Town Crier: McCallou’s moving into new Montclair digs


courtesy of Will Rogers
The property owners of the longtime McCaulou’s location on Medau Place in Oakland’s Montclair District and Daniel Swafford, the Montclair Village Association’s executive director, look over plans to convert the building to multiple uses during a recent broker’s open house at the property. Appearing from left are co-owner Ed Hirshberg, co-owner Barry Bennett (in tie), Leeds Real Estate President Angelina Leeds and Swafford.

MONTCLARION: March 7, 2019

The blustery month of March is bringing winds of change to Montclair. McCaulou’s 40-plus-year hillside home is becoming a multiuse space. Doesn’t sound very sexy, but it could be a game-changer for Montclair Village. Longtime landlord Ed Hirshberg attended a broker’s open house last week to discuss plans for the Medau Place landmark that his father bought in 1953.

“We’ve received letters of interest to lease part of the new building from two prospective tenants,” says Hirshberg, who has been working with the community group Montclair on the Move (montclaironthemove.com) to find tenants that Montclarions will patronize.

Montclair on the Move founder Karen Ivanis says their survey of nearby hills residents shows folks would welcome “quality restaurants and a fresh, organic European-style marketplace” along the lines of Market Hall in Rockridge or Marketplace in Alameda.

Meanwhile, the transformation has begun, says Hirshberg. He has city approval to remodel the 17,000-square-foot building, adding a new Mediterranean style exterior with more windows and walkways facing Medau Place.

“In addition, we’re adding two verandas on the street side of the building. We figure the alteration will take two years and cost over a million (dollars). We hope to have the building occupied as soon as it is finished.”

In the coming days you’ll see McCaulou’s move its merchandise down to the 2000 block of Mountain Boulevard — where McCaulou’s Shoes and McCaulou’s Cards & Gifts already exist. It gives the family-owned retailer more ‘main street’ presence and frees up a prime location at 6211 Medau Place for four commercial spaces.

Around town: I got a chance to see Mountain Yoga’s new 6116 La Salle St. studio the other day. The second floor space is an inviting place — not just for yoga, but for a whole menu of performance art activities, including live music and dance. Director Ann Dyer is taking a visionary approach to this business and hopes it will be a place for artists and art lovers of all stripes to be inspired. Check out her website for Friday night salsa dancing and other events at m-yoga.org.

Email bag: The rain has been almost relentless this winter, and while it’s precipitated some beautiful blooms (especially the tulips and daffodils) it’s exacerbating our pothole problem. Reader Emily Sparks says Thornhill Road’s troubles are even more shocking when you drive along Woodhaven Way and Indian Way.

“This situation is unacceptable. We live on these roads,” she laments, indicating it’s a sad state of affairs that sheds a poor light on Oakland.

In other neighbor news, Montclair photographer Reenie Raschke says she’s organized a screening of “Evolutionary Blues” in the New Parkway Theater at 6:45 p.m. March 19. On the heels of Black History Month, this is the documentary that details the black migration to Oakland and the jazz and blues clubs that emerged along the city’s Seventh Street as a result.

Throwback Thursday: Can you whistle “The Andy Griffith Show” theme song? I’ve been working on it for months, in anticipation of March’s Fourth Thursday Classic TV night at the Rheem Theater. The event from 7 to 8:30 p.m. will feature classic Griffith episodes, along with “beyond-the-grave” interviews highlighting one of television’s most enduring (and endearing) shows.Talk about factoids for your next party — last month we went to the “Beverly Hillbillies” event, and I’m still singing about ole Jed!

Ginny Prior can be followed on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and at www.ginnyprior.com. Email her at ginnyprior@hotmail.com.

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