Development news: Alexandria approved, upcoming hearing for Grocery Outlet

Well it’s good news for two of the largest commercial vacancies in the Richmond District – the former Alexandria Theater at 18th & Geary, and the former Delano’s Market at 28th and Geary.

Last week in a meeting of the Planning Commission, the proposed development plan for the Alexandria Theater was approved. The plan calls for residential apartments to be built on the back lot on 18th Avenue, with the first level comprised of retail space, with parking underground for residents and shoppers.

The theater building will remain, and house retail stores on the first level, with a 211 seat theater and a full service restaurant on the second level. Original architectural elements of the art deco building will be preserved, including the domed roof that was part of the original theater before it was sectioned off when it became a multiplex. The ornamental decoration on the facade of the theater building will also remain, including the blade sign.

“The Planning Commission’s approval is good for three years. Within that period, a building permit needs to be filed and issued. Once a permit is issued, the Department of Building Inspection or Building Department may grant extensions to start work and to complete work if the sponsor needed additional construction time,” Mary Woods of the Planning Department told us.

We also reached out to one of the representatives of the project, but she was traveling and unable to comment on timelines for the actual construction. When we learn more, we’ll be sure to let you know.

In other news, a sign was posted on the soon-to-be Grocery Outlet at 6333 Geary near 28th Avenue. At their May 9 meeting (City Hall, Room 400, 12noon), the Planning Commission will consider the Grocery Outlet’s application for a conditional use authorization. Which should merely be a formality since the space was already being used as a market. The application notice does mention that the parking lot will be reduced slightly from 30 spaces to 28.

We’re not sure exactly when Grocery Outlet will open its doors, but back in October, Peter Lauterborn, aide to Supervisor Mar, told us the company is targeting early to mid 2013.

“They need to do some serious renovations to make the site ready and attractive,” Lauterborn said.

Thanks to readers Serge and Steph for the tips.

Sarah B.

A rendition of the planned development at the Alexandria Theater

The proposed residential apartments that would be built on the lot behind the Alexandria on 18th Avenue


  1. I’m thrilled that the Alexandria Theater project has been approved (finally), and that there has been significant movement on the Grocery Outlet! Having lived in the Richmond for many years, these opportunities for growth and rival are just want we need in the neighborhood in order to continue supporting a thriving Central Richmond. It’s clear that Supervisor Mar’s office, with local community groups and neighbors have been working diligently to ensure that these projects continue to move forward. Kudos to all.

  2. Alexandria development seems cool. Glad that there will still be a theater there.

    Not sure how I feel about a Grocery Outlet. I guess it’s better than an empty storefront, but “outlet” doesn’t inspire confidence when it comes to food.

  3. I, for one, will be very glad to have another grocery store in walking distance again, and a unionized one at that! I’ve been pretty unhappy with Fresh and Easy’s poor quality and low standards of service, that I find myself making the trek to one of the two Safeway’s which are both about 20 blocks away in either direction, Cal-Mart, or Trader Joe’s for items that I can’t get at 25th and Clement Produce, Thoms, or 6001 California Market.

    Also, not to worry. While hearing the words “Grocery Outlet” rings of FoodsCo. or Big Lots, they actually have high-end products that you would find at places like Whole Foods or Andronico’s. I’ve seen some wonderful wine selections at other GO’s.

    And thank goodness that we are bringing the Alexandria back to life. Small neighborhood movie theaters are a treasure and we should go whatever we can to keep them going!

    Very glad that Supervisor Eric Mar’s office has done a lot of the footwork to help get these projects going.

  4. Grocery Outlet is a fine grocery store. I have been shopping here for years. I drive to S.S.F because I save that much money shopping there. Quality food, clean store and friendly employees and you save on your grocery bill. I used to drive to Food Co. until someone smashed my window out to steal an empty gym bag. Grocery Outlet will be a great addition to the Richmond Dist.

  5. Wow! Fabulous news! This is going to lift up the whole neighborhood!

  6. I’m bittersweet about the Alexandria Theater and the apartment complex. I currently live directly behind the current parking lot, which brings in great light and a distant view of the YMCA. I’m a little worried how much privacy I will have with such a large complex right next door. But I am stoked about having a renovated theater so close with more retail shops, literally around the corner!! Does anyone know when it will open?

  7. Good question, Kevin. If the Alexandria or Grocery Outlet developers are reading, please let us know when we can expect you to open! Looking forward to both new additions.

  8. Did anybody hear or see this brand new Fresh and Easy ad that is offensively based on calling it “F-n Easy” i.e. “Fuckin Easy”. I truly don’t get it. Why are they advertising this tasteless commercial in CA when they are bankrupt and shutting down? is that just their way of saying F You to the communities they failed in? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z25-oAD1Pfo

  9. The theater inside the Alexandria which is planned at around 200 seats should be doubled. 200 seats is too little, besides the screen size will be pathetic. With all the new retail planned on the ground level, many people after or before a diner will want to see a movie. I just think that the theater will be more successful now with the additional retail and therefore the theater should be bigger; because once its done, its done.

  10. As a regular Fresh & Easy fan I’m happy to see yet another alternative to Safeway, which I find to to be sort fo a ripoff. I look forward to trying Grocery Outlet. Although, I;m not sure what the previous poster was referring to in regards to poor food and service. Considering I go to F&E 3x per week, I simply haven’t had these negative experiences.

  11. And, I saw people working on the concrete floor of the old Walgreens the other day, so maybe we’re making even more progress!

  12. Last week I emailed a Grocery Outlet rep who said that they’re hoping to open this store in late fall of this year.

  13. No.11 Mike is a different commenter than Mike no.10. 😉

  14. Was at F&E today, they are hiring – not really acting like a store that does not know its future. Or did a bunch of employees leave when they heard about the sell off?

  15. A few thoughts:
    – There is no need for commercial space on the first floor of the residential building. We have hundreds of empty storefronts in the district, why would we need more? We are over-retailed already, and the only thing that would change that is greater housing density. That leads me to the second point:
    – The building should be 1-2 stories taller.
    – We are seeing these small theaters fail one after another. If this one opens, even if it’s successful (that’s a big “if”), most likely it will cannibalize business of another local theater, and it will be forced to close.

    BTW, I never experienced bad service in Fresh and Easy.

  16. I stopped by F**@Easy yesterday, wanted to give them another chance. Passed a uniformed security guy at the door, picked up a few things, went to pay at their automated check out. First, the thing would not scan; then it asked me if I needed bags, I pushed “I have my own”. In response it demanded my own bags were approved/validated and ordered me to wait for a human. I waited. Human did not materialized. I was running late and getting frustrated, so I just put the groceries back into the shopping basket and left them there at the checkout. Half way through the parking lot I was caught up by another uniformed employee yelling a demand to see what I had in my bags. I told her I did not buy anything at her F. E. store, to which she suspiciously replied: are you sure? So not only I waisted time, did not manage to buy what I needed, I got accosted. So much for second chances. I now think F@E employes are better suited for working for border patrol or customs or some other law enforcement agency, but not in anything involving customer services. I wonder whom they are hiring… probably more security guards.

  17. Why Grocery Outlet?! Why not a Whole Foods or Andronico’s? It would be great to have at least one market in the neighborhood where I have the option to buy non-GMO/organic. Safeway is a joke!

    Thrilled the theater will be opening! Hope it will be a fun one like the Balboa!

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