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John Mardikian, the general manager of Mua, a trendy eatery on Webster Street right where it meets Broadway, says he prefers that the area develop on its own, rather than have the city embark on a massive effort to attract large retail. His establishment has become a popular post-work hangout for local workers and residents living in the nearby condos, and he thinks that when the city steps into development issues, it "fucks it all up."
Still, there is reason for hope. Quan said last week in her state of the city speech that retail sales were up 12 percent in Oakland.
And while Barnhart is a supporter of redevelopment, the slow and steady growth that is happening in the area is helping keep her dream, and her store, Bay Area Bikes, alive. "Retail begets retail — just like restaurants," she said. "As more stuff has grown around them, it has helped our business."
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