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Plan for New Supermarket – Walmart Rumored

An application has been filed to open the long-abandoned Alberstons/Lucky building on the El Cerrito/Richmond border at San Pablo and MacDonald avenues as a new supermarket. Walmart has been rumored to be in the wings.

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.

John Stashik April 27, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Nobody seems to gripe about Target. Yet they sell groceries at low prices, are non-union, and not much different than Walmart. Why do people patronize these stores if they are so disliked? What makes Trader Joe's so lovable? It is nothing more than a huge corporation, non-union at that. Foreign owned I believe. Selling at low prices is one way retailers compete in our system. Driving competitors out of business, paying employees low wages and offering no benefits is capitalism at its best. There would be no Walmart or Target if consumers cared.
John Stashik April 27, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Just business as usual.
L. Schoof April 27, 2012 at 06:32 PM
No Walmart in our area!!!! Both Target and TJ's have decent benefits for their employees and don't fall back on the goverment to pay them instead, such as Walmart does. Target also gives back to the communities for charities.
Aubyn April 27, 2012 at 07:11 PM
There's a Walmart at Hilltop for petesake!
Rodney Paul April 27, 2012 at 07:21 PM
You can't beat the family-owned Colusa Market. High quality produce at reasonable prices and although the selection isn't quite as vast as the big stores, they have all the things I like. And if there's something you'd like them to carry, just ask owner Ike Joh, who more often than not is behind the counter. I have no need for a Walmart (or Target) but will vote against them with my wallet.
Evelyn B April 27, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Is there any news yet on what will happen to the other vacant Safeway on San Pablo at Moeser? I'm still angry that El Cerrito allowed Safeway to have the old Target site and close 2 other stores, instead of getting a NEW business into the old Target spot. Especially when Safeway still controls the empty Moeser store and won't allow another grocery store there. Way to care about the community :(
emily fabian April 27, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Having a Walmart there will increase traffic, a lot. What an aberration. Like its said above, there is already one out there at Hill Top. I have never set foot in one. And we have Costco close by, we don't need another big box.
John Stashik April 27, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Richmond has more marijuana stores than grocery stores at this time. Maybe Walmart at Macdonald and Key could sell pot, and therefore, become a welcome corporate citizen. Just a thought.
John Stashik April 27, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Hey, El Cerrito got a new Safeway out of the deal and the jobs that go with it. One of the other Safeway stores was in Richmond; their problem. As for the Moeser property, there are many possible uses other than a grocery store. For those who claim to prefer local, non-chain business, put your money where your mouth is and vote with your wallets.
John Stashik April 27, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Get real. Those non-union outfits are that way for a reason: cheap labor. America works best when everyone says union YES!
Rob April 27, 2012 at 08:59 PM
No Wal Mart in the area. I won't patronize their stores and I don't want to see them ruin our area.
Frank April 27, 2012 at 09:29 PM
See all the anti box store comments put a smile on my face. Then it occurred to me that these comments are made by Patch readers. These readers are part of a small selected demographic of our community. How many others don't understand or care about how our community can thrive? I quickly lost that smile.
John Stashik April 27, 2012 at 09:53 PM
All anti-big box, except they want everything cheap. That is why all the anti-Walmart types shop there anyway. Or buying cheap Chinese-made goods at Target. With consumers all looking for stuff at the lowest possible cost there are far less American-made products. The middle class continues its free fall. Wake up and decide which way you want it. Consumers seem to want it both ways. Which side are you on?
Evelyn B April 27, 2012 at 10:13 PM
So El Cerrito gained a few extra jobs due to the closing of 2 Safeways (1 in Richmond) and opening 1 new store in El Cerrito, but that leaves the old location empty, which may cause that whole shopping center at Moeser to go under. If El Cerrito had brought in a Whole Foods or a Kohl's or something else new to the area in the old Target, they would still have all the jobs at the Moeser Safeway AND new jobs at whatever came into the old Target spot. And residents near Moeser could walk to the supermarket still instead of having to drive to Del Norte and deal with the horrible parking lot access there.
Barbara Bennett April 29, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Hey Neighbors: Do we really need a WalMart grocery store that sells liquor and is open 24 hours a day, right down the block from residential areas? Hardly. Studies across the country find that when a WalMart moves into a neighborhood (big box or grocery/liquor only) other local businesses close down, jobs are lost and supporting the low-paid WalMart employees, along with tax "incentives" costs the locality more than it brings in. Localities First!
John Stashik April 29, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Atlas Liquors can continue sales of alcoholic beverages. They're nearby and local. El Cerrito wine drinkers have no need to fret. As for 24 hour stores, they're a convenience and liquor is not sold all night per state law.
Susan April 30, 2012 at 05:58 PM
yes, I hear that that Colusa market is a great place. However, that's pretty specific to that neighborhood, or unless you are driving through going somewhere else. For those of us who live elsewhere, that's not very convenient, especially with gas at $4 plus per gallon.
Susan April 30, 2012 at 06:01 PM
we don't need a Walmart grocery store. BUT we DO need a neighborhood grocery store that sells food at reasonable prices. And formerly, we had TWO at that corner. Now we have ZERO, just a bunch of garbage piling up continually. Unfortunately, we have no locally owned grocery stores in the area. (Giovanni's has been there for years and is specific to the neighborhood. Most people do not do their "big" shopping at Giovanni's.)
Susan April 30, 2012 at 06:04 PM
they do not have full groceries and fresh produce.
John Stashik April 30, 2012 at 06:44 PM
As I recall half of the Albertsons-Lucky at Macdonald consisted of non-food items. I think there was a good deal of theft, too. The store would not have closed had it been a big money maker. However, margins in the grocery business are slim. Years before the lifestyle Safeway opened at Del Norte BART, Albertson's opened a large market at the revamped El Cerrito Plaza. It kind of shows you where the grocery giants are headed; away from small, obsolete stores with limited parking.
Susan April 30, 2012 at 07:25 PM
yeah, and the Albertson's at the Plaza is also about 50% non food items! good point! The MacDonald Avenue spot is not a good spot. That's why no other retailers want to go there! Even the Safeway on Solano Ave. is expanding to be a larger store.
Walter July 09, 2012 at 01:25 AM
On the Safeway side, they have just redone the parking lot -paved and painted the parking spaces. They have cordon off the entrances. Anyone know if there is a tenant now?
Susan July 09, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Walter, there are tentative plans for a gym in that building. I am not sure where it stands at this point. I know that Safeway still owns the building and will not allow any grocery retailer in that spot. I hope the gym goes through. Perfect location and we don't have any full service gyms around here.
Evelyn B July 09, 2012 at 05:43 AM
@Sandra & Walter, are you talking about the old Moeser Safeway spot, or the Richmond one?
Susan July 09, 2012 at 05:16 PM
good question! I am talking about the corner of McDonald and San Pablo Avenue. Hopefully there will be a gym there soon; I think it is called Planet Fitness.
Brenda L. Dudley September 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM
There is a Walmart at Hilltop,and there is a gym at Hilltop as well!
C October 02, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Yes, a gym called Planet Fitness is opening very soon there. Apparently it's a large chain & very low prices. A gym would be just wonderful I am excited to see it open and see jobs created:)
Susan October 03, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Yes it appears that Planet Fitness is truly going to open and they even have their sign out now. I think it's a great thing! at least it is something different, and there aren't that many gyms in this area without going all the way up to Hilltop. I think it is great!
Loren October 17, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I hear they are going to make it a gym.. but cant find any info on it.
Loren October 17, 2012 at 03:35 AM
It will be great as long as it doesnt get all "ghetto'd out ..

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