The rumors that have been circulating since late Winter 2010 are back: Apple Tree is closing and condos will be built in its place. Although, some say, this time around, they are not just rumors, but the future.
We had heard that the Los Angeles- based landlord/ owner of the property raised the rent to an exorbitant amount – an amount the current Apple Tree owner can not afford.
Yet, if this true, if Apple Tree does move or close down completely, and if condominiums are built in its stead, the changes to this community would be horrendous. For many OBceans – especially the elderly – Apple Tree is the only large market in OB central – their only store within walking distance. With its closing, where are these folks going to shop?
Yes, People’s organic market is over on Voltaire, but that’s not only too far for those who live in south OB, the long-time organic market does not offer the wide range of foods and drinks that Apple Tree (or a more traditional store) offers.
Now, many folks would not be that sad in seeing Apple Tree leave – especially if a Trader Joe’s or Sprouts was moving in – as there have been a steady stream of complaints about Apple Tree over the years: it stinks, it’s dirty, they don’t sell anything organic, the freezers are very old, many of the products sold seem old themselves and are very limited, the butchers smoke cigs in the back … There’s also the fact that the owners of Apple Tree contributed to an anti-Bob Filner flier distributed throughout the community. This did not win them any friends in Liberal OB where Filner swept the place during the Primary in June.
In that article by Doug Porter, he stated:
Over the past two weeks San Diego mailboxes have been flooded with mailers attacking Mayoral candidate Bob Filner from a group calling itself a committee called California for Small Business,” sponsored by the Neighborhood Market Association.” A quick visit to the group’s website confirms that OB’s Apple Tree Market is an active member of the group, with a video featuring the OB location on the front page of their website. …
The anti-Filner mailers are remarkable for their venom directed at the Democratic contender and because they do not suggest an alternative candidate, despite the fact that Neighborhood Marketing Association has endorsed Nathan Fletcher and given money to his campaign. In short, they are “hit pieces.”
On the issue of whether Apple Tree would be missed, back in late March of 2010, the OB Rag ran a poll on how people felt about the store closing, and even though only about a little over four dozen respondents were involved, the winning response chosen was that most do not shop there and wouldn’t miss it at all (22 out of 51 respondents).
But, if the only supermarket in OB for a mile did close and condos came in – the development would be a severe step towards gentrification of the village. It would greatly alter downtown OB, increase its density and all its attendant problems (increased parking problems, traffic, etc).
Of course, the planning process to get condos built would take time, and if approved by the OB Planning Board and the City, they still would be years away for their completion.
One of our loyal readers is very upset about this probable development and made some interesting comparisons:
THIS IS FAR LESS ACCEPTABLE THAN A STARBUCKS INVADING NEWPORT, … This move likely would gentrify the hell out of OB and also would rid us of our only supermarket within walking/short driving distance (bad for the elderly on the hill etc.).
There should be fliers, petitions and demonstrations (much larger than those against Starbucks and against the police murder of “the walker”, both in recent memory.
Ask OBMA, OBCDC etc. about this, and I expect they will verify this “rumor”. Come on folks, don’t let this happen (and it’s going to happen soon, as I understand it – a stealth maneuver if there ever was one.
At the very least, the village community needs to find out what is happening and what we can do about it. Let’s start the discussion now …..
See our poll on the sidebar.