Year later, Fox Theater’s impact assessed
By Angela Woodall
Posted: 02/07/2010 12:01:00 AM PST
If any one night set Oakland’s past apart from the future, it was Feb. 5, 2009. Women in gowns and men in tuxedos replaced the homeless people who once congregated around the long-neglected Fox Theater.
Exactly a year later, crowds gathered on the anniversary of the Fox’s reopening to celebrate the venue’s “living legacy,” as Friends of the Fox Executive Director Chris Edenborough put it Friday during a tour of the Baghdadian behemoth.
It was an anniversary long in the making. Opposition dogged the project nearly from the day that city officials and historic preservation-minded boosters joined up in 1998 and decided that it was now or never to save the movie palace.
Detractors complained that the original $60 million budget should go to affordable housing, schools, a community center — anything but the restoration of another movie palace just blocks from the likewise majestically restored Paramount Theatre.
Supporters argued that the theater would anchor a downtown revival. And it did.
A Fox Theater T-shirt for sale Friday night read, “Who’s Bridge and Tunnel Now?” The theater and the development around it have made a difference.