Old BART headquarters torn down


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The five-story building at 800 Madison St. in Oakland that served as the transit agency's headquarters for 33 years, from 1971 to 2004, will soon be gone, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said this week.

There won't be a dramatic explosion to tear down the building. Instead, the structure is being taken down little by little, Johnson said.

The lane of Madison Street adjacent to the building has been closed to traffic for several weeks while demolition crews do their work.

BART police cars that used to park next to the building are now parked on the opposite side of Madison Street, next to Madison Square.

The old headquarters building was the site of many contentious BART board meetings over the years and also was the site of labor negotiations many times.

In the last round of labor talks, union and management negotiators met at the building until nearly 3 a.m. on July 6, 2005, before finally reaching an agreement that averted a strike that had been planned for that day.

BART moved its main office about a mile away to a high-rise building at 300 Lakeside Drive in Oakland in 2004.

BART directors continued to meet at the old headquarters until early 2005, when they moved their meetings to a high-rise building at 344 20th St. in Oakland, adjacent to the 300 Lakeside Drive building.

After the old headquarters is torn down, in a process that may take a few more months, the transit agency's Police Department will continue to operate in the basement level, as will BART's operations control center.

BART will continue to own the property, but Johnson said no plans have been made about what to do with it.

He said BART will begin a dialogue with the community to figure out the best use for the land.

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