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Visions for Vacancies: Former Blockbuster Video

What would you like to see in the former Blockbuster Video on Piedmont Avenue?

The former Blockbuster on Piedmont Avenue is still sitting vacant.  BevMo attempted to lease the space but was denied by the Planning Commission.  We would like to know what you would like to see here.

This building is located at 3868 Piedmont Ave. at the corner of Montell Street. Many nearby merchants and residents signed a petition to deny BevMo from leasing the space.  The reasons for denying the the permit included lack of parking, air quality concerns from increased auto traffic, the possibility of increased panhandling, and the threat to existing wine and spirit shops on Piedmont Ave.  The vacant building has not only become an eyesore, but its become a place where people loiter, drink in the parking lot, etc...

I spoke with the owner of the building and he does understand people’s concerns and wants to work with the community. Some have suggested dividing the building into several smaller storefronts, but he says that is not economically feasible. For example, each space would require separate entrances and exits, bathrooms, ADA compliance, utilities would need to be sub-metered, and so on.

Submit your suggestion on Spotmojo using this link: http://www.spotmojo.com/openspot/3868piedmont/

You can also use the code “3868Piedmont” on Spotmojo.com to find this spot.

Piedmont Patch is working with Spotmojo to collect your suggestions for vacancies.  Spotmojo is a website where you can suggest the businesses you want where you live, work, or play. The suggestions are provided to new businesses and commercial real estate brokers to help new businesses find their ideal location. This gives you a voice in the businesses that open in your neighborhood and it helps local businesses succeed.

Gary Alan February 21, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Why don't we have some conversation about the closed J's Mexican American Food restaurant, 4063 Piedmont Ave (between Glen Ave & 41st St), Oakland, CA 94611 LOCATION? That is a much bigger eyesore than the former Blockbuster on Piedmont Avenue.
Gary Alan February 21, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Seems like the neighborhood is really organized to protest but not to plan. We certainly don't need another nail salon to replace L'amyx Tea Bar, 4179 Piedmont Ave (between Linda Ave & 41st St), Oakland, CA 94611. We should have had some conversation on this one too.
Michael Hsueh February 21, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Gary - thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I can definitely cover those vacant spaces. I believe I can cover J's Mexican next week and L'amyx the following week. Thanks again.
Tim Rood February 21, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Michael - or you could just link to this 2011 Piedmont Patch thread about J's Mexican: http://piedmont.patch.com/articles/what-do-you-wish-were-at-the-corner-of-41st-and-piedmont#photo-8116630
Len Gilbert February 22, 2013 at 05:12 AM
BevMo would be great here. I understand the concern about liquor stores and the problems and loitering that they can attract, but the BevMo customers are not going to "bring down" the neighborhood. However another empty storefront will. I wish the Piedmont Avenue businesses that oppose BevMo had put as much energy into keeping the library in its former location.
David Cohen February 23, 2013 at 06:17 AM
I agree with Len Gilbert that BevMo would have been great at the former Blockbuster site. The Oakland Planning commission didn’t support it in the face of a fierce resistance campaign by a local group. At the time, I thought that the local effort was misguided, their arguments way overblown. It looked like displacement behavior: a winnable fight that provided satisfaction in the midst of other problems more difficult to solve. Missing from the anti-BevMo agenda was any consideration of what now appears to be a chronic state of affairs, a dismal vacancy, a Pyrrhic victory. Maybe the anti-BevMo team could step up now and offer a solution.
Greg Endom February 23, 2013 at 04:44 PM
BevMo! madea good faith effort to work with the neighborhood and address the community concerns. Instead of working in a collaborative fashion, the few neighborhood spokes people elected not to engage BevMo in a meaningful dialog and come to a win win situaiton but raise a slew of outrageos, un-substantiated concerns and stoke the flames of nimbyism. Among the many issues that BevMo! was alledged to contribute to was loitering, panhandling and a degradation of the neighborhood. Looks like none of those are present with the vacant building that current sits there now. Not. I am not sure that No No BevMo! was a big win for the neighborhood? Maybe the next viable tenant for the space will be treated with fairness and collaboration.
Gary Alan February 23, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Tim, Thanks for the reference. I just purchased property here so wasn't around in 2011. Guess the owner at the corner of 41st and Piedmont is raking in the rent for that vacant property???? Must be some good business sense there somewhere???
Donna Hall February 24, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Do any of you commenters actually LIVE in the immediate vicinity of the Blockbuster site, i.e. the stretch between MacArthur and Montell? I was delighted that the NO NO BevMo campaign was successful! I have nothing against BevMo and I shop at their other Oakland store at JLS...but this would NOT have been an ideal location for it. I live on Yosemite Avenue and it's bad enough that we have to deal with the patrons that come to this area for Egbert Souse's bar on Piedmont/MacArthur. Their drunken rowdiness, extreme street noise (both verbal AND from their cars, motorcycles and booming car stereos vibrating residential windows), loud yelling and fighting, and taking up neighborhood parking (sometimes illegally, which means calling OPD for towing) is already unsettling from a safety standpoint, not to mention a royal annoying pain. Egbert Souse's attracts VERY "unsavory" outsiders to this end of Piedmont Avenue who hang out and loiter on these blocks 7 days/week. To have provided another convenient alcohol 'n smokes outpost within 2 blocks would've been asking for additional unwanted auto traffic and less-than-friendly pedestrian traffic on this end of the Avenue well into the night time hours. I've already posted my suggestion on Spotmojo for what I'd like to see in the Blockbuster site. I'm a big supporter of local "Oakland Grown" small businesses so I would be first in line to oppose any of the corporate chain entities like BevMo, Gap, etc. moving in.
David Cohen February 25, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Ms. Hall’s post illustrates some of the weaknesses of the anti-BevMo position. 1. She assumes that she has the closest geographical proximity, and that proximity dominates the right to comment. The argument weakens if a commentator opposing her also has reasonable proximity. It also weakens in view of the consideration that legitimate stakeholders may have a wider geographical distribution than she’s imagining. 2. As before, the very first thing the anti-BevMo people start talking about is Egbert Souse. In Ms. Hall’s post, that subject consumes half of the total text. Everyone agrees that the Egbert enterprise is a mess, but it’s a different subject. And the fact that the anti-BevMo argument is so Egbert-centric, and so obviously trying to paint BevMo as equal to Egbert, exposes the absence of an actual single strong anti-BevMo argument. 3. Everyone is in favor of local grown business, etc. But there’s that same view, as before, that somehow we can wish them into existence, and sweet-talk them into moving here. As for the Spotmojo thing, maybe it works, but check the website and search around. You will find that Spotmojo is completely silent as to who they are and what their business is.

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