There goes the neighborhood—in the best way possible. April brings the opening of Estación Federal, a mixed-use compound housed in an abandoned 1950s structure that includes a café, deli, shipping container art gallery, craft brewery, a courtyard that hosts a monthly farmers’ market, and a cluster of office spaces and apartments whose monthly rents average $500—all within a 10-minute walk from the San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing.
Behind the project is Centro Ventures, a Tijuana real estate firm headed by 29-year-old CEO Miguel Marshall. The company is no stranger to border innovations. They’re behind Bordo Farms, a series of box gardens set along the Tijuana River canal tended to by deportees, and Hub Station, a coworking space housed in what was once Avenida Revolución’s dilapidated Mexicoach bus terminal.
Estación could mean big changes for Colonia Federal, which was originally set aside by Mexico’s federal government in the 1940s to house customs employees in Tijuana. Not only is it one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, it’s also one of the smallest. One street leads into the neighborhood; another leads out.
But despite its physical limitations, Marshall sees Colonia Federal with the potential to be a place where there are no borders, or as he calls it, “A transborder district.”