College acquires ‘Ocxy Store’ building for $1.59 million, plans York retail expansion

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Occidental recently purchased the building that houses Ocxy Store, a liquor store frequented by students, on the corner of York Boulevard and Armadale Avenue for $1.59 million. The Board of Trustees approved the purchase following a favorable financial analysis conducted by Vice President for Finance and Planning Amos Himmelstein.

The acquisition is part of an effort to lure the emerging York retail scene further west, making Occidental more visible on the traffic-heavy boulevard, according to Director of Communications James Tranquada.

“Currently, it’s easy to drive by on York and not know Oxy’s just a block away,” Tranquada said via email. “We’re hoping when we renovate the building to make it more obvious that Oxy is nearby.”

The college is still deciding on the function of the building—built in the 1920s and in need of renovation—and plans to put out internal requests for how the space might be best used.

In his analysis, Himmelstein considered the potential benefits for the Occidental community as well as the larger Highland Park community. He said that while some of the units would be directly utilized by the college, the other units could potentially be rented out by one or more outside parties.

“The hope is that much of the activity in those units will also have a benefit for the community,” Himmelstein said via email.

Still, some students were perplexed by the college’s decision to purchase the building that houses the iconic local liquor store.

“Ocxy Mart seemed to be a hallmark of the greater Eagle Rock area that Oxy seems to be absorbing suspiciously,” Jimmy Bromley (sophomore) said.

Shannon O’Hara (senior) feels that the purchase is another way for the administration to regulate student alcohol consumption.

“That’s like the government buying all regulations to alcohol. A little too much control, if you ask me,” O’Hara said.

In response to these reactions, the members of the administration emphasized that the purchase was in no way a means to extend control over students’ actions.

“While responsible consumption of alcohol is always an objective of the college, it was never addressed in the discussion or consideration of either the acquisition or future use,” Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Calkins said via email. “From a personal point of view, it is unlikely this site could effect much control even if that were the objective.”

Tranquada stressed that if students over 21 wish to purchase alcohol, there are other options nearby.

“In addition to the Ocxy Store, I believe there are four other retail businesses with liquor licenses on York between Armadale and Eagle Rock Boulevard alone,” Tranquada said.