A rendering of the new Safeway entrance at Fulton and La Playa
At tonight’s Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR) quarterly meeting, a representative from Safeway shared the latest plans for the expansion of their outer Richmond store on Fulton between La Playa and 48th Avenue.
About two years ago, Safeway purchased the entire plot of land on which it currently sits. Since then, they have been working on plans to expand the current store, including a residential component.
Natalie Mattei, a Real Estate Manager for Safeway, handed out copies of the latest drawings of the proposed development and took questions and comments from the audience.
The new Safeway store would be roughly double the square footage of the current one, with walls extending all the way to the sidewalk on all sides. Currently, the store is set back by its ground level parking. The new store will feature a single level of underground parking. View the architectural plan
The back quarter of the lot that borders on Cabrillo would not be developed initially. Once the project is complete and as Mattei put it, “we recover from the recession”, Safeway will sell the land to a residential housing developer.
Mattei says they were challenged to design a Safeway that better blends in with its surroundings like Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park, both of which sit just across from the market. Safeway architects looked to the Cliff House and Beach Chalet restaurants for inspiration, as well as to Sea Ranch in Mendocino for attractive yet durable materials that would better weather its seaside location.
The main focal point of the building is a 66 foot high entrance topped with a half barrel roof that slopes into the building. The front part would be mostly glass with aluminum accents. Above the entrance is a protected, outdoor seating area with umbrella tables that enjoys views of the beach and the GGP windmill.
To offer more commercial options for the outer Richmond, Safeway is also considering alotting some of the Fulton Street storefont to smaller, local retailers. Note “Sunshine” and “Surf Shop” in the drawing below.
View from Fulton Street (click to enlarge)
Several residents that live next to or very near the Safeway attended the meeting, and raised concerns about the project. One neighbor worried that the new, taller structure would block her view of Ocean Beach from her 48th Avenue home. Other neighbors that live on 48th expressed concern over the larger scale of the new building and its potential for blocking light and views along the street.
As was the case with the Safeway renovation on Cabrillo and 7th Avenue, 48th Avenue neighbors raised concerns about the location of the loading dock in the new plans. It currently sits on 48th Avenue, but the large ground level parking lot allows overflow trucks to park rather than idle in the street when the dock bays are full.
In the new design, the loading dock is still on 48th Avenue and neighbors worry that trucks would be backed up on the street, idling, during peak delivery times. Mattei assured neighbors that the amount of traffic would not increase, saying “they’ll just put more pallets on each Safeway truck; there would still only be 4 Safeway trucks per day”.
She further explained that the new loading dock would be enclosed and could also include a retractable screen wall which would close off the dock and its idling inhabitants. There is also additional room inside the loading dock for Safeway.com trucks to park, along with smaller delivery trucks. “Our goal is to not have trucks on 48th Avenue,” Mattei said.
Missing from the plans was a view from the 48th Avenue side of the store, which concerned many of the neighbors. Mattei said it was so early in the process that they had not drawn them yet, and that they were hoping for more input from neighbors on what they’d like to see. It could be designed like the La Playa side in the plans, with break ups in the sight lines and varied architecture (see picture below). Or it could be a simpler design with a large scale mural, perhaps commemorating Playland as one neighbor suggested.
The side view from La Playa Street (click to enlarge)
Mattei said that Safeway will file a pre-applicaton with the Planning Department soon, and they will continue to meet with neighbors to gather feedback on the design.
What do you think? Do you like the design? Leave your thoughts in the comments.