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What Would Fit Well at the Old Pini Hardware Building?

It's been nine years since Pini Ace Hardware moved from Grant Avenue across town to the Nave Center. Who would be a good tenant at the old location?

Maybe Novato Patch readers can help our local commercial real estate folks figure out how to fill some of our empty storefronts. Might as well give it a try, right?

In January 2004, moved to Nave Center off South Novato Boulevard from its longtime home at 1107 Grant Ave. In 2006, the store's owners sold the Grant building to the Prado Group. Since then, there have been several potential tenants, but nothing has come to fruition.

Retail West, the principal of property manager, said the circa-1947 building needs substantial repairs before someone can move in.  And before repairs can begin, they need a lead tenant. 

Lisa Congdon with the Prado Group said there were negotiations with the recently, but nothing has materialized.

What are your ideas? What kinds of businesses would best serve Novato residents at this location? Keep in mind that the 20,000-square-foot building could be subdivided.

Each week, Novato Patch will feature a vacant store, abandoned building or undeveloped lot and ask readers: "What do you wish were here?" Chime in with a comment below.

And if you have any leads, contact Congdon at lcongdon@pradogroup.com.

Worry April 27, 2012 at 05:14 PM
lisa congdon please call the city of novato! they are looking for 20,000 sq feet in a downtown location with a few parking spaces. this spot seems to match up very well. fyi, they have $18 million of tax payer money burning a hole in their pocket. even though this building is probably worth $4 million if you can convice the owners to sell it, as opposed to leasing it, the city would probably pay you upwards of $8 million and spend another $10 million on renovating it. note however that the city is only open 4 days per week so there will be zero activity at night and the parking lot will be filled after hours with city vehicles... so there is zero benefit to the surrounding businesses during their "off hours" (168 hrs in a week, offices open 32 hrs, dark the other 136 hrs).
Jen Masterson April 27, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Book Store, with music and cafe.
docB April 27, 2012 at 05:17 PM
as INEXPENSIVE hardware store?
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) April 27, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Lots of folks want a bookstore, but I'll eat my hat if anybody opens one up. Just like I mentioned on a previous Visions for Vacancies story, bookstores are closing all over the country every day because too many people are either buying books on the web or reading e-books. I don't see that trend turning around, do you?
JC April 27, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Molly Stones!
Christine Koenig April 27, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Have you ever been to Rockridge area in Oakland? Check out: Rockridge Market Hall: It is a European style market place. Home to Grace Baking, Peaberry's Coffee and Tea, Paul Marcus Wines, Rockridge Fish, Bloomies Flowers, and Market Hall ... rockridgemarkethall.com This is a collection of small businesses under one roof. It is a great concept. Another idea: As we all know, Novato is very family oriented. If a venue could be available for all ages. A place to gather for a birthday party (themed parties are happening every weekend in Novato) Music, sports viewing, live readings; local artists; tea parties, etc. I would love a place that is welcoming to all ages-from seniors to young adults, teens to babies. Clearly not necessarily at the same time but there are 7 days in the week. It is important to get as many groups input as possible (community groups and individuals/ businesses and city/county services; cultural mix) everyone's input on where people like to gather to socialize, eat, go with a group or by yourself. I know it is a tall order but it is possible. It is a great site with an amazing history. Check out Rockridge!
Christine Koenig April 27, 2012 at 07:42 PM
PS Use the 4th of July parade to gather input from locals. Open up the space for the day - serve the breakfast there and put up ideas, displays suggestions, from the parade attendees and participants. Make it interactive (both through technology and discussions with live people.)
LP April 28, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I have two thoughts for the building. 1. All the arcades/laser tag/indoor fun places are in Rohnert Park. It would be great to have one local for families to host parties in, a fun place to go after school, or something to do on a Saturday. 2. With the retro look, if someone insists on a restaurant, make it a 50's diner.
Roger April 28, 2012 at 05:09 AM
I would say tear it down and build a dense mixed use building. Commercial for the first floor with parking in the back. The second, third and fourth floors would be residential with 30% subsidized housing since the City has to meet its low-income housing quota some how and some place. Downtown is the best place for dense development and SB375 says we must.
Don Reihl April 28, 2012 at 11:57 PM
The city offices would be perfect there.
Jim Dillingham April 29, 2012 at 12:45 AM
The local high schools are strapped for athletic facilities. Many sports share common buildings which often results in some teams having to wait until later into the night to practice. Another example is the Novato High School wrestling team. These league champs have to practice in the cafeteria because there is just not enough gym time available. Turn this into a gym.
Anne Lufrano Varner April 29, 2012 at 02:51 AM
farmers market
janna nikkola April 29, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Having stood vacant for nine years with no takers, it's time for this building to be demolished and a new structure built in its place for any purpose -- office, retail or restaurant. Anything would be better than having such a large vacant structure on "main street". My second suggestion would be to divided it into small offices available for short-term rent, even month-to-month for small businesss and sole proprietors, much like the Headquarters Suite in Larkspur Landing. With one central receptionist, it's a good option for a lawyer, accountant or insurance office. Such an option is very cost effective for a sole proprietor just starting out.
Brett May 16, 2012 at 06:52 PM
A local bookstore, coffee/soda/juice (for kids) shop, and local artists gallery.
Nanci Boyd June 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Book store and cafe
Real califorina July 11, 2012 at 05:04 PM
how about a place the kids could injoy like a bowling alley and cafe .
Noel September 08, 2012 at 09:51 PM
roller skating rink or year round indoor farmers market

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