Three and a half months after Berkeleyside broke the news that Walgreens was to take over the old Elephant Pharmacy space at 1607 Shattuck Avenue, the giant retail chain has started construction work on the building ahead of opening.

On hearing of the move in October, many Berkeleysiders were dismayed with the idea of Walgreens moving in. Reader C.J. Higley wrote something of a eulogy to the building’s previous occupant:

“Dear Elephant: Please forgive me for all the times I made fun of you during your brief, earnest life here in Berkeley. I hope you know my teasing was all in good fun! I never realized just how much I’d miss you. I loved your $1 offbeat indie DVDs and your reasonably priced Strauss Family Farms dairy products. Maybe I didn’t need your Super Blue-Green Algae, but someone did… probably. I still wear the hemp hat you sold me all the time! You were [almost] the Berkeley General Store we sorely needed. R.I.P Elephant. Your candle burned out long before your legend ever will.”

Others commented that they were relieved the empty space would once again be occupied. Reader Ode wrote: “I hope that Walgreens will be sensitive to the neighborhood, revive some of the very good things that Elephant Pharm represented, and thrive.”

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...