Berkeley Ace Hardware has decided not to move from 2145 University Avenue where it has been for 50 years. Photo: Lance Knobel

Berkeley Ace Hardware has decided not to move to the former Andronico’s site at 1414 University Avenue and it appears that a used clothing store may be taking over the 25,000-square foot space instead.

After negotiating a lease with the property’s owner, Keenan Land Company, Bill and Virginia Carpenter, the owners of Berkeley Ace Hardware, decided not to make the move. Instead, the store appears to be staying put, despite the fact that it will sit in the center of a construction zone as the Acheson Commons, a 205-unit residential development, is built around it.

The Carpenters are on vacation and were not available for comment. But in August, they had reached a “fundamental agreement” with Keenan, according to realtor Michael Korman. Once the lease had been inked, the Carpenters had three weeks to sign it, but never did, according to a source familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be named.

The store that may be moving in is Savers Thrift, a 56-year old Washington-based company with 290 stores around the country, including locations in San Jose, Redwood City, and Milpitas. The stores carries everything from used men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, to housewares, electronics and furniture.

“Savers is no ordinary thrift store,” reads a description on the chain’s website. “As a leader and pioneer in the retail thrift industry, we’re a place where people from all backgrounds love to shop for great selection, deals and treasures. But there’s also a higher purpose for what we do.

Savers was founded in 1954 on principles such as giving back and providing opportunities—core values we still embrace today. Our more than 140 nonprofit alliances share this thinking and inspire us with their work. Partnering with local charities is not a byproduct of our business—it’s how we do business. So when you shop at Savers, you help support many local community programs.”

The news that the old Andronico’s would not become a hardware store is a disappointment to many neighbors who wanted a strong anchor for the area. Ideally, they were looking for another grocery store, they said.

“We don’t need another clothing store in this neighborhood — Goodwill and Out of the Closet are within walking distance,” Julia Scheeres, who lives nearby, said in an email. “We were hoping for another food market, as there are many families around here. Andronico’s was a bit overpriced for this hood, but a Safeway or the like would be most welcome. We’d rather the place stay empty than have a used clothing store move in, as the neighborhood kids have taken over the parking lot to play and ride bikes. It’s where both my girls learned to ride.”

One factor in finding a new tenant may center around parking. The owner of the building at 1414 University Avenue – right across the parking lot from the old Andronico’s – has filed a lawsuit claiming that her tenants have the right to use the parking lot. The buildings were once owned by the same person, so there is a “prescriptive easement,” to share the lot, the suit contends.

Berkeley Ace Hardware looks to move to Andronico’s site [08.28.12]
Acheson Commons: new large-scale change for downtown [04.09.12]
Infusion of money should spiff up remaining Andronico’s [11.30.11]

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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...