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East Bay Depot gets temporary reprieve

Daily Planet Staff
Saturday March 17, 2001

It’s got boxes of old buttons, stacks of paper of all shapes, sizes and colors, lots of paper clips and ribbons. 

And now the 26-year-old East Bay Depot for Creative Use has a home – at least it does for 18 more months. The Depot, at 6713 San Pablo Ave., is a place where teachers and artists come to find recyclables for art projects and a place where the public in general comes to find, well, almost anything – faux fireplaces, refinished chairs, lampshades. 

The Depot, which employs 41 people – 25 of them work there full time – almost lost its lease about a year ago when the nonprofit’s landlord, UC Berkeley, announced it wanted to reclaim the Depot’s 4,500 square-foot space.  

The university wanted to move employees to the San Pablo Avenue building, who are being displaced by large retrofitting projects on campus. 

After months of negotiations that director Linda Levitsky said included letters from numerous Berkeley and Oakland teachers and work on the part of Councilmember Linda Maio and other public officials, she got the good news on Thursday. The university said they could stay temporarily. 

Levitsky said the plan is that when it’s time to leave, the new space around the block at Urban Ore’s Eco Park will be ready. With the help of the city, Urban Ore, a business that recycles products such as furniture and plumbing supplies, moved into its current location at 900 Murray St. They are retrofitting a building on the site which they plan to share with a number of other businesses that recycle.  

“The beauty for the Depot, if it goes over there, is we’ll have a 15 year lease,” Levitsky said. “The key to success is a long-term lease.”