Local links: OB Safeway remodel scaled wayyyy back, meteor showers, neighborhood landmarks, old SF pics & more

Supervisor Eric Mar (center) poses with artists from the Richmond Senior Center. Their work is currently on display in Mar's City Hall office through September.

Supervisor Eric Mar (center) poses with artists from the Richmond Senior Center. Their work is currently on display in Mar's City Hall office through September.

Ears still ringing from Outside Lands? Here are some local links to bring you down:

  • Earlier this year, Safeway and Albertsons completed their merger. Still pending were the remodel plans for the La Playa Safeway near Ocean Beach. We learned last week that the development / remodel plans for the La Playa Safeway have been put on hold indefinitely. The store will undergo some sprucing up during the last quarter of 2015. The store will remain open during the upgrades. However the plans for residential housing on the north end of the Safeway property and a complete remodel of the La Playa Safeway store are on hold.
  • Attention stargazers! The Perseid meteor showers are putting on a show this week. According to NASA, it’s expected to peak during the overnight hours of Aug. 12 into the morning of Aug. 13. Meteors will be visible starting around 10 p.m. eastern, but the best time to catch a glimpse will be around 4 a.m. Eastern Time, “when up to 100 meteors per hour may be visible from a dark sky”. We hear Fort Miley is a good spot for stargazing.
  • Did you know we have a few official San Francisco landmarks in the Richmond District? They include the Alfred G. Hanson residence on 27th Avenue (one of the very early houses built in the neighborhood), the Richmond branch library on 9th Avenue, St. John’s Presbyterian on the corner of Lake and Arguello, and the Campfire Girls building at 325 Arguello (now the Rosenburg Early Childhood Center, “a significant example of Bay Area Craftsman style architecture”). We would have thought the Legion of Honor would make the cut but no dice! Check out more city landmarks on this SF Planning map
  • If you’re into historic photos of old San Francisco, don’t miss the new photography exhibit “Portals of the Past: The Photographs of Willard Worden” at the de Young Museum. It features a survey of Worden’s photographs from the first two decades of the 20th century, including views of San Francisco’s coastline and Golden Gate Park, as well as his work as one of the official photographers of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the 1915 world’s fair held in San Francisco. We love this haunting 1904 image of a stormy view of the Cliff House.
  • The Richmond District Neighborhood Center is hosting their 2nd annual Wine on the Westside fundraiser on Thursday, September 10 at La Promenade Cafe on Balboa. The event features local wines, neighborhood eats and live music, with all proceeds benefiting the Food Security Network, a program that connects neighborhood volunteers with mobility impaired seniors for friendship and a weekly delivery of groceries. Tickets are available online or contact the RDNC at 415-751-6600.
  • More on old photographs… SFGate intro’d us to the interesting Lawrence & Houseworth collection of old San Francisco stereographs from the mid-1860’s. Check out the barren shot below that overlooks the Cliff House and Seal Rocks.
A mid-1860's view overlooking the Cliff House and Seal Rocks

A mid-1860’s view overlooking the Cliff House and Seal Rocks


  1. Good call Sarah B re. recommending “Portals of the Past: The Photographs of Willard Worden” at the de Young Museum. There are some pretty stunning photos in the exhibit; I found the shots of the bridge-less Golden Gate pretty amazing. Plus you can check out the excellent Turner exhibit when you’re there.

  2. So sad about the Safeway remodel plans – you can already see the impact of Albertson’s management in the 7th Ave Safeway…. less staff, less inventory…..

  3. That’s a good observation Susan. I’ve also noticed that staffing seems to be down at both the 7th Ave and Ocean Beach Safeways. Fewer cashiers at the checkouts and longer lines. At the Safeway over on Church and Market I heard an promo announcement that they have a new “3’s a crowd” (in line) policy to open another checkstand so maybe management is aware of the problem, however they didn’t seem to actually be doing it yet. I guess you can’t do it if you don’t have the staff (duh).

  4. I’m really wondering whether they are going to close down the La Playa Safeway. Putting the remodeling plans on hold doesn’t bode well for that location. It will be tougher for seniors to shop at Safeway if they have to bus it to 7th Ave. It’s not like there’s a bus stop right in front of that store like the La Playa one. Plus 7th is a smaller location with minimal parking.

    So unfair. Albertson’s just spruced up the Lucky’s on Mission as a quasi Whole Foods. Why can’t we have that?

  5. My feeling is that big business interests are presently focusing on the eastern half of SF where the trendy and shiny new things congregate. Once they can get highrise condos approved in the western half (any word on the Firemans Fund/UCSF campus) like Willie Brown proposed along Fulton, we are the ugly stepchild to major investors.

  6. Safeway has been battling the city for years to develop the la playa store. They own the whole city block and were told they had to sell half of it to gain approvals for a new store. I hope Albertson’s stands their ground and protect their investment at la playa. Politicians have no right to tell property owners how to use their land.

  7. I love the La Playa store. It’s currently a bit dumpy, but it’s in a prime location.

    Most importantly, the parking lots are huge, and super SUPER easy to get in and out of on all sides. They’ve got really well placed cart corrals that ensure that customers return nearly 100% of carts into a corral, rather than parking them on islands in the middle of parking lots like so many other stores.

    The proposed single-entrance underground parking looked really unpleasant.

    Nearly every other grocery store that I’ve ever been to has a maze for a parking lot. Consider the Albertsons on Sloat. Not only are its check stands horribly clogged up, but that parking lot maze ensures that I won’t visit it more than a few times a year. It’s just unnecessarily clogged up.

    7th Ave. No parking, ’nuff said.

    San Mateo’s Foster City and De Anza stores have lots that are filled with obstacles for both cars and pedestrians. The extra-narrow spaces at Crystal Springs are annoying, and the rocky islands in Foster City are very easy to trip on.

    Yes, La Playa needs an update. But it needs to keep the friendliest parking in the Bay Area.

    I’d settle for better produce and no other changes. Though other in-store upgrades would be welcome.

  8. They are already permitted to build residential housing on the north end per their original development plans. And yes, in theory they could do that on their entire property (but here’s hoping a store always remains).

    Unclear in the article you posted: “The density bonus wouldn’t apply to zoning districts that only allow single-family to three-unit development on lots, which make up most of the Sunset and Richmond. Major exceptions to that rule in those neighborhoods include streets along transit corridors, like Geary Boulevard and Judah Street.”

  9. Look at what is happening in the Sunset on Sloat across from the zoo. In one day they took down The Roberts Motel and John’s Ocean Beach Cafe and dug a huge deep hole. The development plan is a similar dual use -commercial on bottom, housing on top structure with onsite parking limited to the residents. Meanwhile DPT intends to put parking meters on the parking island in the middle of the street. Talk about a clustermuck!

  10. Exciting article ! I for one am so thrilled for upzoning in the Richmond ! And I’m a sfh owner fwiw.

    Real bummer about the Safeway.

  11. SFResident, It appears to me that what Richmond District residents despised in the 1960s and early 1970s where two 25 foot wide lots holding single family homes became eight to 12 apartments is being replaced with two 25 foot lots holding single family homes being replaced with 24 or more apartments. Do look carefully at the map where it is shaded blue: all north of Geary, most of inner Balboa and smatterings north of Geary. They have visions of creeping into Hong Kong, London and Tokyo densities especially by gaming “affordable” rules.

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