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.