College Avenue Safeway rebuild

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Red Oak Realty move to College Ave.

News in reverse chronological order

June 6, 2009: Red Oak Realty withdraws application, retail use to be preserved

In early May, RCPC learned that Red Oak Realty’s use permit application had been pulled off the June 3 Planning Commission agenda. We then heard that Dreyer’s, the landlord for the site, had reconsidered and decided that it would not rent to Red Oak Realty, making the use permit application moot. Dreyer’s indicated that it had not realized the neighborhood’s concerns about the use of the space.

Presumably, Dreyer’s change of heart had something to do with letters Rockridge residents wrote to the City and/or Dreyer’s expressing their objections to Red Oak’s proposal. If so, give yourselves a pat on the back.

RCPC would like to thank the more than 40 College Avenue merchants who signed the petition to the City opposing Red Oak Realty’s move. We think the City got the message that College Avenue retail needs and deserves continued protection.RCPC will be working with Dreyer’s and its real estate agent, Cityshapers, to identify one or more appropriate retail tenants for this large and important space.

April 24, 2009: June 3 Planning Commission hearing set for Red Oak Realty Use Permit for Dreyer’s building retail spaceRed Oak Realty’s application to move its Oakland office into the 4,000 square foot space formerly occupied by Cotton & Co. has tentatively been set for hearing at the Planninng Commission’s June 3 meeting.  RCPC has been negotiating with Red Oak to see if it’s possible to identify a viable and enforceable compromise that would keep the College Avenue frontage in retail use.  RCPC has also circulated a petition to College Avenue merchants in support of keeping ground floor College Avenue space in retail use.  Ask your favorite merchants if they've signed yet. 

Plan to attend the June 3 commission hearing and let the commissioners know that Rockridge residents want to protect our successful retail district. Planning Commission meetings are held at Oakland City Hall, One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (between 14th and 15th Streets at Clay Street), Hearing Room No. 1, starting at 6 p.m. Contact planner Dave Valeska (238-2075,, RCPC Chair Stu Flashman and the Oakland Planning Commissioners now to let your voice be heard.

April 4, 2009: Red Oak Realty Use Permit for Dreyer’s building retail space to be heard by Planning Commission

Red Oak Realty’s application to move its Oakland office, now located at Pleasant Valley and Broadway, into the 4,000 square foot space formerly occupied by Cotton & Co. in the Dreyer’s building at College Avenue and Chabot Road will probably be heard by the Planning Commission some time in April.

RCPC is opposed to this move for two reasons: First, the Dreyers building lies in the heart of College Avenue’s commercial district. Putting this large non-retail use into that key location is likely to seriously damage the continuity for the pedestrian shopper. Second, office uses can often afford to pay much higher rents than retail merchants. Allowing major office uses to move in on the ground floor of College Avenue will encourage landlords to further raise their rents, potentially displacing retail merchants.

RCPC asks you, Rockridge News readers and others who shop on College Avenue, to help by urging merchants you patronize to oppose this dangerous application. The planner is Dave Valeska, phone 510/238-2075, or e-mail

February 8, 2009: Red Oak Realty Applies for Use Permit for Dreyer’s building retail space

Red Oak Realty has applied for a conditional use permit to relocate its office from Broadway and Pleasant Valley Road to the corner ground-floor retail space (College Avenue and Chabot Road) in the Dreyer’s building. RCPC formally objected to such a move, citing the importance of this centrally located retail space and zoning requirements favoring retail-only use in street-level commercial locations.

October 10, 2008: Proposal for Red Oak Realty to occupy Cotton & Co. space in Dreyers Building

RCPC has been notified that Cotton & Company apparently intends to vacate its retail space in the College Avenue street frontage of the Dreyers Building.  Red Oak Realty (whose Oakland office is currently located at the corner of Broadway and Pleasant Valley Ave.) has asked RCPC about its position on their leasing this prominent location from Dreyers. 

Under College Avenue’s C-31 zoning, this kind of non-retail ground floor use requires a conditional use permit from the City.  RCPC’s long-standing position has been to oppose such uses because they reduce College Avenue’s value as a retail center.  The RCPC Land Use Committee has considered, but made no recommendation on, Red Oak’s proposal. 

The Board of Directors took up the proposal at its Sept. 4th meeting, but decided to put off for a month a decision on whether to oppose this proposal.  The reason, in large part, was to allow time to hear from Rockridge residents. 

Your comments, pro or con, on this important and recurrent issue are encouraged.  Please direct your comments to LUC Chair, RCPC, 5245 College Ave. PMB 311, Oakland, CA 94618 or via e-mail to