Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
Everyone who lives in the area wants a Trader Joe's, Lunardi's, or other high quality grocery store to take over the Barnes and Noble building so that they do not need to drive to Alameda or Lake Merritt for groceries. This would bring foot and shuttle traffic to the area, especially given the scarcity of full service grocery stores in downtown. Rumor is that the developers either are prohibited by contracts with the prospective "Marketplace" retailers, or simply refuse, on the basis of not wanting to alienate possible "Marketplace" retailers, to allow a grocery store there. This is a big mistake. Frankly, a grocery store would benefit the "marketplace" since it would draw additional people who desire a "one-stop" location.
I think that it's pathetic that the developer would rather reap losses (that they surely can use for a nice write-off) rather than reduce the rents in order to get the market started. The main purpose for the market is to serve the area, and there has been a huge influx of residents into the Oakland downtown, Uptown, and Jack London Square area. The developer is falling down on their community opportunity, and waiting until their pockets can bulge. Money over true service to community. It sickens and saddens me.
This well-researched article catches what's happening in the Square well. but there is one factual error -- the name of the local organization serving residents and businesses is the Jack London District Association, not "square association".
Ben Delaney, President, JLDA
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