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Greyhound’s Gone, But Building Gets Another Chance

The only memory Jane Rehberg-White has of the Greyhound station is a faint recollection of some time in the ’80s; something about a Fresno boyfriend who was a bus passenger — either arriving or departing. Other than that, Rehberg-White said she grew up in Redding barely noticing the Greyhound depot.

“I never really paid that much attention to it,” she said with a laugh.

She’s paying plenty of attention to the building these days. She owns it. Rehberg-White and her husband Dean White recently bought the building. Escrow closed last month and they plan to begin remodeling as soon all the city of Redding permits are in order. Regarding the city, Rehberg-White said its representatives are “working” with her in terms of the permits and the building’s age. For example, to off-set such potentially costly safety measures as sprinklers, the city is allowing the project to bypass that with the creation of exit staircases. Even with such compromises, she emphasized that the city wasn’t “handing” them anything.

When the depot closed its doors at Pine and Butte streets in September, bus passenger activity was re-routed to the nearby RABA station. The Greyhound building was put up for sale, and the Shasta Historical Society salvaged the old sign for safe-keeping.

The couple admitted that they first laughed when real estate agent Brad Jordan pitched the Greyhound building as a potential “Plan B” when looking at possible sites to relocate their company. Rehberg-White is the company’s president. Her husband is its chief financial officer.

“At first, it was like —  ‘Ha ha, he’s talking about the old bus station.’ ” she said.

Rehberg-White said it took them just a few minutes to look at the numbers — both the price ($383,000) and the expansive square footage (14,250) – before they realized that maybe the Greyhound building wasn’t a joking matter, after all.

“We said, ‘You know what?  This could work,’ ” White said, adding that he and his wife like old buildings, and appreciated the Greyhound’s quasi-Art Deco-style.

Now the real work begins, as Rehberg-White and her husband oversee transformation of the aged, neglected structure from a tired bus station to a new home for the Redding-based medical billing company, California Physicians Reimbursement, Inc., and its 75 employees.

They’re excited to get started as soon as possible. Gifford Construction will tackle the work, while architectural firm Kibler & Kibler will handle the design duties.

Despite the magnitude of the project before them, the couple remains upbeat and optimistic, and take in stride such obstacles as caved-in ceilings, and gaping openings where a ’70s restaurant once operated for about 20 years before literally being walled off as off-limits.

As an addedpurchase bonus – of sorts – when they bought the depot was a nearby metal storage shed across the parking lot that’s packed with …  

 … odds and ends and dated chairs …

… and bygone restaurant equipment.

Rehberg-White said she’ll do her best to retain as much as the building’s historical feel as possible, such as making an effort to keep the depot’s original exterior marble, and some tile work, and even some of the huge metal circular ceiling vents. Other parts that they can’t keep, like the old doors with the metal handles, will find a home with Bay Area salvage companies. (Note: Shasta County doesn’t have any construction salvage companies, just fyi.) 

The couple recently gave a guided tour to invited visitors, some of whom were curious friends, while others were employees who’d one day work inside the building, and wondered exactly where they’d sit, and where break rooms and front doors would be.

Rehberg-White, a self-described “chronic remodeler,” remains undaunted by the the scope and magnitude of work in store for the old building that includes former sleeping quarters and myriad bathrooms, storage rooms and compartments. She said she’s taking her bravery cue from her contractor, Ken Gifford.

“If he’s not afraid, then I’m not afraid,” she said.

Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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