UPDATE: I had the wrong address for the location. The correct address is now updated below.
I apologize for not having the time to put together this week’s events listing, especially since there’s a ton happening this week, as always (feel free to use the comments section below to promote any events you know about). But there was one thing I couldn’t have forgiven myself for not writing about – the community meetings tonight and Thursday night about the proposed removal of Big Longs and the expansion of Safeway on Pleasant Valley, between Broadway and Piedmont.
As you probably can guess from my previous posts on the College Avenue Safeway, I’m all for store expansions when they add to the community, especially when they add in additional small retail, which this plan calls for as well. But I couldn’t be much more sad about the potential loss of Big Longs. There’s basically nowhere else in North Oakland (or anywhere in central Oakland up until Walmart) that you can find everything at any time of day (they’re open 24 hours!). Seriously, every time someone asks me where to find something random, I recommend Big Longs. They have a huge garden section, hardware, kitchen supplies, pet stuff, a surprisingly large fabric section, groceries, and of course all the stuff a regular Longs would have. When the Big Longs closes, I’ll probably have to do my random shopping at Target in Albany.
That said, I’m not sure what can be done to save Big Longs, unless Longs wants to stay and is getting pushed out. If the closure of Longs is a done deal, the next best thing is to make sure that the small retail that’s added to the plaza covers most of what Longs offers. I’d love to see a small nursery and a hardware store, for example.
At this point, the plan’s preliminary, but you can check out Safeway’s design plans.
One thing that sticks out to me about this plan is that they’re adding more parking (which seems crazy), but they do plan to take away some surface parking by adding parking on top of the Safeway. This will create extra room for retail shops on Pleasant Valley.
Tonight and Thursday night are the first opportunities to weigh in about this project so if you have any thoughts or concerns, I highly recommend attending one of the meetings:
Tuesday June 23, 2009 7-8:30 pm or Thursday June 25, 2009 7-8:30 pm
Chapel of the Chimes Mortuary, 4499 Piedmont Avenue (Just off Pleasant Valley)
You can find more info about the meetings and answers to basic questions in Safeway’s flyer.