SAN LEANDRO -- Within months, instead of a construction site, BART riders will be able to view a 350-foot-long mural on the side of a 247,000-square-foot, bright white warehouse being built south of the San Leandro station.
"The mural is going to reflect the history of Portuguese immigrants that settled in San Leandro," said Gail Hannagan, spokeswoman for Preferred Freezer Services, which is building the cold storage warehouse. When it opens this summer, the warehouse will have 50 employees, increasing to 100 once it's at full operation.
The $50 million warehouse is being built on a long-vacant 15-acre site off San Leandro Boulevard, south of Marina Boulevard, that at one time was home to the Hudson Lumber Company. More than 300 people have been working on the construction project since it began last fall, a city spokesman said.
"The pace of construction for this project has been astounding," said Jeff Kay, San Leandro's business development manager.
Preferred Freezer has six other cold storage warehouses in the state, but most are in Southern California, Hannagan said. The San Leandro building will have 15 million cubic feet of storage, with three temperature zones to house different types of foods, such as produce and ice cream, she said.
"This site is convenient to the ports, where most frozen food comes in," Hannagan said.
The 60-foot-high mural will have two sections. The top will have images of the Azores, where many of the city's early Portuguese residents immigrated from during the Gold Rush, according to a news release. Images of fruit, vegetables and cherry trees will reflect their farming heritage.
The lower half will have images of fish and oyster beds, which flourished in San Leandro at the turn of the 20th century.
Since the building is a cold storage facility, the mural will feature ice crystals, snowflakes and polar bears on the right side.
"This is a very cool opportunity for a mural with the visibility from BART," Kay said. "The mural will add pizazz for people passing through the city on the BART line."
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.