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New Safeway Plans for South San Francisco

The South San Francisco Planning Department is working toward an environmental impact report and entitlement to build a new Safeway. Construction could begin as early as 2013.

For years, many South San Franciscans have griped about the dated Safeway grocery stores at South Spruce and Chestnut Aves on El Camino Real. Now, plans for a mixed-use development, which includes a brand new Safeway to replace the one at South Spruce Ave., are in the works.

“Both of the Safeways in the city,” South San Francisco planner Billy Gross told Patch, “when you compare them to a lot of the other Safeways up and down the Peninsula, they obviously haven’t been updated in quite some time.”

The new complex will include 200,000 square ft of commercial space—a 40 to 50,000 square ft increase from its current facilities. In addition to the upgrade for shoppers, the property will include 290 residential units.

Construction will not begin at least until 2013, assuming the environmental impact report and entitlement processes run smoothly this summer and fall.

Gross said that the project’s developer, WT Mitchell Group, originally wanted to build a development geared exclusively toward commercial office space. But the city wanted to create a mixed-use development in keeping with the countywide Grand Boulevard Initiative.

“It’s development that will be more high density and help to activate that area a little more,” Gross said. The project is meant to address both the need for improvement of the Safeway store, as well as the city’s need for additional housing.

Since WT Mitchell Group's original proposal, the city updated its General Plan policy and zoning standards for the El Camino Corridor. The current Safeway proposal addresses these changes, including regional housing needs and viable transit options. The San Buno BART station is a couple of blocks from the shopping complex.

Currently, the South San Francisco Planning Department is beginning to work toward an environmental impact report draft to open to public comment two or three months from now.

According to Gross, projects similar to this one tend to require attention to traffic circulation in the EIR, which will be a key consideration in the report, but that there are no anticipated hang-ups.

Dyett and Bhatia is likely to be contracted as the consultant for the project’s EIR.

Check back with Patch for updates on this project. Tell us what you hope for in a new shopping center in the comments section below.

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wolfone July 24, 2012 at 03:26 PM
"In addition to the upgrade for shoppers, the property will include 290 residential units." More expensive housing that nobody can afford? People are moving OUT of the AREA and seeking JOBS elsewhere! I guess SSF will b/c the new "Millbrae" until the biotech leaves then will be a ghost town with all the unaffordable housing units empty. SSF city council, you are bringing in more units..."How about Rent Control" so people can afford them? People like ones that are on Disability or make CA minimum wage of $8. hr? Remember the old daze? When you could take your salary and Rent or Mortgage payments shouldn't be more than I think it was 30% for rent? That would be aprox $384.! Even 50% would be $640.! So where are the apts/houses for people making CA minimum wage? WE NEED RENT CONTROL IN SSF & SM COUNTY!
Cory David July 24, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Couldn't agree more. Our Chestnut Safeway needs a redo. Unfortunately, for us to get it, the City (political hobbyists and staffers) is going to force feed us some more high-density housing to satisfy THEIR vision of South San Francisco. The City Council successfully achieved a rezoning effort by hiding its efforts from the majority of surrounding affected neighbors. Sure they complied and even exceeded the notification requirements but those requirements are woefully inadequate and a joke in themselves.The handful of us that mobilized to challenge this effort thought we were addressing just the El Camino/Chestnut Avenue Area Plan and now we have found that the Council's efforts are rapidly becoming a "blank check" for interested developers. Ten story buildings for the old Brentwood Bowl site anyone? The government of this City has been kidnapped by a handful self-serving politicians who have silenced the voice of many of its citizens by hiding their agenda and making decisions without the interference of those "pesky" locals. And please, don't tell me to attempt to be heard again by participating in "the process" jokingly known as a City Council Meeting. Don't want to be subjected to the "potty-mouth" Councilwoman again. My good friend who served this City as an elected official used to tell me "if you buy these guys lunch, they'll let you bulldoze San Bruno Mountain" (they did). I just hope they threw in a bag of chips for these clowns when they sold the rest of us out.
Angelique July 24, 2012 at 04:10 PM
We do need a Safeway makeover but our city shouldn't be sold out to do it, I'm tired of seeing the newest building on ECR, those colors are hideous and a complete eye soar! I could care less if there is more housing, I hope people do go live somewhere else, I don't want any additional residents we have enough crime coming in from other cities stop attracting low income recipients who don't care and start listening to your current residents who are tired of your bad decisions!
Nikky July 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I grew up here in SSF and while I love to see buildings being updated and our city growing, I believe there has to be a limit. That disgusting building on El Camino right next to SSF High School is a disgrace. I would be steaming mad if I owned one of the houses next to that place. Yes, our Safeway stores could use a face lift, but aren't there plenty of empty houses/apartments/condos in the area already that no one can afford? Keep the bulldozers out of SSF, unless you are going to knock down the place on El Camino.
Carole Brady-Duport July 24, 2012 at 06:43 PM
So where exactly is it going? All it says is El Camino Real. Both Safeways are on ECR. Are we talking the corner of ECR and Chestnut where the gas station was or are we talking the area where CVS is or are we talking somewhere else? Hmmm. I can hardly wait to see the "artists conceptions."
Taylor Wiles July 24, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Thanks for the question. The official address for the new plans is 180 El Camino Real, so that's near South Spruce Avenue.
Sue Peterson Pirazzi July 24, 2012 at 08:59 PM
I contacted Safeways corporate office about a month ago regarding the condtion of both Safeways in SSF. I was informed there were NO plans to remodel either store. Now, we have this announcement coming out. Amazing! Seems to me that there are some behind the scence board meetings going on between Safeway and the City of SSF. Something is just not right with this scenario.
lillu July 25, 2012 at 03:55 AM
i cant wait.. i work for cvs once longs drugs and they have been talking about this for about 10 years and finally something is gonna happen that whole strip needs renovationon.
John Baker July 25, 2012 at 04:16 AM
(I think you mean eye SORE).
John Baker July 25, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I love that building. The colors are good. Yes, it looks out of place, but because there's no other buildings of similar size near it. I think they should build a similar building across the street, where the 7-Eleven, Pizza Man, etc., are. Apartments on top, 7-Eleven, tapioca bar, etc. on the bottom. Look at Mission on Daly City on the blocks near the War Memorial Building. Lots of pedestrian traffic, nice new homes, near retail and where folks don't have to be so car dependent.
John Baker July 25, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Love seeing a story about Safeway remodeling become a debate over urban development in South City. (No, I'm not being sarcastic.) We have Wolfone saying we need affordable housing, Angelique stating we need LESS affordable housing, Nikky and I disagreeing about the aesthetics of the new housing next to SSF High! Glad we have such enthusiasm for the community! And I hate the Spruce Safeway. That whole shopping center, in fact. Does anyone think it excessive that we have three Safeways in a city this size (I'm counting Pak and Save as a Safeway here)? How about a Luckys/Albertsons/Ralphs/Whole Foods?
Tess July 25, 2012 at 04:27 AM
The Planning Department needs to start listening to the SSF residents -- NO MORE GROWTH!! No more low income housing in SSF!!! Between the traffic and the crime, we are becoming an East Bay City. The Safeway could use a face lift - but LEAVE OUT the 290 residential units. Mr. Gross and the other city officials need to start listening now.
John Baker July 25, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Yes, let's put the growth in the Central Valley or on farmland near Livermore. How about on the coast? Who cares that residents there would have to drive an hour or two for work? It's not MY problem ... Sigh. If we must have growth in the infill areas (Sounds like a UN plot!), let's build on the side of San Bruno Mountain instead of our outdated malls or where our precious Safeway is. And let's not let people making less than $100,000 move into town -- they're predominantly criminals!
Jay Bud July 25, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I'm 25, work as a security guard making $12/hr, 40hrs a week. No way of paying for my own rent in the city and according to you John I am a criminal. Nice. Honestly stop complaining about crime, there is barely any crime here in SSF.
John Baker July 25, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Jay -- I'm sorry you didn't get that it was sarcasm. I thought it was obvious I was mocking Tess. Look at my other comments in this thread to see that I am truly in favor of high-density housing, including affordable housing.
Mike July 25, 2012 at 04:05 PM
The County requires that a portion of the units to be built include low income rental units? Regarding "Rent Control". A great idea from the perspective of the renter, but certainly not from the perspective of the investor or property owner. If rent control is in place why would anyone (other that the government) want to own rental property? Regarding "the old daze? When you could take your salary and Rent or Mortgage payments shouldn't be more than I think it was 30% for rent" They must have been several years ago because I do not recall them and I have lived in San Mateo County for over 60 years. I do however recall such "rules" being in place in order to qualify for a FHA or VA loan.
Margie Casagrande July 27, 2012 at 02:59 AM
My understanding is that Safeway at Chestnut will close and we will only have Pak n Save and one Safeway (which is enough for me). All cities are applying the same approach. Transit villages along the El Camino corridor are the new reality. The county mandates we add more housing and we don't even come close to what is expected of us. If you watch the Planning Commission and the Council meetings, they have discussed this in depth. As stated earlier, a certain amount of rentals are designated for working class families who qualify. There were 3,000 applicants for the new units being built next to the high school. I believe there are only 120 or so apartments. Look down the line. No other cities do what SSF does except Daly City.
Cory David July 27, 2012 at 08:28 AM
After listening to "concerned residents," at Council meetings and here on Patch, speak as advocates for development, a question always comes to mind. Why do they sound more like lobbyists for developers rather than mere residents? I've heard average citizens stand up to quote county requirements by specific code numbers, a half dozen ladies line up for a $40 million dollar library that will never be built and others speaking more like those consultants who were pitching the El Camino Corridor master plan. Am I just paranoid or is someone putting a call in to "stack the deck?" After living here 54 years, maybe I'm in the minority in wanting intelligent development. Maybe everyone wants to bury this quiet little town with high density housing. Majority rules, so be it. My problem is the lack of transparency in the "process." Those few individuals responsible know who I'm talking to.
Jo July 27, 2012 at 08:31 PM
"knock down that place on El Camino"?? That sounds like a GREAT IDEA!! I can just imagine what the traffic will be like when that "crap" is filled!!
Jo July 27, 2012 at 08:35 PM
AMEN!!
wolfone September 01, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Cory David...Thank you!!! You are exactly right! We have been kidnapped by a bunch of clowns who do not even live here. And ya, screw the locals who have lived here all their lives. Who in South City will step up and Run against these self serving clowns? Cory? You have my Vote! :)
wolfone September 01, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Angelique, I'm with you on the first part of your "rant" but to blame crime on low-income people is BS. And attracting low-income? I've lived in SSF my whole entire life I GREW up here. It was a middle class area but b/c of the past years since the 90's with incomes and union jobs b/c coming scarce unless you are in the "Biotech or dot.com" group, which SSF has bended down and Kiss their feet driving the trucking and freight forwarding--->out to nearby cities. Genentech making plans to move to Danville, too expensive to live HERE! Yes I don't want anymore more "housing" built. Lets deal with the housing we have and make it affordable for all. RENT control. I don't give a crap about investors. They are the ones ruining this city along with our "bought" city council. And Angie, I don't know where you work, but unless you work at biotech or a dot.com start up...the council wants YOU to move somewhere else...that's why the rents are so sky high here. No more middle class in SSF. Rich/poor.
wolfone September 01, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Nikky, Oh city council wants to put high building all along the El Camino!!! Isn't that nice! They ripped out a affordable Mobile home place to put that crappy eyesore on ECR! And like who can afford to live there? Something like only a small amount of affordable housing. We NEED NEW people to run for City council and get rid of these clowns, like Kiko!
wolfone September 01, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Whole foods would never come to this crappy place. And what have you got agains mr. pizza man? That was Superdog before it was pizza man and BenFranks. But you wouldn't know, you are probably one of the developers. We have a luckys on the border of SSf/SB. And JOHN I mean more affordable housing not by building new houses by making the apts/rental housing fit in with the INCOMES in this city. All incomes including Min. wage & Senior-Disability income.
wolfone September 01, 2012 at 07:07 PM
obviously TESS must be of the "fortunate" few who make $37./hr so they can afford to live in SSF. Us who make less can screw ourselves? Live in tents in Orange park? Agree with you Jay there is hardly any crime here I've lived HERE in SSF my whole life, these are NIMBY's talking in their ivory towers on the San Bruno Mountain (Burial grounds).
wolfone September 01, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Cory, You are so right. Please run for City council!!! You have my vote for sure!
Katy Lee September 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM
What going to happen CVS and Bally's Gym? Will they have to look for new locations.
lillu February 02, 2013 at 04:51 AM
ok what i just heard from Safeway today that plans will be done in October of this year tearing it down. I work for CVS but havent heard anything from my boss yet. I hope this is true..
lillu May 02, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Ok now what I heard is that theirs remodel is being set back again. Really. Safeway wants to fix the old luckys in Fairmont in pacifica. All of so city's safeways need remodels imedietily.
Joshua DeVincenzi Melander May 13, 2013 at 05:26 AM
I live near the shopping center in the Brentwood Neighborhood. I would think that the City of South San Francisco would do whatever they could do improve this Shopping center and keep tax dollars from South San Francisco residents. This Safeway is pathetic and all the residents in the Brentwood Neighborhood do all of their shopping in San Bruno either at Lucky's or at Lunardi's. The owners of the shopping center are not utilizing the full acreage they have at the shopping center and there is a lot of potential and hope this becomes a priority for both the property owner and the City.

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