Safeway seeks store at Alameda Landing

Safeway seeks store at Alameda Landing

Michele Ellson

A new Safeway grocery store and gas station could become part of a Target-anchored shopping center being constructed next to the Posey Tube.

The Pleasanton-based grocery chain has signed a letter of intent to build a 45,000-square-foot “lifestyle” store at Alameda Landing and a gas station, similar to what the company build at Alameda South Shore Center. The store would accompany a Target that is under construction now and slated to open in October.

Alameda Landing developer Catellus is seeking the City Council’s approval to change its proposed mix of tenants at the shopping center in order to include a grocery store, which isn’t included in the existing mix. The council will consider approving an update to the tenant strategy for the center on April 16.

The proposed strategy would add an estimated $786,559 a year in sales taxes to the city’s existing sales tax base, estimated at $4.8 million this year, once the shopping center is built out; Target alone is expected to generate $350,000 a year in sales tax for the city.

In 2006, Catellus agreed not to include a grocery store at the shopping center as the West Alameda Business Association had considered such a store as a key for revitalizing the Webster Street commercial corridor. But in a report to the council, City Manager John Russo said that it has since become clear that Webster Street “cannot accommodate a grocery store.”

At the same time, a number of retailers that Catellus may have pursued under the existing tenant strategy have consolidated or gone out of business.

The 140,000-square-foot Target store represents one change to the existing strategy for filling the shopping center; it had originally been contemplated at South Shore. Catellus’s new plan for the shopping center is 15,000 square feet smaller than the original 300,000 square foot plan.

Construction of the Target and Safeway stores would leave 100,000 square feet for other retail uses; the proposed new list includes specialty retailers like sporting goods and office supplies; home improvement, clothing and furniture shops; and restaurants and service outlets. If a new Safeway is built at Alameda Landing, it will be Alameda’s third, including a store on Bay Farm Island.

The slab was poured and walls tilted on the Target in February and March, according to an annual review on the Alameda Landing project accepted by the Planning Board on Monday. It says additional retail construction is expected to start in the fall, and City Planner Andrew Thomas said Catellus hopes to have most of the shopping center built by 2014.

“The retail market is very fickle,” Thomas said Monday night. “They feel there is an opportunity now to build out the retail center, so they’re pushing hard.”

Planning Board Vice President David Burton said he hopes to see additional details of Catellus’s plans for the remainder of the retail center sooner, rather than later; the next decision point on the project is set for June.

“I’m personally worried these guys want to get started in the fall, and if we’re not seeing anything until June, there will be pressure on the Planning Board to rush this thing through. It’s not fair for the developer to try to jam that process too much,” Burton said.

A separate plan to build 275 new homes on 22 acres of the 77-acre former Navy property on which the Alameda Landing development is being built is going through the city’s approval process; Catellus hopes construction of the homes will also begin in the fall, according to the annual review; the next round of approvals is slated to come before the Planning Board on May 13.

Plans for 400,000 square feet of office space have not yet moved forward.

In addition to the Alameda Landing review, the Planning Board welcomed a pair of new members, Dania Alvarez-Morroni and Stanley Tang. Their arrival brings the Planning Board to full strength for the first time in months.

Thomas also announced that Walgreens is putting a store on Park Street, in the spot where CVS had planned to move. The drugstore chain unsuccessfully sought permission to remain open 24 hours a day and had also sought better auto access onto Park Street as part of a proposed move from Santa Clara Avenue.

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