A new supermarket may be coming to the long-empty, former Albertsons/Lucky store on the El Cerrito/Richmond border, and Walmart has been rumored to be a potential tenant.
An application seeking a use permit has been filed with the City of Richmond to renovate the 32,821-square-foot structure into a supermarket that would concentrate primarily on groceries and include a pharmacy and a beer and wine section.
The property occupies about 2.7 acres in both El Cerrito and Richmond at the intersection of San Pablo and MacDonald avenues, but because the main store building is in Richmond, that city is handling the application, which was filed by Amy Dy of TAIT and Associates.
The proposal received a thumbs-up from the Richmond Design Review Board and is due to go before the Richmond Planning Commission on May 3, said Kieron Slaughter, an assistant city planner with the City of Richmond.
No tenant was identified in the application. The Contra Costa Times reported it has received "a faxed copy of a flier allegedly distributed in some El Cerrito neighborhoods urging residents to contact their City Council members to oppose any plans to place a Walmart store on the site."
Asked if Walmart is the anticipated tenant, Slaughter told Patch, "I would say they're probably one of the potential tenants."
Patch has requested information from Walmart about any possible plans for the site.
Asked for contact information for the proposal sponsors, Slaughter referred Patch to Henry Englehardt of Colliers International in Walnut Creek. Attempts to reach him Thursday by phone and email were not successful.
Though the City of El Cerrito does not have approval authority over the project, the proposal was sent to the city's planning department for a review.
"They're supportive of the project," Slaughter said.
Noel Ibalio, a senior planner for the City of El Cerrito, indicated that city staff likes the proposed design and plan for upgrading the building.
There seems to be strong support for restoring a supermarket at that well-traveled but economically forlorn intersection of two major traffic arteries.
A former Safeway across the street also sits empty, after Safeway consolidated two local outlets into its new store in El Cerrito.
The former Albertsons/Lucky building, vacant since 2004, has been defaced by graffiti and shares its large lot with a vacant restaurant building. The application for refurbishing the market calls for removing 6,100-square-foot restaurant building.
The site also is next to the planned connection between El Cerrito's Ohlone Greenway and the Richmond Greenway and near El Cerrito's Baxter Creek Gateway Park.
Attached to this article is the detailed staff report on the project prepared for the Richmond Design Review Board.