Jul 29, 2014

Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Looks to Close Aug. 31

With a new Bank of the West branch applying for the space the Discovery Shop has inhabited for the past 20 years, the shop plans to close its doors when its lease ends and pursue a new space on Miller Avenue.

Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Looks to Close Aug. 31 Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Looks to Close Aug. 31 Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Looks to Close Aug. 31 Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Looks to Close Aug. 31 Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Looks to Close Aug. 31

The of the in the Alto shopping center has become much more definite and will likely come as soon as Aug. 31, according to the store's manager.

A new Bank of the West branch has applied to City Hall to move into the current Discovery Shop space and a permit hearing is set for Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.

According to Discovery Shop manager Beverly Konkoff, who has been with the organization for 20 years and at the Mill Valley location for the past six years, the shop can't afford a massive rent hike that would push its monthly rent to close to $15,000 a month for the 2,600-square-foot space at 761 E. Blithedale Avenue.

The store has been eyeing a potential new home on Miller Avenue, she said, but immediate next steps depend on what happens at the Aug. 13 hearing.

The future of the Discovery Shop remains unclear. If Bank of the West is denied a permit, then  Retail West, the firm handling the leasing of the Discovery Shop's space for the center's owner, may approach the Discovery Shop with a month to month offer, that they may or may not be able to afford.

"People are writing letters saying they don't want a third bank in the shopping center," said Konkoff. "People are really objecting, if the bank gets denied, Retail West may come through with another offer."

Even if Bank of the West gets denied a permit, Retail West can still kick out the Discovery Shop with a 30-day notice once they find a tenant who is willing to pay more, Konkoff said. She said she is confident that the shop could secure a new location on Miller Avenue, but opening the new store could take time. 

"By the time the Planning Commision comes thorugh and we have some guys gut out the store, it may be 2013," said Konkoff.

A portion of the  that includes the Discovery Shop was  in April 2011 for more than $12 million. The 19,886-square-foot section that was sold includes the spaces between the  and , including  and , as well as the perpendicular strip witht he Discovery Shop,  and , among others.

The shopping center has a particularly complicated ownership structure, with five different groups owning sections of the center, as Whole Foods, Bank of America, the Post Office, Rite Aid, the shops between Rite Aid and Whole Foods are all owned separate.

Marin once hosted three American Cancer Society Stores, with additional shops in both San Rafael and Novato, but now Mill Valley is the last remaining.

With the end in sight, Konkoff said the shop is holding a silent auction from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, and sale of all remaining inventory throughout the weekend.

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