Grocery Outlet has signed a lease to occupy most of the long-shuttered former Albertsons/Lucky store on the El Cerrito/Richmond border, a representative for the discount grocer chain told Patch Friday.
A number of area residents, fearing a Walmart in the wings, organized opposition to a proposal last spring to permit a 24-hour supermarket that would sell alcohol. That proposal languished after the June 15 death of owner Antonio Carrico at age 91.
Grocery Outlet was among several potential tenants interested in moving in, including Walmart, and was finally able to secure an agreement after others abandoned the idea, said said Marc Drasin, vice president of real estate for Grocery Outlet. Walmart was the last one to drop out, he said.
The Grocery Outlet lease is contingent on two conditions being met – approval of building permits from the city of Richmond and acquisition of a license to sell wine and beer from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Drasin said.
"If we do not get either one, we have the ability to terminate the lease," he said.
The company plans to submit the applications "probably within 30 days more or less," he said. The lease is signed with the Antonio Carrico Survivors Estate, he said.
Though the 2.7-acre store property straddles the border between Richmond and El Cerrito, Richmond serves as the local regulatory authority because most of it is in Richmond.
Current zoning allows a grocery of up to 20,000 square feet without seeking a conditional use permit, so Grocery Outlet intends to occupy 19,999 square feet of the 32,821-square-foot building and seek to sublease the remainder, Drasin said.
The new Grocery Outlet will be "brand spanking new inside and out," Drasin said. The boarded-up building, marked in places by graffiti, has been vacant since 2004.
He said the company has already been conducting community outreach and meeting with residents.
"Over the years, we've gotten a lot of calls and emails from people in the area who've wanted to see a store there," he said.
The 66-year-old discount chain, headquartered in Berkeley, has more than 185 independently operated stores in six western states and Pennsylvania, according to the company's website. Most are run by locally based families, the company says.
The closet Grocery Outlet stores to El Cerrito and Richmond are in Berkeley and Pinole.
Grocery Outlet prides itself on its community ties, Drasin said. "We feel we're very community minded. We support the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, the Little League, the Rotaries."
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