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Grocery Outlet Signs Lease for Former Albertsons – Deal Pending

The discount grocery chain, Grocery Outlet, has signed a lease for the shuttered former Albertsons/Lucky store at San Pablo and MacDonald avenues on the El Cerrito/Richmond border. Building permits and a wine/beer license are still needed.

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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Michael O'Connor November 10, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Good match.
Local Mom November 10, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Yay!!
Sion Pascal November 10, 2012 at 11:42 PM
We need a fresh and easy in the old Safeway across pizza Roma now.
Toni Mayer November 11, 2012 at 12:25 AM
I like Grocery Outlet and am pleased they're going in that spot. Much better than Wal*Mart, although even Wal*Mart is better than a derelict building. Hope the permits and licenses happen for them.
Toni Mayer November 11, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Safeway holds the lease for another maybe 20 years and has stipulated no grocery store may go in that space. I believe they're negotiation w/ a fitness center to go in. I was hoping for a new library but that hope was dashed by a gang of facts.
Kathy A. November 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM
toni -- i thought the fitness center was going in the old safeway at the EC/richmond border, across from this albertson's.
Toni Mayer November 11, 2012 at 01:23 AM
That wasn't the impression I got at the Library Committee meeting, Kathy, because someone had suggested the old Safeway spot as a possible EC Library site. I believe the northern Safeway site is in Richmond, so it wouldn't have been a place for the EC library. I notice something new is going in at the Richmond site because the façade has been altered, but am not sure what it is.
Kathy A. November 11, 2012 at 01:34 AM
right. the fitness center is going in at the northern safeway site, at macdonald/san pablo. i would love to see a new EC library at the moeser/san pablo spot! but it sounds like that has been ruled out -- even though it is a great location, very accessible. (a fitness center was also suggested, but with the new one at macdonald ave., i doubt that another one makes any sense for the moeser site.) we need something at moeser.
Stew November 11, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I’m excited by a Grocery Outlet at this location. But overall, I believe the project is not as good as it could have been. It’s my understanding that the building permits that will be issued for Grocery Outlet will not include the $3-4 million in site improvements that were proposed as part of the original conditional use permit. The conditional use permit included all of the goodies that would have made this property more attractive and a better fit for the neighborhood, including facade improvements, landscaping, and most importantly Contra Costa Clean water (C3) improvements (bio-swales to treat stormwater runoff). I believe the C3 improvements (and the original conditional use permit) were supported by the Friends of the Baxter Creek. Check out the original site plan and drawings for the building. The building permits that Grocery Outlet needs to upgrade and operate 20,000 sf of the building do not include these site improvements. Check with the City about this, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. Leasing 20,000 sf to Grocery Outlet, instead of the whole 30,000 to another grocery chain, doesn’t justify the larger investment in the site.
Stew November 11, 2012 at 05:36 PM
The neighborhood concerns that were raised about the potential tenant dragged this process out for the owner. Then the Richmond Design Review Board and Planning Commission dragged their feet as well, even requiring further environmental review. This is unreasonable, as the original project’s C3 compliance is a major environmental improvement! We’re lucky to have gotten a grocery store and not another auto parts store (which is also allowed under the City’s zoning). While the Grocery Outlet is an improvement, I would have preferred the higher investment in the site and rolled the dice with another tenant such as Wal-Mart. We need to do a better job of weighing the costs and benefits of various projects. In this case, it was labor practices versus a full service grocery store in an impoverished area with site improvements and environmental benefits. Most commercial properties along San Pablo look dreadful. $3-4 million in site improvements would have been a nice change. I see a trend in this community to be very reactionary to projects, especially grocery stores. Look at the controversy in Albany over Whole Foods. Occupy and locals dragged that process out, and Whole Foords walked away. Here again, the neighbors dragged it out and $3-4 million in site improvements walked away.
Toni Mayer November 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Thanks, Kathy. That's good information. I really wish we could have a library in the old Moeser Safeway building but it seems that's not going to happen. I'm glad the northern Safeway's getting fixed up and am hopeful that the Grocery Outlet will improve the old Albertson's building. I'll shop there if they go in.
John Stashik November 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM
It will be a big improvement for the parcel plus something Richmond really wants: grocery stores. I hope all the new clerks join the UFCW and earn good pay and benefits. Safeway, a union shop, just inked an agreement with their employees and that should set an example.
Kathy A. November 12, 2012 at 01:29 AM
I just went back into the archives to find out more about the Safeway/Moeser location. And what was said a few months back was: that location is privately owned, and Safeway has a longterm lease on the property. Safeway was also supposedly negotiating for another business to sublease, such as a fitness center. What would it take to get Safeway into discussions about making that Moeser site a library and community hub? I could definitely see small businesses doing well near the hub. (And I would not mind seeing the CVS re-purposed -- things have really gone downhill since CVS took over -- but I do not know anything about ownership/lease arrangements.)
Kathy A. November 12, 2012 at 02:17 AM
This might have been addressed at the New Library Campaign meetings in the summer, which I wasn't able to attend. But if circumstances with the Moeser site have changed in the last few months, that might be worth revisiting. (Also, I'd love to be involved in that campaign; timing was bad this summer.)
John Stashik November 12, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Why not put a new library on property already owned by the government instead of buying or leasing space at Moeser and the avenue? We need business in El Cerrito too.
Toni Mayer November 12, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Right. That was the information I had, although it sounds as if it's no longer accurate. I don't know what it would take, Kathy, but I don't think the city has the money right now to build a library there or anywhere else. I agree small businesses would thrive and I love the accessibility to public transportation. And I agree w/ your distaste for CVS, but it seems to be here to stay.
Toni Mayer November 12, 2012 at 05:32 AM
John, there are several sites that are being discussed for the library. It's unclear where it will go or when. I'm hoping it's in my lifetime. I agree that we need business too, to support the tax base.
Susan November 13, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I live about one block from this site and I really hope this store goes through. Do I particurly like that chain of stores? No. But it's a good thriving business, has fresh vegetables, and it way better than what we have now, a depressing empty lot for 10 years. Yes, I also hope we don't chase them away!
Susan November 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I hope everyone knows that Grocery Outlet has incredible wines at great prices. Yes, it is essential that they have a license to sell wine!
Larry November 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Story is incorrect; there's a Grocery Outlet on 23rd and Brookside in San Pablo; it's been there since at least the '80's...having said that, our family used to shop almost exclusively at that Lucky's since the mid-70's...it'll be nice to see the site alive again...
Susan November 16, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I'm not a huge fan but am delighted to have the space occupied. I have friends who rave about the Grocery Outlet in Berkeley.
janet enos November 17, 2012 at 03:53 AM
I am one who sings the accolades of the Grocery Outlet in Berkeley. I couldn't be happier about the choice of tenants. I figure I save close to thirty percent, sometimes more, shopping at Grocery Outlet. It is always fun to find some random, incredibly priced item.
Gail Norris April 03, 2013 at 09:58 PM
I would like to become an employee for grocery outlet hoping the company wold hire a mature person and willing to train I am a 54 year old women has always worked with people hete is my email address galengg58© gmail.com my name is Gail Norris I am asking for a job
Gail Norris April 03, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Great for Grocery Outlet good location

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