Ace Hardware will move to 2020 Milvia St. soon. Photo: Google Streetview
Ace Hardware will move to 2020 Milvia St. in the spring. Photo: Google StreetView

Ace Hardware, which has been operating out of its space at 2145 University Ave. since 1945, will be moving sometime in the spring to 2020 Milvia St, just two blocks away.

Bill and Virginia Carpenter have to move their 16,000-square foot store because the building they are in is supposed to be extensively remodeled to make way for the 205-unit Acheson Commons apartment complex. (Equity Residential, which owns the entitlement rights to build Acheson Commons put them and its entire Berkeley portfolio up for sale last year, however.)

The Carpenters have been looking for a new space since 2012, even before the city council approved Acheson Commons in 2013. They almost moved into the old Andronico’s space on University Ave., but later decided it was not right for the store. Savers Thrift took over the space instead, but shut its doors in January.

The Carpenters wanted to stay in downtown Berkeley, where a version of the hardware store has been since 1895, said Bill Carpenter.

The new space will be 11,000-square feet and won’t have any parking, which is sure to be a blow to some current customers.

“They’re not going to have as much parking to support the handyman who is working in the Berkeley Hills and who comes down to get a paintbrush,” said Toby Parks, the realtor from MRE Commercial Real Estate who found the space for the Carpenters.

Carpenter said the store won’t carry inventory that “only sells once every four years.” But Parks said the building will have new shelving that has double the capacity of the existing shelving. The new store will make changes to its inventory as well, catering to the needs of people living in multi-family housing nearby.

“The corporate Ace really liked the space,” said Parks. ‘You are really seeing more and more of these urban Ace spaces, which are like Target Express. You are seeing these consolidated spaces.”

While there are some empty shelves inside Berkeley Ace Hardware’s new home, the story probably won’t open until spring. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

No date has been set yet for the transition, as the building owner is still readying the space, said Carpenter. There is a sign on the window and some shelving has been set up. Carpenter said it could take six weeks to move everything over.

The Tioga Building, as 2020 Milvia St. is called, was home for many years to Vista College, the former name of Berkeley City College. The building was recently remodeled and seismically upgraded.

The Carpenters’ building and the rest of the block are owned by Equity Residential, which has put that and seven other Berkeley apartment buildings up for sale.  If Equity does sell the Acheson Commons site, the new owners will take over the entitlements for the large apartment complex.

Equity had told Ace that it could move back into the refurbished complex and that it would even build 22 parking spaces for its customers. But that meant the store would have to close down for a number of years or find an alternate location.

Carpenter said his new lease at 2020 Milvia St. is for eight years.

No date has been set yet for the transition, said Carpenter. The building owner is still readying the space. There is a sign on the window and some shelving has been set up. Carpenter said it could take six weeks to move everything over.

Read more about Berkeley Ace Hardware.
Read more about Acheson Commons.

This article has been updated to say Acheson Commons was approved in 2013, not 2012.

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...