Tag Archives: Dave Fogarty

Berkeley Oaks Theatre efforts stall in negotiations

A local group spearheaded by Councilman Laurie Capitelli hopes to turn the Oaks Theater into a community arts space. Photo: Oaks Theater Consortium
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[Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m. with additional information from Councilman Laurie Capitelli.]

A local consortium’s attempts to come to an agreement to use North Berkeley’s Oaks Theatre on Solano Avenue and convert it into a community arts performance space have thus far been unsuccessful, reports Councilman Laurie Capitelli, who has spearheaded those efforts.

Capitelli provided an update to his constituents via email Friday. He thanked those who had expressed support for the venture, which kicked off last fall.

Last year, Capitelli, along with the Youth Musical Theater Company, formed a task force — the Oaks Theater Consortium — to spearhead the campaign to renovate the auditorium to remove the wall that separates the two theaters, take out several hundred seats from the balcony, and rebuild the main stage as a single performance space. The idea would be to bring together a group of anchor tenants from a range of arts organizations, and also potentially to offer simulcast viewings of special events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl, as well as host film festivals or smaller symposiums or panels. … Continue reading »

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Last chance: Oaks Theatre survey; sketches revealed

Visions of how Solano Avenue's Oaks Theater could one day look. Illustration: Miguel Lievano
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The possible transformation into a performance space of the shuttered Oaks Theatre on Solano Avenue remains uncertain, but the final word on the deal could come sometime in November, according to several people involved with the transaction.

In the meantime, local real estate agent and council member Laurie Capitelli has been raising awareness, surveying the public and drumming up pledges of financial support to the tune of more than $120,000. … Continue reading »

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Wooing larger stores may be key to Telegraph’s success

Student shopping and nightlife needs may play a key role in the future of Telegraph Avenue. Photo: kukkurovaca
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Telegraph Avenue could use more large clothing retailers and a grocery store, along with more options for nightlife and buying household goods, if it hopes to grow financially moving forward, city staff said Tuesday as part of a special work session on the avenue.

Some officials said the city needs to take a proactive approach to marketing properties that become available, and perhaps adjust the city’s permitting process to make it easier to attract larger businesses. Others said landlords might take it upon themselves to lower rents for new businesses, so the burden isn’t only on the city.

“I think we have to go out on dates,” said Councilwoman Linda Maio. “I think we have to identify retailers that we want, that we have a space for. I think we have to introduce them to the mayor. I think we have to wine and dine them and bring them into town. I think we have to show them the campus and the enormous potential here. I don’t think it’s going to serve us well to sit back and wait for somebody to come our way.” … Continue reading »

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Concern over future location of cannabis collective

Front entrance to Berkeley Patients Group
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Last Tuesday afternoon, around 1:30pm, Rebecca, who describes herself as a “50ish” recent transplant from Los Angeles, headed over to the Berkeley Patients Group at 2747 San Pablo Avenue. For the past six months, ever since she moved north, Rebecca has gone to the medical cannabis dispensary once a month to get marijuana to help her with her insomnia brought on by menopause.

“It’s my favorite place,” said the Rockridge resident, who did not give her last name. “It just feels like a community place. The folks are very knowledgeable. I really rely on what they say.”

Rebecca does not know what she will do when BPG closes its doors on May 1, a casualty of the recent federal crackdown on dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of a school or park. She has visited other collectives, but none has made her feel as welcome as Berkeley Patients Group. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley students want better stores, fewer street people

People hanging out on Telegraph on Memorial Day Photo: Nancy Rubin
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While UC Berkeley students eat regularly downtown and on Telegraph Avenue, they generally go elsewhere to shop for clothes, get their hair cut, buy sundries, or go out on the town, according to a new survey of 1,800 graduate and undergraduate students.

While 40.3% of the respondents say they eat weekly on Telegraph Avenue, at least half said they visit the street less than once a month to shop, work, or get personal or professional services. Instead, they go to Emeryville or San Francisco. The numbers were similar for downtown.

But the students said they would frequent Berkeley’s shops more frequently if the selection was better, the streets were cleaner, and they felt safer walking around. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Will pharmacy war lead to new restrictions in Berkeley?

This Walgreens on Shattuck is moving within two blocks of a CVS store
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[This story was updated on 4/19/11.]

As the retail war between CVS and Walgreens heats up in Berkeley, Mayor Tom Bates is calling for a new law that prohibits any new pharmacy from locating within 1,000 feet of another pharmacy.

Bates will ask the City Council on April 26 to consider the new restrictions. If adopted, the planning department would work to amend the city’s zoning ordinances to add the changes.

“Everywhere you turn you see a Walgreens or … Continue reading »

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Real estate

Retail sales in Berkeley decline by $200 million

One of Berkeley's vacant retail properties on Ashby
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During the last two years, retail sales in Berkeley have dropped by nearly $200 million, prompting the closure of many stores and leaving numerous vacant storefronts, according to information gathered by the city’s Office of Economic Development.

While the recession is partly responsible, the drop also reflects the impact of some of Berkeley’s long-term planning decisions. The city has focused on creating boutique shopping districts like the Elmwood and Solano Avenue in lieu of creating malls that can hold big-box … Continue reading »

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