Yesterday, Temescal resident Karen Hester wrote about the Temescal location the New Parkway is considering, and I agree that Temescal would be a great location for the theater. But you know where would be just as good or even better – the other location the New Parkway is considering on Upper Broadway, the old Audi dealership at 2345 Broadway.
Even though I walk or bus past this building everyday, I had a hard time figuring out exactly which building it was (there are a lot of vacant spaces in that area) so I thought I’d share some photos to orient folks who might be as confused as I was.
In between 23rd and 24th on Broadway on the West side of the street across from the YMCA is a stretch of vacant storefronts that used to be auto dealerships. They’re large empty spaces with glass windows and some blue tiling:
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but these spaces are huge, blank canvasses, as they had to be to display so many cars. They could easily be converted to house a movie theater or a large dance club.
Besides being the right size, this building is in the right place. It’s towards the edge of Uptown, where stuff has only started to pick up in the past couple of years. A block and a half to the South are Pican and Ozumo. A block and a half to the North are Shashamane, Mua, and Nex. Yet this part of Broadway feel disconnected as there’s not much nightlife scene in between, and the New Parkway could help pull that stretch of Broadway together.
And it wouldn’t have to do it on its own (though I think it could). Right next door are the Packard Lofts and Mimosa, a champagne bar. Mimosa hasn’t quite taken off. It’s a good spot for events, but when events aren’t happening there, I rarely see more than 5 people inside as I walk by. Mimosa could benefit from the foot traffic that the Parkway would bring.
Coincidentally, when I took a bunch of photos on Broadway in November, Mimosa had this piece of artwork displayed:
The location is easily accessible by transit – the 51 drops you off right in front and several other bus lines stop a couple blocks away. BART is just a short walk down Broadway. The Temescal location has good transit options too, and you can imagine how much I hate to write this, but I fear that location’s downfall would be parking. I think it’s fairly easy to park in Temescal but the businesses and some of the residents don’t seem to think so and were very upset about parking spaces bus rapid transit might take away. I’m concerned that some neighbors might oppose the New Parkway moving to Temescal because they’re worried about losing parking.
Those wouldn’t be as big of issues on Broadway. Right next to the proposed location is a giant lot that’s usually full during the day but empty at night, even on weekends. It could handle most if not all of the New Parkway’s parking needs. There are several other lots and plenty of street parking within a couple blocks of the theater as well.
Just like Karen, who wants the New Parkway to come to her neighborhood, I’m a bit biased. I love the thought of being able to walk to the New Parkway, have some pizza and beer and watch a movie, and walk back home. I also love the idea of having some entertainment in the neighborhood besides bars and clubs.
But beyond my selfish wishes, I think this location would suit the New Parkway perfectly. The up and coming neighborhood would welcome it instead of fight it, the space seems near perfect, and it would speed up the development of and investment in upper Broadway.
Like I wrote in my post about 3000 Broadway, upper Broadway is developing on its own, whether the City’s specific plan moves forward or not. And even if the New Parkway doesn’t move to Broadway, it will continue to progress. But if the New Parkway does come to Broadway, this development will kick into high gear, as bars, restaurants, and retail will want to be near the theater and its foot traffic.
I contributed to the New Parkway and will be happy no matter where it ends up (assuming it stays in Oakland). Whether on Broadway or in Temescal, I’ll go to the theater and enjoy it, but I’m casting my vote for the Broadway location. You can share your opinion in the New Parkway’s extremely brief survey (it takes 30 seconds to a minute to complete). They aim to sign a lease within the next month so now is the time to think about where you’d like the New Parkway to locate.