties provided by building codes and property law?

(Also, this question about living in a warehouse might be helpful to you.)
posted by decathecting at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2011


There are a bunch of artist-colonized warehouses on or off of san leandro blvd. near fruitvale.
posted by donkeybear at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2011


(& thanks for the great pointers!)
posted by fake at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2011


1) When you say you don't need "creature comforts," what are you including? Do you need running water? A toilet and shower? Electricity? What is on your "must have" list for amenities?

You've listed them. Water, a toilet, a shower, electricity. I can make the shower hot myself, or otherwise improvise some of these things. They don't have to resemble the usual home facilities.

2)Are you envisioning living in a structure that has been inspected and is legally certified fit for human habitation? Or do you want to live "off the grid" without the warranties provided by building codes and property law?

I could go either way - or at least I'd like to hear about both approaches.

(Also, this question about living in a warehouse might be helpful to you.)

Thank you! I didn't see that when searching, how apropos!
posted by fake at 10:22 AM on May 8, 2011


So you don't need trash pickup? Mail delivery? Do you need a place to park a car? Would you like to have the ability to get insurance against fire, theft, or natural disaster for your belongings? Phone lines or internet connection? How about a kitchen?
posted by decathecting at 10:29 AM on May 8, 2011


Your "life long dream" has been my off and on reality. I am curious to know just what it is about living in a storage unit/container that so appeals. I like the way the wind moves the building, and I also like a certain freedom from all kinds of things. Bridge Arts is perfect for you.
posted by emhutchinson at 10:30 AM on May 8, 2011


Not that concerned. I've read completely through the other thread, so consider me edumucated. I'm looking for specific recommendations/pointers in the area rather than cautionary advice.
posted by fake at 10:32 AM on May 8, 2011


I'm looking at Bridge Arts now, and it does look near-perfect...
posted by fake at 10:32 AM on May 8, 2011


I did this in Milwaukee. A few years back, but the warehouse is still going and still has people living and working out of it. Tons of fun. Insane. Loud. And, just to throw this out there, we paid 1500 per month, total, for 9000+ sq ft. !!!
posted by special agent conrad uno at 10:45 AM on May 8, 2011


Did you try looking on craigslist? There are a ton of these places in Oakland and most of them advertise just like any other place. There are a lot of burner colonies and artist co-ops if you google around, I think most of them will want to interview you if they have open spaces (I considered a few places like that near Ghost Town in West Oak but decided it wasn't for me). Look in West Oak or anywhere east - especially around Fruitvale/San Leandro-ish along International Blvd ("Jingletown" is the cluster of artist-inhabited warehouses around there). Just don't bother with anything near Jack London, that is where all those ridiculous "loft style condos" are.

Do you live in the bay area now? Do you know anything about Oakland neighborhoods? My advice to you is to look at West Oakland. Don't move east unless you know what you're getting yourself into. Plus your commute will be easier from West Oak.

I was just moved to a new live/work space a few weeks ago so have been looking at all these places in Oakland, I will memail you a few specific suggestions....
posted by bradbane at 1:25 PM on May 8, 2011


Please check your memail.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:26 PM on May 8, 2011


Oh, I forgot to mention that there is an Ace Hardware right around the corner, but you'll have to go the mile to "Point" Richmond for Starbucks, sorry. Bridge Arts, seriously. See you soon.
posted by emhutchinson at 1:55 PM on May 8, 2011


I did this in Milwaukee.

Was that one of the warehouses that were converted into lofts/apartments, or was it still obviously a warehouse? I've seen a few cool things done around here with old buildings, but it's all rather formal.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:29 PM on May 8, 2011


Well, technically it isn't really a warehouse, it's just a big-ass building. It used to be a funeral home, but now it's a gallery / venue / lots of studios. It's still there, it's called the Borg Ward. It's a loose collective, mostly on the noise and experimental tick, located on National under the overpass.

The third ward is nice, very nice, but no way in hell could one get a building there for that cheap.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 2:25 AM on May 9, 2011


I just spent a summer in CELLspace in the Mission, which - asides from it being in SF and not in Oakland - is what you're looking for. It's a refurbished industrial area, with artist apartments (you apply, but hey if they took me they'll likely take you), and workshops & studios - including fabrication areas!
posted by divabat at 12:00 AM on September 10, 2011


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