Pleasant Valley Safeway returns to Design Review

We had a robust little discussion around these parts back in December about the Safeway’s new plans for the Rockridge Shopping Center. It had been scheduled to come before the Planning Commission’s Design Review Committee on December 8th, but the meeting was canceled at the request of Safeway.

Now it’s back. The Planning Commission’s Design Review Committee will be considering the plans (PDF) at their meeting this Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 5 PM at Oakland City Hall Hearing Room 1.

Safeway’s plans have not changed since December, and so for those who missed out last time, you can get caught up by reading the staff report (PDF) for that meeting, or checking out the Cliffs Notes version on the post I wrote about it back then.

Safeway’s plans for this site, which basically entail taking a big suburban style strip mall and building another suburban style strip mall in its place, went over like a lead balloon with local community groups RCPC, STAND, and ULTRA when they were first released back in 2009. The revised plans did not receive a much warmer welcome, and these often-at-odds organizations have united once again, joined by Friends and Neighbors of Safeway (FANS) and the Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood Improvement League (PANIL), to voice many of the same concerns (PDF) as they did a year and a half ago.

Deficiencies in Pleasant Valley Safeway Proposal

If you’re having trouble reading that, you can enlarge the picture by clicking on the image above, or just download the illustration in PDF form. They don’t mince words when summing up their reaction to the plans:

The fundamental flaw in this proposal is that it is inward facing and does not respond to or integrate itself with the adjacent urban neighborhoods. And in an attempt to disgusise this it is sheathed in a bewildering array of textures, styles and articulations.

They’ve submitted a number of alternative suggestions. One emphasizes residential uses on the site:

Pleasant Valley Safeway Residential Concept

If that’s too hard for you to read, here’s the PDF version.

As much as most people seem to agree that the inclusion of residential units is a natural fit for this well-located site, I don’t find discussing it particularly compelling, since Safeway has made it clear that housing simply won’t work for them for a variety of reasons.

I think that a more productive discussion can be had if we focus on how the project could be improved while operating under the same general constraints that Safeway has outlined. Happily, the package submitted by the neighborhood groups also includes alternative concepts that focus on commercial uses:

Pleasant Valley Safeway Concept with Commercial Emphasis

This file (PDF) contains all the alternative concepts included in the response package.

The agenda package also includes all the letters the City has received about this project (PDF) since July of 2009. A huge number of them are about how they don’t want to lose Big Longs, a matter over which the City of course has no control. Other than that, most of the letter writers are pretty down on the project, except for the Chamber of Commerce (PDF), who seem to think it’s just great.

If you want to weigh in on the plans yourself, you can do so this Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at the Planning Commission’s Design Review Committee meeting at 5 PM in Oakland City Hall Hearing Room 1. Hope to see some of you there!

45 thoughts on “Pleasant Valley Safeway returns to Design Review

  1. Alan from Berkeley

    Berkeley has just given Safeway final approval to reconstruct its suburban style store on North Shattuck — producing a bigger suburban style store (mini mall) with retained surface parking and no housing.

    Thus Safeway will have a local recent success to point to: “If that style is OK with ever-picky Berkeley, why should Oakland object?”

    Many reasons of course, mainly focusing on the need for infill mixed development in the most walkable neighborhoods. In Berkeley most of those decrying the potential evil neighborhood impact of 2-3 stories of housing on part of the lot live nowhere near the site, meaning that they’ve gone beyond the usual NIMBY self-centeredness to focus on everybody else’s backyard as well.

    Since a radically different outcome is not likely, pushing for as many “neighborhood-centric improvements” as possible is probably the course of wisdom.

  2. Max Allstadt

    FYI, Safeway has been recruiting support and signatures in front of their store for a while now, in an attempt to create astroturf support for their preferred design. Whether they are able to turn anyone out remains to be seen, but it’s worth knowing, and it makes it more important for the good guys to show up in numbers at this coming hearing.

  3. ralph

    I had resigned myself to not advocating for a residential requirement on this parcel as I thought I read it was prohibited by legal documents covering the land. However, in reading through the emails, someone named dto510 said that Safeway is not prohibited from a residential usage. If it is possible to tear down a false opposition to residential then I would like to take my shots. Is this legal prohibition real?

    I would also like to see a better community area.

  4. Robert

    Ralph, presumably dto was referring to zoning restrictions. Safeway has indicated that it’s lease with the landowner prohibits residential, and that the landowner is not willing to change that. A different type of legal restriction.

  5. ralph

    Robert,
    Thanks. That was what I thought I read but I could not relocate it. Thanks for the clarification.

  6. len raphael

    Ralph, it’s simply that the property owners don’t want the hassle of residential. They want a straight commercial strip mall, triple net etc. Can’t say I blame them if they’re not set up to deal with residential tennants profitably, especially with just cause etc.

    They are operators who would handle all that for them. Not obvious that it would reduce or increase the value of their property in the long. Certainly make the financing much harder.

    -len

  7. ralph

    Len,
    So if I understand you correctly, you are saying the landowner has no interest in selling any land to a developer who could build out residential development on this parcel.

    I am only in favor of ownership residential being part of the plan, which would delay the build out in this market. I would also support a handful of below market rate 2 and 3 bedroom units being included. Of course this is just wishful thinking.

  8. Chris Kidd

    The Safeway plans looked like they were cribbed straight out of the “Congress for a New Urbanism”, but without regard for context, intent, or even meaning.

    It’s like getting a meal cooked for you by a person who was born without the ability to taste. They just throw together recipe ingredients without understanding what they will taste like once combined.

  9. len raphael

    Ralph, i’m against use of eminent domain direct or indirect via zoning for privately owned developments.

    i’m sure the owner(s) would say that forcing them to do mixed use is a type of taking where the city is forcing the owner to borrow/invest in something they think is not in their best economic interest, riskier etc.

    And it is.

    But doesn’t the city do the inverse routinely when residential developers/owners want to only build residential on major corridors and the city forces them to put in high ceilinged ground floor retail?

    One tall ground floor of retail out of 7 total stories to a residential developer, is not the same risk as say 6 stories of residential out of 7 total to an owner who only wants to own strip mallls.

    What my neighbor the land use attorney was suggesting was some kind of very long term lease, to the operator/developer of a mixed use project, where Safeway is the anchor subtenant, and the operator deals with the hassles of residential tennants. would think the developer/operator would be the one to come up with the financing also. i have no idea how the securiity in that would work.

    Where’s the RDA when we need them for something useful?

    -len raphael, temescal

  10. ralph

    Len,
    I don’t know if I buy the comparison to ED. I think there have been developments in the Bay Area where the city has required a mixed use. I am thinking of the Burlingame (?) Safeway. But it has been some time since I have looked at the facts on that so I could be off.

    I am not following your residential tenant issue. I am a commercial landowner. I build commercial strips. I don’t do residential. Could I not sell some of the parcel to one who does residential?

  11. Dave

    This land is likely leased under a typical NNN commercial land lease. The tenant (Safeway) must pay a base rate VS/+ some % of sales. So no residential rentals or sublet to residential condo assoc. would typically be permitted since it would reduce the landlord’s rent. The only solution would be for the city to facilitate a purchase of the land to Safeway and a developer. Not too likely.

    BTW, CEQA mandates that the alternate uses proposed to be studied in the EIR must be feasible. This means physically possible, FINANCIALLY feasible and a lawful use.

    So remember this before you propose a 196 hole miniature Golf course, as much as I would love that for this site.

  12. len raphael

    Ralph, subdividing existing parcels, redrawing lot lines of multiple parcels can be done but expensive, time consuming, and probably would decrease the value of the land.

    Even after the city give all sorts of variances to make exceptions for minimum setbacks and such, there would have to be easements for utility lines and access. Sheesh.

    Tell us about Burlingame Safeway.

    -len raphael, temescal

  13. len raphael

    Dave, if the owner and Safeway agreed, there’s no reason a different lease couldn’t be structured that included residential. Suppose Safeway would pay less rent for smaller less desirable space, but the owner would get rent by the operator of the residential units.

  14. Dave

    The owner of the leased fee interest (land owner) has a lease to an S&P A rated credit (Safeway). The enhancement to value offered by that A rated credit would result in higher value of his interest than a non-rated entity paying higher rents, which residential is unlikely to do unless you went big.

    Additionally, the land owner acquires the improvements at the expiration of the lease. Safeway needs to build a center that will allow it to fully recapture it’s investment, plus target IRR during the remaining lease term.

    There seems to be a personalization of the land owner. This lease fee interest may be held in a closed-end private fund. It might be in a trust wherein it cannot be modified. Who knows ‘Its’ motivation.

    Finally, and IMPORTANTLY (!!!) the city cannot compel a property owner to build a use which is not required by the General Plan or the site specific zoning. Oakland can therefore not require residential either here or on the College Ave. Safeway site.

  15. Naomi Schiff

    Just to address the Payless/RiteAid/Longs/CVS store for a moment.

    We need to a) find somebody who would operate its replacement and b) find it a home on formerly-auto-row. Let’s proactively find the business and the site, and try to get the store that we want. I don’t plan to dart in to Safeway to buy ballpoint pens in the middle of the night, or get my minor potted plants there, no matter what they carry. The larger the store, the more of a hassle that last-minute detailed miscellaneous shopping becomes. I propose we push on this separately from the Safeway bad-design fracas.
    Boy that is some ugly stuff. Hate it. I dislike the trying-to-glue-some-phony-crap-on-the-outside approach to warming up ugly utilitarian architecture. It is hard to make it charming or friendly, esp. when in the midst of thousands of cars.

  16. len raphael

    Dave,”compelling a property owner” was my very question of the land use attorney.

    Response was of course the city can’t but it can make life very unpleasant for the owner and developer to strongly encourage them to put in mixed use.

  17. J

    Well at this rate in my opinion we aren’t going to get anything at the site. I would like to see i nice dense commercial area there as well but lets face it even if we did push the land owner to build residential it would be more like Bay Street than anything we actually want. I can see an upside to a commercial only development as a type of epicenter and community gathering place. All commercial isn’t always bad. I’m actually in favor of it in areas like the Valdez Triangle. where commercial only large lots would be perfect. My company is looking to open a large store in downtown but found NO store fronts of appropriate size to do so save one which is vastly overpriced and requires far more build out than we should have to do. Back to the point however, commercial only can be good and must be done right so lets focus our attention on getting Safeway to do that right rather than griping about what they will absolutely NOT do. Lets make the project as it stands better and more suitable within the guidelines they specify. after all it is their money and we are being rather caviler in telling them what to do with it.

  18. Naomi Schiff

    If you take the long view, we have a funny relationship with Safeway. Let’s name ex-Safeway stores abandoned and then re-used in various ways: The older Berkeley Bowl, the one on Claremont next to DMV, now some kind of medical thing I think, the one that was a church in No/West. Oakland near San Pablo, the one at 29th and Broadway, reused by cut-rate grocer, a couple up in the hills. Their history of building something typical of the commercial style of the time (50s and 60s, these) and then bailing out is long if not glorious. Not to mention moving their corp. hq out. So I’d be interested in thinking about what the longterm result of this development might be. Last week I linked here a couple of websites that post photos of dead or re-used shopping malls. This country has a lot of those. Who is thinking about the bigger picture, I wonder?

  19. Jenn

    I live a block away from the current site – and looking at the annotated drawing, I just have to laugh. “Quarry pond amenity”? That quarry pond is an ugly slime covered cesspool – I’m not sure anyone would go out of their way to gaze upon it – I know I sure don’t. It doesn’t even smell good a lot of the time.

    The funniest part is the complaint about the driveway to the loading docks being “featureless and uninviting” – well that’s the point – it just goes to the loading docks and we don’t want everyone driving back there (DOH!).

    I also thought it was funny how they criticize the lack of entrances on 51st/Pleasant Valley. That intersection is always a mess and there are tons of pedestrians – putting entrances right on Pleasant Valley, I think, would only add to the mess.

    If there was a road that just want across the shopping area from Pleasant Valley to Broadway – guess what? It would turn into a shortcut. Granted, the current configuration of driveways isn’t great but there’s got to be something better.

    While we’re on the subject of the driveways and parking lots – have any of you ever looked at the crime statistics for that corner? Lots of muggings and car robberies happen right there.

    If there is residential use included – what’s to say that won’t get worse – and/or spill over into the neighborhood?

    My main concern, though – would be to get them to turn down the brightness of their signs – you can see that freaking CHASE sign all the way at 51st/Telegraph. On the subject of signs – ugh – what about all those hideous billboards at that intersection? Who would want to live at the shopping plaza and have to look at that “view”? When is Oakland going to ban billboards?

  20. len raphael

    Jenn, my impression was that most of the crime at that intersection was daytime related to tech students preying on tech students.

    if i’m using http://oakland.crimespotting.org correctly, the safeway lot doesnt seem to be a hotspot BOA has a guard in front during biz hours. Front of Safeway very busy.

    30 years of going to that strip mall at various times, mostly evenings, maybe half a dozen times even appeared to be risky situations.

    no doubt high density would attract more crime. more eyes on the ground won’t counteract that without more cops to respond to the eyes calling for help. But the safeway and other retail private guards would help tremendusly. You wont get that happening when high density goes in on the rest of Bway.

    Years ago the city tried to close down the signs on the 4 corners. City lost that one.

    An neighbor of mine who was in gambler’s anonymous moved because the Cache Creek billboards drove him nuts.

    -len

  21. len raphael

    J, i don’t see much risk that nothing will happen at that site. Too valuable to both Safeway and the owners to work something out with the city.

    Curious that you say the lots along Bway auto row are considered decent size for retailers. Deeper than north of McArthur maybe, but deep relative to say typcial Target, Costco, or Walmart?

    I’m not expecting Nordie’s to come to Auto Row in my lifetime.

    -len

  22. Dave

    Len, Ha ha about Nordies on Broadway. Remember Irene Sargents, the downtown upscale independent lady’s haberdasher? You could retire to the gentleman’s corner and have a snoot of Scotch while your spouse blew your paycheck.

    Oakland’s plan for redevelopment is to wait for the return of Irene Sargents…at least that’s what it feels like. No discretionary funds, desperate for sales tax, the city is reduced to a passive observer.

  23. J

    All those sites on upper Broadway Auto row are large but require lots of build out and lack the transit amenities of places in the central part of downtown. No close bart station not much foot traffic and generally they are single story buildings with that would take a lot of both electrical and physical work to make usable.

  24. len raphael

    Dave, now you tell me about the (a)men(ities) of Irene Sargents. But didn’t that store hang on till just a couple of years ago, or is still tucked away somewhere?

    J, i never understood why city would try to bring retail to auto row before dto. something to do with convenience to piedmont, and high discretionary income areas of north oakland.

    So how attractive is dto for potential retailers these days? somehow i don’t get the impression that the 10k new residents have a whole bunch of disposable income.

  25. Naomi Schiff

    Irene Sargent kept the store going in what is now the cannabis univ. location at 17th/Bway, but she died in 1999. I used to see her driven up in a big black limo by a chauffeur, with her tiny dog. She was elegant and very very ancient. RE: sites on upper Bway, I just suggested it because people are worried about losing the store by the quarry–also not near BART. Further down Bway would be closer to BART. But each is served by 51 bus. Anybody reinstating this kind of use anywhere, including in the current site, would have buildout costs of some kind. My point was that the customer base exists, and they will need somewhere to patronize. Any convenient location would be fine. I’ll point out here that two huge hospitals, representing an enormous investment, are going up between Broadway/29th and Bway/ MacArthur. We should capitalize on their investment by immediately moving to put in complementary retail, of a modest enough sort to get built soon during the recession, not waiting for the nordstrom’s in the sky or the eternal macy’s which will not come.

  26. len raphael

    25 Ralph, strictly going by age and peak earning years. on the other hand, renting not owning, no kids those go the other way, no car. but eating out a lot really sucks up the bucks.

  27. Dan W

    While Safeway’s current plan is by no means perfect, it has been thoroughly vetted and incorporates much public input from the last two years of community meetings.

    If we let good be the enemy of perfect we will find our selves in a very familiar position as Oaklanders – complaining about the lack of local retail options, whining about the paucity of tax dollars generated and watching as the white, upper class activists of PANIL/RCPC/ULTRA/FANS/etc., determine the fate of development for all Oaklanders. One piece that is missing from this conversation is that the center is a REGIONAL shopping center that is being proposed to suit the needs of all Oaklanders.

    We should be ecstatic that our City leaders have not scared all big businesses away and that some businesses are still willing to pour millions of dollars into our local, struggling economy.

  28. len raphael

    Dan, the usual nimby blood libel doesn’t hold water on this project. and to call the involved residents “upper class” is just funny.

    Most of the residents in the area earn less than Oakland firefighters.

  29. J

    @ 24 Len. The type of business I’m putting in will draw large crowds and needs to be in a suitable, central location for the entire bay area being that there will only be one location per region making Oakland the most obvious choice. However, while the city has been more or less helpful the land owners in this town are greedy little scoundrels. We have been quoted some truly absorbent prices that seriously have us thinking walnut creek or Freemont might be better locations, or just skipping the Bay and going straight to Seattle which is our next stop anyhow. As an Oaklander I’m really trying to work with this city because it’ll be something thats great for it, but i also have to look at the bottom line and if that doesn’t pencil out thats unfortunate.

  30. len raphael

    are commercial retail rents higher here relative to similar or traffic areas in those locations; or is it mostly real estate purchase prices that are relatively higher?

  31. Art

    @J, all of Auto Row (and especially upper Auto Row) is walkable to BART—don’t forget about MacArthur! At the midpoint, it’s 3/4 mile to both 19th St. and MacArthur, and as you move north or south, you get closer to one or the other of those stations. If you consider transit-oriented locations to be those within a half mile of fixed route transit, most of that corridor is included—only a few blocks of Broadway around 28th/29th/30th are outside of that radius, and those are walkable to the proposed BRT line down Telegraph if that ever comes to fruition. Agreed on the foot traffic issue, though—honestly, I don’t think that will be resolved until there’s some decent mixed-use residential development there so that the strip doesn’t shut down at 8 pm. (That said, I was really excited this past weekend to take that walk around 10 pm and see far more people out and about than I would have a few years ago—a notable change that I suspect is the result of the cluster of restaurants and bars that have opened near B’way and 27th.)

  32. J

    @ Len, the purchase prices are about on par but Oakland has a glut of long distance building owners with no vested interest in the city. I had a guy from Chicago who owned a building in downtown that he would rather the building sit empty than take less than $4sq/ft rent. Its a sentiment shared by several downtown building owners. this is for retail space mind you. they list at a lower rate but when i comes time to make a deal the owner comes in asking for much more than the list price.

    @art I agree with you in terms of the walkable nature of upper Broadway auto row however i also have to look at what the average american would consider walkable and what someone not from the city would consider walkable within the city. for instance when doing my research i found that more people form outside the city, mainly the burbs and SF would take bart to 12 and 19th street to reach a destination. however they wouldn’t get off at either lake merrit or macarthur. i found that out of towners found AC transit confusing and uninviting. So as far as auto row goes, in addition to the older building stock that would be very costly to upgrade for the electrical needs of my business, it isn’t necessarily walkable to most people and certainly not people who aren’t familiar with the area.

  33. Dave

    UPDATE…Design Review Panel passes motion to approve plan and refer back to full board. Vote is 2-1 with Comm. Madeleine Zayas-Mart being the dissenter.

    The meeting started with a presentation by Safeway staff showing a ‘fly around’ animation of the project. Safeway is phasing construction to allow them to pre-lease much of the speculative retail space. This will result in a 2-3 year construction project. I was left with the impression that perhaps the retail market was not so strong. Newly revised was a large signalized intersection on Broadway where vehicles now swing across traffic to enter by the Boston Market.

    Safeway was followed by a group of Chamber real estate pro’s who were somewhat off topic (as were many others) since it was a design review. They talked about the need to get this project going as a lynch-pin of Oakland’s revitalization. A commercial broker stated that there are national tenants looking for the right spot to get into Oakland now. But…who?

    Who will the tenants be??? The Safeway Rep indicated that there would be a fitness club, restaurants and a maybe a drug / sundry/ hardware…and Petfood Express next to Safeway. These are tenants typical to a ‘community shopping center’ (as these jumbo’s are called in the biz)…retailers who are able to compete with the internet.

    The alliance of neighborhood groups presented next. They appeared to score a point with the accusation that the Pleasant Valley Road front was a false facade to shield a service entrance. It’s a FAKE! The presentation achieved a muted impact as some of their points had been addressed by design changes. There were again many who called for inclusion of residential on the site and the ground lease arrangement was attacked.

    Also, there persisted talk about the quarry pond as an amenity. No one seemed to know who owned the quarry pond and did not seem to notice the large pipe running into the pond from the golf course above. Yeah, it’s fed with runoff from the greens which has fertilizer in it causing the growth of the green slime. Nothing lives in the quarry pond. It is a dead lake. If you try to swim in it, please report back if you live.

    One suggestion that seemed to find a spark with the audience was for the inclusion of some sculpture / art which would continue up Broadway and wrap around to College making this the Visual Arts District.

    Another theme was the debate about ‘is this urban enough?’ Which at times because obscure. One speaker was able to quantify this. The new West Berkeley Bowl (Kava Massiharch) is good urban design. And indeed it is…Safeway is offering a neutral masonry exterior compared to the clean energetic lines of steel, glass and wood found in contemporary urban design.

    In the end, Comm. Colbruno commented that he felt that Safeway had made meaningful revisions and although there were things that could be discussed, he felt comfortable in voting to pass it on as the full board would be looking at it again (Draft EIR).

    Comm. Madeleine Zayas-Mart, (nominated by Dist.1 Rep Brunner). was ready to send Safeway back to the drawing board. She still wanted mixed use w/ residential. And she felt it was not Urban enough and did not have the excitement she wanted.

    The vote was cast, and the meeting was adjourned.

  34. Daniel Schulman

    Dave thanks for the excellent write-up. I got to the meeting late and you helped fill in the missing pieces for me.

  35. Dan W

    Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the DRC’s final ruling, last night’s community input was something all Oaklanders should be proud of.

    There is much work that must be done to make this project the best project it can be, but the community’s involvement is the best way for Safeway, the neighborhood groups and the greater Oakland community to receive the win-win we are all looking for.

    Thanks to all those who attended and spoke up.

  36. len raphael

    Today front entrance of Safeway was smothered with members of one of the retail worker unions, thanking people for shopping at safeway and asking them not to let Walmart expand. ?? Something about the union is worried that the cvs space would go to Walmart.

    Regardless of all the other reasons it wouldn’t happen, Isn’t Safeway the master leasee?

  37. Dave

    That’s my understanding from the presentation that the Safeway reps. made. The land-lease encompasses the entire site and it is is to a single leaseholder – Safeway. CVS’s lease runs to 2011 at which time construction will commence. There could however be a lease extension(s) on the CVS (Longs) lease that CVS had thought it would burn. These old drug and food anchor leases had many extensions. Now they can sell their lease to Walmart and make a few bucks.

    Imagine if the center ends up with Walmart in the CVS store with a paint n’ patch job.

    OMG! Now I won’t have to drive to Atlanta every time I want some polyester pants!

  38. len raphael

    Imagine if we repealed the city charter ban on outsourcing. SEIU would be sending out xmas cards to every resident thanking us for not laying them off. Repeal the binding arbitration for cops and firefighters, and they’d be much more appreciative also.

  39. Andrew

    I’m told that the Big Longs is now closed at 11 p.m., the end of an era.

    Agreed about the quarry pit: it will never be an amenity, unless it can be frozen for outdoor ice skating.

    Speaking of that intersection, what’s up with the opposite corner, an eyesore and vermin sanctuary for a decade now?

  40. Naomi Schiff

    I like the swallows that nest each year above the quarry on the rock walls, though. Maybe an approach would be to do some work toward making it a better body of water, say, working with the cemetery and Ca Fish and Game to improve it as part of Glen Echo Creek, which ultimately runs in to Lake M?

    I seem to remember that there is some craziness about the landowner, toxic cleanups, and eternal hopes for millions of dollars, connected with the opposite corner. Probably we should find a way to at least plant something over there, to green it up.

  41. len raphael

    Andrew, not sure what vermain you’re expecting, because the only unwanted residents seem to be one racoon clan, and an occassional possum. no rats or mice etc.

    a couple of years ago, the owner of the entire stretch on Bway (and three residential lots on 51st and Desmond) had a permit to demo the buildings to install an open parking lot to store cars for some of the car dealers.

    Resident’s successfully opposed demo without an approved development plan.

    Considering the same family has owned the parcels for 20 plus years so pay low prop taxes, and get substantial rents from the billboards, they’re in no rush to develop or sell.

    -len

  42. Leonard

    When all is said and done, the people in the area as well as the rest of the city will benefit to a much better shopping center. I know most people don’t want a suburban style shopping center, they should look at what the major benefits will be. 1) a new tax base, 2) more shopping opportunities, 3) and perhaps its not exactly what most would like to see built, lets consider most of East Oakland is lacking many of the amenities this very privileged neighborhood enjoys. Lets just have it build and enjoy what stores we’re going to get. Thanks.

  43. len raphael

    Naomi, the nearest listed toxic sites to that corner is the ex gas station just south of Wendy’s; and the gas station at Bway Terrace and Bway. Am surprised the old Shields and Harper building isn’t listed but even though they sold gas pumps, they apparently didn’t have one installed on the premises.

    -len

  44. Andrew

    I always imagined that if angels had a secret operating base down on the ground, they’d call it Shields and Harper. That made me a little sad when they moved out.